Monday, April 16, 2007

Go Back

Go Back

go back to the past, we don’t want to know,
a fundamentalist cries.
Why worry - - the future is this,
a psychic reader sighs.
But free will is really there,
free will is just that.
The past is past and the future must come,
but staying in one
is avoiding the One,
and avoiding the one is pleasing the other
and each just denies
the One who’s to come.
Roger Victoria, October 18, 1998 (revised from earlier)

To sin against the Holy Spirit

To sin against the Holy Spirit

The closing of an awe-struck mind
to slam a door in one child’s face
is but a symptom now assigned
when bigots seek to prove a case
a case that fights against the new
a case that seeks to cloud the view
a proof that is no proof at all
a proof that proves there is a fall
a case is proved a judgement sound
when questions are shut down as raised’s
shut is one thing quite profound
the spirit breaking in each day.

Proverbs 18:14



No violence?
not really a peace
Peace is not absence
but active
Peace is justice
and forgiveness
No Violence?
while threats remain
then no peace

Roger Victoria, June 25, 1999

The Unjust Judge

The Unjust Judge

Judge not lest judgement given
as you judge to one who judges.
One who judges under heaven,
all in heaven, all in all
will the poor, the widow
unjustly judged in justice judge
The unjust judge may hear the cry
of they who cry by night and day
more quickly will the judge of justice
hear the cry of those who pray.

from Luke 18:2-7

Joe and Margaret - January

Chapter 4 January

Monday, January 1, 2001

Joe prayed , O God, am I serving Baal? I'm working so hard and yet I'm so attracted to men. My counselor says I need to listen to some other religious leaders, but Pastor Larry brought me into the faith. How can I leave him. I know Margaret wants to leave so she'd be supported but how can I take her away to someone who would not support her. I want to find out about some of these pastors who say homosexuality is good, but how can I do that without having Margaret ask why? And how can I do that to Margaret? I didn't lie to her when I said I was waiting for the right woman and had no sexual experience, but how could I know that being with her would make me desire a man, would bring me to recognize that it was never a woman I was waiting for. Margaret trusts me. Margaret loves me. How can I betray that trust. But we both need to leave. After what Pastor Larry did on Sunday I don’t think Margaret will be able to enter the church without being angry. Pastor Larry promised that he wouldn't refer to Margaret's past, but he did so and to compare her with a redeemed Jezebel even if he didn't mention her by name. What does he know of her past and her cure, and to mention me, when I can't even talk to him about what's bothering me, as an example well that hurt Margaret even more. And my embarrassment isn't humility as he said. I'm not out there proclaiming that I worship another God, but how can I worship a God who condemns who I am.

Tuesday, January 2, 2001

"Joe," Margaret said, "I'm not going back to that church. I can and do admire you even more than what Pastor Larry gives you credit for, but I'm not going in there again to have my past brought up. Even though he congratulates me it is too much to always be the fallen woman redeemed. I've talked with one of my patients. He has a church that he really likes. I want to try that on Sunday. If we don't like it we can go to another church, but I am not going to sit through one more sermon from Pastor Larry. I'm not going to wait for him to mention me. I want to go with you to church, but I'm not going back to that one."

"But Margaret, isn't Andrew your homosexual."

"Yes, he is, and if Pastor Larry is wrong about me, I'm beginning to think he's wrong about Andrew too. The gays I knew from the life were pretty much like everyone else. Andrew is one of the more loving people I know. And he's invited me to his church more than once. And he's not "my" homosexual. He is one of the people I help and he is his own person."

"I'll have to think about going to Andrew's church, but I know you're right about not going back to Pastor Larry's church. I'm having trouble with the way he holds me up as an example. You did more than I ever did and with less support from your friends. You and God got you out of the life."

"Joe I wouldn't have gotten out without you. Don't put yourself down. I've had enough of people carping and hitting on me and I'll not take it when you do it to yourself. You were the one that got through to me about God and I can never thank you enough. Pastor Larry may have provided those sermons about preaching to the wicked, but you got out there and you didn't preach but you gave me the Word of God in a way that got through to me in my darkest hours. You are an example."

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Joe prayed, O God, I thank you so much, you have hidden me just as the small child Joash was hidden until the time was ready. And Margaret, Margaret suggested going to church with her friend Andrew. And if he goes to church they must be able to do something other than Pastor Larry's condemnation. They must know some way of dealing with the problem. Perhaps I can rebuild a life in the church - a life in more honesty than I've been able to face. O God, I thank you, I can only thank you. I thank you and give praise.

Thursday, January 4, 2001

O God, why does Pastor Larry say such hateful things about gays, I feel like he is ill and dying and I cannot go to him as did Joash. For I know that he would condemn me or say that the love of good woman would cure me. And Margaret is a good woman and I don't want her blamed for not changing me. The only thing she changed was to bring into focus desires that I'd been hiding. If only I could talk to Pastor Larry and not have him condemn me, but I'm having trouble even getting up the nerve to tell him that we won't be coming back.


"Pastor Larry, I'm sorry I got your answering machine. Margaret and I won't be in church on Sunday. You know her work as a care-giver, one of her patient's is dying and wants her to come to worship with him. I know we won't be fed as we are with you, but I think we need to do this as a way of inviting him to our church. I wanted to ask you about this, but he wants the answer now and so I'll say yes, but I didn't want you to worry about us next Sunday."


O God, why did I do that, I knew I was scared about talking to Pastor Larry, but I out and out lied. It's not just that Andrew invited us, but how can I tell him that Margaret will not be back to his church and how can I tell him about my doubts. I used to think of myself as so truthful, but I'm lying to Pastor Larry and to Margaret, but I can't deal with telling them the truth, though I'm going to have to. I know I haven't broken my marriage vows yet, but what happens if someone from Andrew's church recognizes me. I've been to some gay bars and someone may recognize me. And they all seem normal enough and some of them must go to church, if Andrew goes to a church surely there are others. I was so thankful that Margaret mentioned going to his church, but now I'm so scared. I want to tell the truth about my feelings, but I don't know what will happen if I do. What will my family say after I've talked about condemning homosexuals, what will Margaret say when she learns I've betrayed her, what will Pastor Larry say, will I lose all my friends, what's going to happen?!

Friday, January 5, 2001

"Margaret, I know I've been promising this for awhile," said Joe. "I'm going to make arrangements for couples counseling. I know I've kept saying it's my problem, but I know I need to work with you and I'm not sure how. I don't want to do it with the person who's been talking with me about the accident, but I do want to do it."

"Oh Joe, thank you. I just know we can work this out together. I've prayed for you so many times and I want our marriage bed to be fertile so you can have the sons and daughters you've always dreamed of." And then Margaret embarrassed herself by bursting into tears.

Saturday, January 6, 2001

Joe prayed, O God, will I have to remain as isolated as that king who was a leper. Will my faith keep me from expressing my desires as his disease kept him in a house of isolation. How much longer can I live like this? I've got to talk to Margaret and I hope I can do so in the couples counseling. And Pastor Larry hasn't called back about my not coming to church I do hope that's o.k. He brought me to faith and yet at times he seems so far from a man of God, he seems to want everything his own way and talks about how humble he is, but I just don't see it. Yet he helped me know the salvation that comes from Jesus and even if I don't see Jesus' love Pastor Larry mentions it so often.

Sunday, January 7, 2001

"Andrew, you shouldn't be waiting at the front door for us. With your circulation problems it is too dangerous. And before I forget this is my husband Joe."

"Margaret you always take care of people. Good to meet you Joe. Margaret's told me a lot about you and how you met. I've asked one of my friends who has done some ministry with prostitutes to sit with us. Joe, if you'll push my chair, we'll get inside before Margaret can get on me about talking instead of moving."


"Barry and Malcolm are our greeters today. They're celebrating their first anniversary this week. Barry, Malcolm, I'd like you to meet Joe and Margaret, Margaret's one of my caregivers, Joe's her husband.

"Andrew," Malcolm said, "you shouldn't put temptation in our way, bringing such a fine looking man with you to church, but I suppose he's taken with Margaret."

"I didn't know he was that good-looking until just now when I met him at the door, Margaret talks about how kind and gentle he is, but forgot to mention his looks."

"oh you¼., looks just aren't that important. I've met plenty of good-looking men who are worthless and I won't bore you by telling you about them, but Joe is good and that's worth a whole lot of looks in my book." Margaret said.

"You're right, Joe don't mind my teasing," said Malcolm. "I'm either all up or way down and Barry is the one who puts up with all of my moodiness."

And Barry entered in, "And Malcolm has always been able to bring me out of my shyness and what was that your mother said, Malcolm? 'It's alright to admire the beauty of God's creation as long as you go home to the one to whom your married.'"

"Margaret, let's get Joe away from here before his face gets overheated. Joe, I'll take over my chair now that we're over the incline."

Monday, January 8, 2001

"Joe, you've been walking around in a daze today. Are you still bothered by Andrew's church? Or is it something else. I liked that church, but as long as we don't go back to Pastor Larry I'll be fine."

"I'm not sure what it is, I liked the church, the sermon was very centered on the Bible, and yet everything seems so different from Pastor Larry. I was having problems with some of what Pastor Larry said, but this all seems so different." And I'm scared to admit how much I want to go back and how afraid I am to go back. "But I somehow think that I need to hear those differences, maybe one more time, except that I don't know how to handle people like Malcolm and Barry."

"Joe, you didn't know how to handle people like me when we first met, but you did just fine. You listened and you cared and you stayed true to who you were. That's what matters."

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Joe's prayers lasted all day - O God I give you thanks that there is a place of worship where homosexuality is considered normal. I pray I am not worshipping at one of the high places that distract from your glory, but instead am going to a true temple of God. I ask that I may have a discerning spirit and the strength to move to the truth wherever it may lead me. May I have the courage to talk with Pastor Larry wherever it may lead and may I also talk with Margaret about my feelings.

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

"Pastor Larry," Joe said, "thank you for meeting with me."

"I always have time for one of my faithful parishioners. We missed you last Sunday, but I'm sure you were doing the Lord's work and leading others to Christ."

"I'm not so sure I was leading others to Christ so much as being led once again."

"Now Joe, you have always been a faithful Christian and a leader in this congregation."

"I've been a leader, but I'm not so sure about being faithful."

"But Joe, look at you taking in a fallen woman, a prostitute."

"Pastor Larry, that's the problem I have. I keep hearing you refer to Margaret as a whore or a fallen woman. You don't speak of what she is now without mentioning the past. Margaret is tired of hearing her past brought up every time you speak of God's power to save even the most wicked. Have you ever talked with her about why she took to the streets?"

"Why do I need to talk to her about that? She took to the streets for the drugs and the money."

"Pastor Larry, it's not that simple. She lived from one hit to the next and got money any way she could, but whatever she was on the street was better for her than her home. When you use her as an example she feels like you are treating her as her father."

"Well, Joe, that's quite a compliment. I do hope that I can be seen as her father in the faith."

"Pastor Larry, did you hear what I said about her home life? To be seen as her father is not a good thing. Her father had her cooking, cleaning, and having sex from the time her mother died, perhaps before. When you mention her as an example she feels like she's right back in that time. That's not a good thing."

"Well, than, Margaret needs to get over that idea of a father and you're just the man to help her do that."

"Margaret has gotten over that idea of what a father is, but sometimes you remind her of her father."

"Joe, you're just the man to disabuse her of that idea. To think I'd remind her of a father that abused her. I'm no such thing."

"Pastor Larry, you have abused her trust. You promised me not to mention her in your sermons any longer, but the last time we were here you all but mentioned her by name."

"I did no such thing and even if I did I was speaking the inspired word of God and how dare she question me or think that I would abuse my office by singling her out."

"Pastor Larry I don't want to argue with you about this, but ¼"

"Good, neither do I. I want you back in church and helping Margaret understand that I am her pastor."

"Pastor Larry, it's too late for that. Margaret is not going to come back to church and even though you've been a guide and pastor along my way - You're the one who brought me to faith - I can't attend here if Margaret does not feel safe."

"So you're leaving this true-believing, Bible-based church for some other pseudo-Christian congregation."

"We are leaving this church, but we hope to find another Biblically-based church and we would ask your blessing."

"You cannot have it. If you were moving you would go with my blessing, but to leave a Bible-based church over some hurt feelings that are unimportant is wrong. You are wrong and I will be praying that you come to your senses, repent and return to us, but until then you have no fellowship with us."

"I'm sorry Pastor Larry, but I have to support Margaret on this."

"Then we shall have one final prayer together, O God, you are the Father of us all and we pray that you will lead your poor bewildered child, Joe, back into the faith which he taught for so many years and that you will curse the whore of Babylon who has tempted him away from you so that she may never rest until Joe has repented of his evil and brought both of them back into the faith. O God I pray that you will rain¼"

"Pastor Larry, I cannot stay for this prayer, you are bad-mouthing my wife who is more honest and courageous than I am. Goodbye."


Joe sobbed as he walked out the church door with Pastor Larry's words echoing in his mind. O God, have I done Your Will, yet I could do nothing else, for Pastor Larry has hurt Margaret. And could I have talked with Pastor Larry about my other feelings, I don't believe so. But oh, I'm leaving my home and I don't know where I'm going.


"Margaret can you hold me," Joe cried, as he came in the door. "I just told Pastor Larry that we wouldn't be back. And when I left he was condemning me to the pits of hell."

"Oh Joe, I'm so sorry." and they stood holding each other for what seemed like days.

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Joe thought, I've accomplished a miracle as great as moving and stopping the sun. I talked with Pastor Larry and told him what I thought. I failed to tell him about my reasons for wanting to leave, but I told him we were leaving and I gave him some of the reasons and I can't stop crying in pain and in joy.

Friday, January 12, 2001

"Margaret, I want to go back to Andrew's church."

"Joe, that's wonderful, but why? I thought you were bothered by it."

"I am, but somehow I know that that is where I need to be for now. It goes against much of what Pastor Larry taught, but still I am more certain than earlier in this week that I need to go there."

Saturday, January 13, 2001

What would Pastor Larry have to say about this passage I wonder, thought Joe. He kept saying that women were not to teach in the pulpit, but here is a woman verifying the Word of God and how did the people lose track of their very own Bible I wonder. But the woman is a prophetess, I wonder how different that is from a prophet? If Pastor Larry's wrong about women being inspired by God, then he could be wrong on other things. I need to go to Andrew's church and test their spirit to see if it is of God or not.

Sunday, January 14, 2001

"Margaret? Could we invite Andrew over for supper some time? How hard would it be for him? Could we get his chair up the front steps? Or would it be too tiring?"

"Joe! Of course we could! It would be hard and we might want to invite someone else or, better yet, ask him to invite someone who knows how to get him around. I work with him at home and just don't know much about how he gets around when he goes out."

Monday, January 15, 2001

O God, I feel as if I am going off to Babylon. Is this a curse because I was unfaithful to you and to Pastor Larry. He brought me to the riches of faith and even though I've tried to be faithful to you, O God, my Father, I'm straying from what Pastor Larry taught me. I don't know how this can be and how I can stay faithful, but the more I've prayed the more I've come to think that it is your desire for me to leave Pastor Larry and to explore my feelings, and, oh, if I'm wrong I'll be going to hell. Pastor Larry was my father in the faith and he's cursed me and condemned me until I come back and I'm unsure how to deal with it. My therapist says that it's good for me to explore other congregations, but does he know what I'm going through, what I've gone through to leave this congregation that cared for me and brought me to faith. I don't know that he does. And how can I go to couples counseling with Margaret when all my desires are to leave her. I promised to protect her and care for her when we got married and going to Andrew's church makes me think I cannot stay with her for the rest of my life. How can I break my vows and be a good Christian? Aren't I doing what Pastor Larry said I would do if I left the church. O God, support Margaret as I go through this time. I've not been her husband and while I've not been unfaithful I've not been faithful. And I've grown, but what I've had to give up to grow. When I married Margaret I thought faithfulness to her meant only having sex with her, but my feelings, oh my feelings I've not been faithful to her with those. Did I love her, or did I just love the idea of getting married. Her feelings about sex helped me not to look at the issue of sex, but in that not looking I did not see my own feelings. O God help me, help Margaret. O God, I don't know what to do¼.

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

O God, I now know how blind I've been, can I open my eyes to your Word. I concentrated on all the little errors and called them lies, yet I've been living a lie. I remember how I wanted everything to be exact and was scrupulous down to the penny, but was I a Pharisee tithing the mint and the dill and ignoring the greater law that you gave us? I was, I was. O God I know that you will forgive me, but can I even ask Margaret's forgiveness. And how can she forgive me. I helped her and promised to be there for her but I've not been there for her. And if I act on my desires and feelings I will not be there. How can I abandon her? How can I leave her? How can I forget her? She is my Jerusalem and how can I sing the Lord's song if I let myself be taken to Babylon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Oh, God, my love for children, I want to help raise a family and how can I do it without Margaret. You describe the descendents of Adam in I Chronicles and I cannot help but be one of them, but how can I carry on that tradition without a woman in my life and how can I remain faithful to Margaret with the feelings that I have. I've not really acted on them, but I haven't gotten rid of them and hours of prayer do not do that and hours of therapy do not do that and I can't talk to Pastor Larry and I'm scared to talk to Margaret. O God, help me.

Thursday, January 18, 2001

O God, I cannot continue without talking to Margaret. Help me. I've told her I'd go to couples counseling, help me. Give me the courage to go there and the strength to tell her of my struggle. Let my desire for family encourage me, so that I can be with her and she can be with me.

Friday, January 29, 2001

"Margaret, I've got the counseling session scheduled for next week. You did say that Thursday afternoon would be o.k., didn't you."

"Yes, Joe, that's o.k. Oh thank you for scheduling the counseling."

Saturday, January 30, 2001

Oh, God, you keep giving me these lists of men to read. The lists of the descendents of this man and that man. And how can I join them. I can't. But I've got to talk with Margaret. And can I do so in our couples counseling. Of course I can wait, but I'm waking up now and I wonder if Margaret notices my dreams. And we've stopped having marital relations even though I know Margaret wants them. And Margaret does want children and I do so want to have children, but how can I have children with Margaret without feeling any desire for her. O God, help me. Help me. Help.

Sunday, January 31, 2001

"Joe, do you like Andrew?"

"Yes, I do and I like his church. I see them being open and honest in a way that didn't happen in Pastor Larry's church. Who in that church would say that their relationship was in trouble. I certainly was scared to talk about all the problems I've been having since my accident."

"Oh, Joe, so do I. I've always liked Andrew. And going to his church, seeing others talk about successes and difficulties. With Pastor Larry everyone had to be perfect and I know how far short I fall. Pastor Larry kept talking about being perfected, but every time someone showed they weren't there yet they got hit with a condemnation. I don't want to be condemned every time I mess up. I want someone to help me make it better. And I never got that from Pastor Larry. I got that from you."

"Margaret, how can you say that. I've put you through so many difficulties and I'm still not talking about our problems."

"But Joe, you told me you weren't ready to talk and you were working on it. And I trust you to keep on working. And besides, haven't you made an appointment for us to get some help in our marriage."

"You're too good for me."

"And you're to good for me. Now let's get going before we're late to church."

"Margaret, I think that's the first time in a long while that you've been ready to get to church."

"Well, I know that I'm not going to be held up as an example of the bad woman redeemed and that's wonderful. I have the joy back that I had when you brought me to faith."



An elephant moving ponderously
step by step
But surprisingly as it goes there is
one deep print
For as it places each foot on the ground
carefully, gently and firmly.
It makes sure, doubly sure, triply
and more
that each footstep goes where the other one went
.... precisely

begun in seminary, redone March 9, 1998
Roger Victoria

To help the poor?

To help the poor?

The blessed poor are not so great
they’re tired, they’re sick and full of hate
But so are we, the rich and “good”.
wretched, fighting, and not that good,
yet one loves them more than life
and that one is worth the rest.
We are called to love each other,
not for gifts and strength possessed
nor for what we think they give us,
but only be by love possessed.
Jan. 17, 1997 Roger Victoria
revised July 16, 1998, revised again October 1, 1999

Those of low estate are but a breath,
Those of high estate are but a delusion
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Psalm 62:9



What happened to you?
Are you dead in a grave?
or alive, hidden – How?

Did you live after all?
Just five year or twenty?
a thousand
How Many?

Were you the Beloved?
not John as now told.
Or perhaps was another,
lost, hid in the cold

What happened to all of you
lost in the haze
of daffodils, hatreds
and long-hidden days.

begun March 16, 1990, revised March 9, 1998, revised November 12, 1999
Roger Victoria

A woman

A woman

An unknown name-
a woman denied-
yet courage and fire
brought healing desired.
We now know you kindred.
We now know your love.
We now know your wit,
but do not know your name.
You are one who challenged
one whose name we hold dear,
yet your name is not known
while your fame is still clear.
(From a story in the gospels) October 18, 1999



listen to
children playing
to listen,
to listen to
a child enjoying
a child enjoying playing
is enjoying life,
is enjoying playing, too.

Roger Victoria, begun April 15, 1998



For the moment I am content
worries and problems are about
but this is the time,
the moment,
I am content,
content to steal,
to steal away, as I steal away,
I can, content, steal away to Jesus.

What are words?

What are words?

trite, trite, trite words
words never heal
in sufficient
words don’t cure
trite, trite words, trite
but they are the best
but often the best
trite words, trite, trite
words are often best
words-trite, trite, trite
even trite words
they may be best
the best we can do.

Roger Victoria, July 31, 1998

Come Forth from Grief

Come Forth from Grief

The sweep of rain
the lift of wind
across my face
and through my hair
the pleasure comes
while sadness goes
as I awake
to all life holds.

Again and again

Again and again

I was born again
and there I died
to what I was.
To what I was
was to what I died
yet what I was remains
though who I am is not the same

Then every day the new makes gains
and in the old some good remains
the good transformed in life made new
from what I was comes life renewed
yet one alone knows what I was
and that one knows what I may be

To be born again
with life renewed
to what I am I come to view
while what I may remains to see
and what I will become brings hope.

Roger Victoria, November 12, 1998

Joe and Margaret - December

Chapter 3 December

Friday, December 1, 2000

Margaret wondered the whole day, Something's changed with Joe. I know it. He's been irritable all this week, well ever since the accident and yet yesterday that changed. What happened? He hasn't said anything. Surely if he'd had a message from God he would have told me at yesterday's Bible study, but he didn't. He just seemed more gentle and patient and careworn. Do I dare ask him? Or will this be another "when I'm ready?" Maybe he's finally ready to talk about his troubles and what has happened or even if not talking ready to resume marital relations. His hugs and kisses and massages are fine, but they get me ready for something which doesn't come and I never thought I'd miss that something, but I do. I do! Maybe Joe is finally ready. Is that the change? Oh, I'm so ready for some improvement. I thank God that Joe has never beaten me or required sex from me that has been such a relief, but I do want to have marital relations, they keep our marriage strong as Pastor Larry keeps pointing out a wife and husband have duties for each other, but oh it's not a duty, never a job with Joe.

At supper Joe started to speak several times before coming out and saying, "Margaret I need to apologize, I've been mistreating you, I've ¼"

"Oh no, Joe, you've never mistreated me, I've never felt like you were even thinking of raising your hand to me."

"No, Margaret, I have. You deserve more than what I've given and I've not given you what I promised. And I've mislead you. I've finished the physical therapy and I didn't let you know that I've been taking another kind of therapy. I started going to someone about my emotions over a month ago. The doctor thought I should make sure I didn't go into depression, but I let you think I was still doing physical therapy and that was wrong of me. I've had pride in my honesty, but I wasn't honest with you about my life. You don't deserve that. I know all about your past but I've not told you what I'm doing presently."

Margaret finished the meal in a daze. I'd hoped for an explanation, but had never thought Joe would apologize. How strange, I never really expect a man in my life to apologize. To blame, to go on, to explain what changes need to or are going to happen, but apologize, let alone put himself in the wrong. That's new.

Saturday, December 2, 2000

Margaret woke up in tears as she remembered Joe's apology. I was focusing on our marital relations but Joe apologized for our relationship. I thought it was my fault and Joe says it isn't. I thought it was the accident, but Joe says there is more going on. It's not just me. I never knew what it felt like to have someone - the head of the household - someone in charge apologize and it feels wonderful. It's amazing

Joe came in from his shower and quickly asked, "Margaret, what's wrong? You're crying."

"Joe, nothing's wrong. I'm just happy and I'm crying."

"But you never cry."

"I'm sorry, now I am."

Oh Margaret, don't apologize, I was just worried about you. I've been ignoring your feelings and now you're crying and I don't know what to do."

Joe, oh Joe, you don't have to do anything. I'm fine. I was just thinking about how no one in authority over me, no man, had ever apologized to me and I'm crying but it's over stuff that is in the past. It's over how good you've been to me and never held my past against me. It's over how blessed I am. And don't worry or I'll just keep on crying in joy and relief."

Sunday, December 3, 2000

Pastor Larry started his sermon with "My text for today is I John 3:9 - 'Whoever has been of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.' This is an important text for our congregation. It goes along with 'ye shall know them by fruits.' (Matthew 7:16) We do know each other by our fruits and the true members of our congregation do not sin because they have been born again through Holy Spirit; they have been born again through the blood of the lamb; they have been born again through God the Father. True members have been born again and cannot sin. And so we must be wary of those who are false members of our flock. The elders must be stringent in helping the pastor root out evil-doers and each one of you must go to your neighborhood elder whenever you think someone in our church is doing wrong, be it your wife or your husband, your child or your parent, your brother or sister. For we are not true brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus unless we help each other see whether we are born of God. We are not true brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus unless we root out the sin that is so deeply within the human race. We are not brothers and sisters unless we become one just as God the Father calls us to be one.

Margaret's began to lose track of Pastor Larry's sermon. Am I really free from sin. I don't think so. I keep going against Joe in little things like those slacks I made. And a woman is supposed to obey her husband and I just don't. And Joe does love me, I know he does because he humbled himself to apologize, something I'm just not worthy to demand. And yet Joe chose me out of all the women he could have had.

Margaret caught up with Pastor Larry just as he was saying, "And we have help in finding out what sin does to us. Sister Margaret has bravely volunteered to tell us about the sinful nature of her past and the degradation that she experienced before coming to Christ and how a good man, our brother Joe, helped her confront her sin that caused her to go to all sorts of men and degrade herself with disgusting passions and dress in an unseemly manner before all the world. Sister Margaret will really help our women who are wavering and inclined to wander.

At that Margaret's thoughts exploded, WHAT IS PASTOR LARRY THINKING?! I was more sinned against than sinner and what about all those men who were right there with me having sex. I was willing to talk about my life, but not if it just focuses on the sins of the women. Men were right there with me in that prostitution and fornication and their money is what paid for the drugs, and their money is what I needed to get by without any skills, and their money is what made me feel as if there was something that I could do. And my gone straight to hell father is the one who first raped me and I don't think I had any choice about that when I was six or seven even if I did get out of there and to the street where at least I was paid and somewhat protected by my pimp.

And then Margaret noticed that Joe was turning colors and clenching his hands and thought, at least Joe is with me on this. He knows how much and how little control I had over my life. I can get through this bastard of a sermon as long as Joe is beside me and, oops, my language has slipped, maybe I'm not born again. Maybe that sin is still at work in me and I am not as free from sin as I thought, not as free as I'm supposed to be from evil. But that evil was not in my being a prostitute, I was getting out of even more evil when I became a whore. And for all the mentions of the whore of Babylon my days as one were not of leading men astray. Those idiots came looking and shopping and thinking they gave us excitement or looking for their own desires the sick bastards. Pastor Larry is a man of God but what he knows about the life I led is less than nothing. Even Joe knows enough to know how wrong Pastor Larry is. And both of us deserve better. But O God forgive me for questioning a man of God but O God he is not right on this matter and if You care for me please correct Pastor Larry so I don't have to listen to this any longer.

Monday, December 4, 2000

After Joe had finished the Bible study with all the names, and all the appointments and all the mentions of Solomon's wisdom, Margaret ventured, "Joe, are you having problems with what Pastor Larry is saying?"

"About what?"

"Oh, I don't know? Just what he said about the woman being at fault for prostitution and some other things yesterday about being sinless. It all seems a bit much to me. I know he's wrong about why I was in the life I led."

"I'm sometimes bothered, but I keep thinking he's a man of God and he was chosen by the leaders of this congregation, so I try to work with what he says. Yesterday's sermon really bothered me. I wanted to protect you and didn't know how. I'm sure Pastor Larry meant well, but it was painful for you and he could have avoided a lot of that pain by just saying what he said to me about your talk. Talking about the horrors is different than the sin. And I know how long it took you to get over that life."

"And Joe, I'm so glad you waited and let me take my time in getting over it. I just don't feel I was the sinner so much as the sinned against. And I know that the men were after sex much more than me or the other ladies. It wasn't about sex for me, it was the money and that was all I knew besides cooking when I ended up on the street. And I was underage and looked it so cooking was not a way I could get enough to live. I know I keep repeating myself to you. But you're not like some of those people who just want to spy on the details so that they can feel better because they haven't done that, or superior because they've can say they never knew of such."

Tuesday, December 5, 2000

"Margaret," Joe said, "I'll be in therapy today. This time I'm really going to work. I need to tell my therapist that I've been avoiding talking to you about seeing her and I think that may help as I work on our problems."

"I'm so glad you're getting help. I've been praying that you will be healed and we will become what we were." Margaret said, but was also thinking. He's been getting help and not telling me, why hasn't he talked about it before this? He knows that I've wanted him to get help, but just let me go on thinking he was in physical therapy and not that other kind. Doesn't he know I wouldn't mention it to Pastor Larry. I know we're supposed to be able to tell our Pastor everything, but Joe knows that I'm not ready, or maybe I'll never be willing, to talk all about my past life with Pastor Larry.

After a few moments Margaret continued talking, "I'll be praying for you today, what time is your appointment so I can pray for you while you're there."

"It's at 1 p.m. You do know that I may not want to talk about it afterwards. It takes me time to deal with what the therapist says."

"Yes, Joe, I know. And I can be patient. I will wait until you're ready."

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

"Margaret, the therapist has put me on some anti-depressant. She's been wanting me to start it for awhile, but I remembered Pastor Larry about spiritual healing and thought I was going against him too much just by seeing a therapist, but prayer is not changing my feelings and I'm ready to try something even if Pastor Larry is not for it."

"Oh Joe, that's so encouraging, thank you for taking the trouble. How can I help?"

You've been great through this time, but it's things I need to work out and I will be working on our problem and the therapist is telling me I need to talk with you. So don't give me thanks just yet. I've not been doing what the therapist is asking and the trouble has been for you, not me."

Margaret began to hear Joe saying it was his problem and thought, I've been blaming myself and wondering what I could do, but Joe keeps saying that it's not me. Maybe I'm so used to being blamed that I'm blaming myself when I'm not wrong. But a wife should support her husband, Pastor Larry says. And if Joe is having trouble coping with the accident it may be that I've done nothing wrong. But oh I pray that I can help Joe recover. He's been so good to me, he's helped me so much.

Thursday, December 7, 2000

"I've got another therapy appointment today, Joe said to Margaret, I'm so thankful that you've been so patient. The therapist is helping me, I really feel that, and I'm going to talk about it some day. I need to talk about what's happening with you, but I'm so afraid."

"Joe, you know my past, what could you have that's any worse than I experienced. I'll be here for you when you're ready. You waited for me, you waited so long for me to be ready, I can wait too. I took you for better and worse. You've gone through my worse and given me better I can wait through your worse whatever it is whatever it may be.

Margaret went through that day with resolve. Joe is being so honest. He's taking responsibility and not blaming me. There must be something I can do for him. There must be some way I can be a better wife for him. I'll wait for him. The lack of marital relations is not as bad as having sex forced and I can tolerate what I do not want. I will be the wife that Joe needs. Joe took me from nothing and it's the least I can do.

Friday, December 8, 2000

Margaret went to her private prayers after their Bible study and began. O God write your words on my heart as solid as the tablets of the law which Solomon placed in the temple. Make them a light at my feet and a lamp to my eyes that I may know your way and follow your path. Regard the prayer of Your servant and listen to my supplications dwelling within my heart that I may pray aright and understand what you would have me do. Condemn me when I fall into wickedness that I may see the error of my ways and reward me as I do your will that I may be encouraged in the path of goodness. Teach me the good way to walk. For I was a stranger to Your Word and a foreigner to Your Name and I heard of you from one of Your people, even that one who is now my husband. Grant that I may help build him up in his time of need that his body may be a temple to Your Word and lead others into Your Way. I pray that all peoples may come to know Your Word and Your Way. And oh especially I pray that I may know how to help Joe so that we can be a family and a part of Your people. Amen.

Saturday, December 9, 2000

Joe sat down for Bible study but didn't begin, he said, "Margaret, I know you're having problems with what Pastor Larry says, I think I am as well. My therapist also says I need to start talking about my frustrations with you. She says that from what I say about you you're well able to handle my problems and I've been too protective. I'm not ready to talk about my problems in having marital relations, but I can talk about my questions about Pastor Larry. I admired him so much, but lately I just have questions. He gave me all the answers I wanted. The fir foundation on which to stand and yet I'm frustrated because what he says doesn't always meet with what I need. And I don't know how to talk about anything more in particular except that I'm frustrated. You help me, you know exactly where Pastor Larry frustrates you. Your comments about what he knows about the life you lived are one example. The passage today is about building the temple in Jerusalem and my therapist says we need to build our marriage. I hope I'm doing the right thing. I've been so frustrated trying to do this on my own and with the therapist and I want to protect you since Pastor Larry keeps saying that men should protect women, but I think I need to know what you think and I've tried Pastor Larry's suggestion and they just aren't working for me. So what do you think?"

Margaret sat for a few minutes, "I'm not sure what to say, except I like the idea of talking together. I wasn't ready to do that when we first got married. I didn't feel as if I knew anything. But now I do. You've helped me get my G.E.D. and then some of the people I care for think I know something. And I find I have some thoughts. They may not be right but they are thoughts. And I don't know where to start. But maybe tomorrow we can try again. Or maybe tonight you can tell me what you can about Pastor Larry? Is it his talks about something? Or someone? Or the way he treats someone? Or the way he treats you? Or the way he treats me? Are these questions helpful? I'm not sure I know how to talk to you except that I want to talk. I really do like talking with you. That's one of the things I miss most from before we were married. We had such great talks as I was coming out of the life.

Sunday, December 10, 2000

Margaret began praying after reading the lesson for the day from I Kings 10 and thought about Pastor Larry's insistence that women should be ruled by their husbands. Surely the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon, but it never really says that she is ruled by him or gives up her rule. Yes, he's known for wisdom, but that doesn't mean she gives up any control. I ask for advice sometimes even when I want to decide myself what to do.

Margaret thought about the passage through the day and finally put down some words -
Parading elephants
And prancing horses
All follow a queen

A procession in grandeur
With jewels and gold
All follow a queen

For questions and answers
A tale of wisdom
They come to a king

A queen comes in wealth
To a king known for wisdom
And so the story is told

This isn't really poetry, she thought, it doesn't rhyme and I was so bad at English or any other subject for that matter that I couldn't really write anything worthwhile, but maybe I can show it to Joe. But I'll skip that last verse -
But coming for wisdom
Is not giving up ruling
And kings and queens can be equals in power
It just doesn't fit the rest of the piece and besides it seems to question Joe and I really shouldn't do that for Pastor Larry says that a wife should not question her husband. And then Margaret went to prayer saying, O God, I am such a poor servant I question Your will that the husband be the head of the household and then I hide things from Joe. I still haven't told him about the pant suits I wear at work and I don't talk to him and tell him I'm failing our marriage in questioning his decisions and most of all I fail to respect Pastor Larry chosen by You to lead this congregation. What do all these questions mean? I know I needed to question bad men like my father and the pimps, but I didn't do that then. Is that why I'm questioning good men. I am questioning good men who try to do your will such as Joe and Pastor Larry. Does that make me such a bad person. I do only question Joe in private instead of speaking up in church so I am trying. And I have agreed to do what Pastor Larry wants and speak on my past life, but I feel so rebellious and that's not what a good wife is supposed to feel. O God, help me.

Monday, December 11, 2000

Margaret thought _ I liked writing the poem yesterday. Even if it's not a poem, it doesn't really rhyme and I don't know anything about poems that don't rhyme I still like it. I know my thoughts and, even if they're not proper for a good Christian woman, I still like them.

I Kings 11

So he went after foreign wives
But why didn't they question it then
It's only later in history books
That the condemnation begins

And yes, there's the son
Who lost all those tribes
And yes, there's descendents
Who lost all those lives

But why, when it happened
To that very wise king
But why - when it happened?
Didn't they question it then-
Didn't they question them?

I need to begin to do that more. I need to question. Joe is a good man, but he lied to me. I asked him to go for help and he didn't tell me when he began seeing someone who wasn't a physical therapist. He's so antsy about being honest in every penny, but he just didn't tell me what I would have wanted to know. I owe him so much for helping me get out of the life. But I don't know whether I trust him any longer. Oh my ¼ I don't trust Joe¼

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Margaret reflected, I know Pastor Larry would disagree but if Rehoboam's answer isn't telling someone to give another the middle finger I wasn't living the life of a prostitute. I'm so glad we're back to the stuff that's down to earth. I don't think I could have stood one chapter relating the beauties of the temple. People are what speak to me. I want to hear the stories of people in the Bible. I can understand them better than rules and regulations. Maybe these stories will help me understand. Should I tell Joe that I don't trust him? Do I want to wait until he's finished with therapy. But he's not telling me about what's going on with the therapy. O God, I don't know what to do. Help me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Oh, God, is this your word to me. I've been having so many doubts about Pastor Larry and here it is - vs. 18 one prophet lies to another. Pastor Larry may not be lying, but maybe he's mistaken. I Kings 13 - vs. 18 is this your word. Does this mean I can question what others say about God and go to what I think God is saying to me? This is real life stories about real people, not those lists of names that we were in for so long. And these people are making mistakes and getting out of them and sometimes not even realizing that they've made a mistake. A prophet I told to do one thing and another prophet says differently and he believes the other one and.. O God, maybe I don't have to listen to all of what Pastor Larry says, maybe I can make up my own mind.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

I wonder if that lack of trust I have is the reason Joe isn't interested in me any more, Margaret thought. But today's word seems to say that hiding won't work. Jeroboam's wife disguised herself and that prophet found her out. God will find out all my feelings and even Joe has to sense some of them. I need to tell Joe about my lack of trust but, O God, let me know the right moment to do so. And I so hope that my lack of trust is not what is holding Joe back from healing, but who can I talk to about this. Pastor Larry is not the one to make excuses about lack of trust in a husband. He will simply say that I have to trust that my husband knows what is best for the family and I do think Joe knows what is best for a family - I just never learned what a good family is like and Joe is so good and so patient - but I still don't trust what Joe is saying to me - not about family but about what's going on in his life and how that affects our relationship, our family that I hope to have.

Friday, December 15, 2000

This is strange, Margaret thought, as she finished reading I Kings 15. The wife of the king isn't mentioned. The grandmother is and she's referred to as the Queen Mother. That's almost like a title. But it couldn't be, could it? Men were the rulers and the men do things in the world. A woman's place is in the home, unless her husband allows her to work outside of it, but the queen mother isn't she the mother of the king and wouldn't her husband have to be dead? And here she is almost the same as the king.

But today we see a lot of women working outside the home and doing things. Pastor Larry says women were more obedient back then and there weren't women working outside of the home unless they had to and that we should go back to those days, but here is a woman who has a job and no husband and is removed from being the Queen Mother almost as if she were a politician gone bad like Clinton and his problems with sex in office.

Saturday, December 16, 2000

Margaret just couldn't concentrate on the Bible study. Ahab and worship of Baal just didn't speak to her the way that learning about a Queen Mother - a woman who had power even in the days when women didn't - did. And so she prayed, O God help me to understand Your Word for me today. I know I am so distracted and I'm not paying attention to the chapter we're studying today, but help me understand, help me be Your faithful servant, Your handmaiden of mercy and love, a disciple like Mary Magdalene even when I lose sight of where You would have me go and what You would have me do. Amen.

Sunday, December 17, 2000

Pastor Larry said, "I know I usually want to give us a variety of passages to read. We read all of the Bible not just the parts we like, but today I'm going to take as my topic our passage for home Bible study - I Kings 17. It is important for us to remember that God will punish our nations for its apostasy. We see that in the rise of so-called homosexual rights as if any one committing such depraved and pedaristic acts that are so demeaning to children could ever be considered among the law-abiding and righteous citizens of this nation. Those so called liberals who worship nothing but their own sin and their own political correctness are no liberals for they are not generous to others and they cannot even claim to be conservative for they do not keep any of the good old religion that was good enough for our forefathers, instead they are like that worshipper of false gods who mistreated his own queen mother and deposed her, but then equaled her vicious and cunning devices and went into his own particular longings that ignored the great God Jehovah is His name, even that evil king Asa. And God in those days rose up prophets even as He raises up men as preachers and teachers in this day to call the people to repent. And I call on you not to repent for you have already done so but to go out and tell others about God's saving power and the damnation that is in store for sinners of all types. Those who worship foreign Gods and not the God that the Pilgrims and the founders of our nations worshipped, even God our father, will be cast into utter darkness. Those who cause us to go into even more darkness than our parents knew the liberals, the radical feminists, and the homosexual will be left gnashing their teeth as the devils torment them forever and ever. And before that happens the country will be cast into despair as our enemies triumph over us (but only until we repent when they in their turn will be cast down) and our land dries up into a wasteland."

"And we know that sinners can repent and receive the Word of God within their very own hearts for our dear brother Joe brought forth a whore of Babylon and a prostitute among the nations to become his very own dear wife and our sister Margaret. And we know that they will raise up their children as should each of you in the duties towards God and the righteousness before men that is the mark of those who are saved unlike those visible marks of Satan that unbelievers put on their skins forbidden in Leviticus 19:28 and that leads to the even greater sins such as what Margaret's father did to her by making her a scarlet woman and temptress in the streets of our fair city from which she has been raised up to tell the story of how she degraded men and women in her life of evil to be a meek and mild woman - a paragon of virtue - who speaks with one voice with her husband to tell the story of how she was saved from horrors by Joe's work for and in the Lord Jesus Christ."

That night Margaret was still in a fury. Redeemed I certainly am, but I was never the whore of Babylon tempting men into sin. They came willingly enough and brought their own temptation with them in the money and to hold me up as a role model of what people can do for me. Joe helped me and I am grateful with psalms of thanksgiving every day of my life, but if he had approached me calling me any of those names that Pastor Larry had used I would have sent him away with his tail dragging and been even rougher on anyone who tried to talk about the Word of God. I wouldn't have put up with it before I was saved and I don't see why I should listen to that garbage now. I am going to have to talk to Joe about this because I am not going to be in that church much longer. I know that they saved me and they keep telling me about the evils in some other so-called Christian churches, but I'm going to find some God-fearing congregation that does not give me such shit.

And then Margaret heard herself say that word and went to prayer, O God how can I say such things about my pastor, but I shouldn't say that if I'm so upset I should talk with him or ask Joe to find us another church, but I'm calling what a man of God says, oh I shouldn't use such language. But this is the end. I've thought about how I don't trust Joe anymore, but I don't trust Pastor Larry and he has made me furious. I got out of being abused, I got out of prostitution and I can get out of this church, which for all its talk about righteousness and love is showing not a whole lot of consideration for me. Why even Andrew does not do this to me and he knows how much we disagree on religion and what my church thinks of his lifestyle choices.

Monday, December 18, 2000

Margaret thought, I ought to be ashamed of myself. I will have to spend sometime in prayer. Why would it seem to me as if our worship services are sometimes like those priests of Baal. We whip ourselves into a frenzy, even if we don't ever bleed or use knives. And all that happens is a lot of noise. O God, I know you are there, but sometimes I just don't hear an answer. It's as if you were off sleeping in some far corner of heaven. I want a family with Joe. Joe has done so much for me and he keeps saying he wants a family too. But I don't see him doing anything except asking for patience. How long must I wait O God. How long must I cry out. Joe seems to get more caring day by day and yet he is moving further away. He no longer snaps at me for small errors, but he doesn't talk to me about what else is going on and he seems so sad and bewildered. He says he's wrestling with some demons, but just won't talk about them to me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Margaret prayed, O God, as I read the passage today I don't know who I am. Am I the Jezebel who in seeing my faith struck down seeks to kill the prophet or am I the prophet fleeing in distress and wondering if there is any left like him. I feel as if I am both. I want so much to have children, but if it is not what Joe wants am I pressuring him too much. I know we both agreed about that before marriage and even before we had sex in the marital bounds we talked about wanting to have children, but is it me who got Joe to agree and how can I respect him as a husband if he agreed just to please me and doesn't know how to tell me so. I'm just going to have to be a more obedient wife, supporting Joe as he wrestles with his own demons. Surely an angel of the Lord will come down and provide sustenance for I feel as if I have been on this journey so long that I am losing strength and I do need strength for the journey. My call and baptism seem so long ago. I thought it would all be so easy once I found Jesus and yet sometimes it is harder than my former life. I didn't have to think of anything except survival and getting what I wanted. It is so hard to have to think of what someone else needs instead of how to please them. O God, help me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

"Ouch," said Andrew, "What's wrong today? Margaret you've been distracted and now you're not paying attention. Just because you have to move my legs doesn't mean I can't feel them."

"Oh, I'm sorry Andrew it's not you, it's me, or it's just me and my life. I'll try to do better. I thought I was paying attention and then my mind just went back to church."

"Well, then, sit down and talk to me about it. If you're distracted it's not going to do either of us any good."

"Oh, but I can’t talk about it with you. It's not right. It's about religion and I'm not supposed to impose my religion on you. I'm supposed to help you and besides I don't want to bother you with it."

"Margaret, I'm asking, you're not imposing. And unless you get over being distracted it's going to bother me whether you mention it or not."

"But Andrew, you don't know what it's about and you're gay."

"Margaret, if it's about what you're church thinks of gays, I've heard something like it before."

"But Andrew they think gays are evil and I shouldn't bother you with my problems when you're sick."

"I'd already figured out that your congregation has a problem with homosexuals from the way you've avoided talking about your church, but can talk about your life as a prostitute. I don't know exactly what they think, but it can't be that different. Your pastor can't be that much more bigoted than someone like Fred Phelps. What would your Pastor say? That you shouldn't be helping out gays like me, those who are dying?"

"Oh yes, but you're not that bad. You're not like that guy, that King from the Old Testament who demanded riches and women and anything his followers wanted, but I know that Pastor Larry would think my helping you is like Ahab giving Ben-Hadad a break and letting him live. Pastor Larry says such nice things about my filling the womanly tasks of helping and nurturing, but he also says I should be wary and give more to the ones whom God loves, the chosen people and save myself for those who deserve it. Not to slack off or anything, but that I don't need to go the extra mile. But when I think about Joe spent so much time helping me even before I was a Christian I can't help but try to help you and that's tearing me apart today."

"Well, Margaret, I can't deal with all of that. I can only say that I trust you to do your best. You do know that I attend a church that doesn't quite believe the same things as your pastor does?"

"Yes, I know you go to church, but you know Pastor Larry would say that you're worse than the pagans, you are those who would deny the true faith."

"I'm not surprised, but Margaret, now that you've told be what's bothering you, do you think you could concentrate on bathing me?"

"Oh yes, I'm sorry you had to hear about my questions, you have so many problems of your own."

"But Margaret I deal with my problems all the time, it's sometimes easier to deal with other people's problems than the ones I have to deal with."

Thursday, December 21, 2000

After reading about the false accusation that Jezebel plotted, Margaret continued to wonder. Pastor Larry kept saying gays were bad, but the ones she knew were just like other people. Of course, they weren't interested in her, but that wasn't all that bad considering what some of the men interested in her had wanted. I know Pastor Larry means to do what's best, he says so himself when he says that he makes mistakes, could this be one of the things he doesn't understand fully. I know he's mentioned that he now sees in a glass dimly and longs for the day when he sees face to face. He's mentioned often enough that the brass and silver mirrors of Paul's day obscured the picture so that face to face was the way to be seen, and how much of this could be a misunderstanding. But Pastor Larry says this from the pulpit and there he is divinely inspired as we are inspired to hear the Word correctly. But then how can Andrew's church teach something so different. The questions went around and around until Margaret got up off her knees and went to sweep and mop the basement floor, before scrubbing it on her hands and knees. She knew scrubbing anything would take her mind off of those ever-increasing questions and she wanted so much to have faith instead of doubts.

Friday, December 22, 2000

My God, Margaret thought, a lying spirit in the mouth of a prophet. Does Pastor Larry know about this possibility? Of course, he does, he's reading these passages along with us. But the passage doesn't say how you find out which prophet has God's spirit and which has a lying spirit. How can Pastor Larry be so certain that his is a spirit of God and not a spirit of untruth? He's told us enough times how tricky the devil can be inputting words and actions into people so that they become of the devil and here's proof that even God's anointed, how else could they be prophets?, can be possessed of a lying spirit. Am I going to have to scrub the basement again to get these questions out of my head? Instead of scrubbing the basement Margaret went to her sewing room and gathered up the pieces for another pant suit that she'd been putting off making and threw them away.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

Oh, Margaret prayed, to be a woman of God who when attacked could call down fire unless the person begged forgiveness. Or even to have the certainty of an Elijah. Joe is kinder than ever and yet the distance remains. God, how can I go on when Joe doesn't talk to me about his troubles and doesn't seem to talk about anything in his life. He is so kind and gentle, he doesn't nag about the small problems with running the house. I remember how he used to get so uptight over the least little money problem, but he was talking to me then. He doesn't do that anymore. He just goes to work and goes to therapy and comes home and seems worse. He cries, so silently he cries, he talks of the Bible with such love and then goes and cries some more. How can I bear it. And then, church, I keep wondering if Pastor Larry is going to use me as an example of the fallen woman redeemed. And yes, God saved me and Joe helped me get out of the life I was leading, but I'm not such a great woman and what will happen if I do something other than what Pastor Larry thinks is godly. Is he going to condemn me as a woman possessed by Satan. I know that I should be afraid of God's wrath, but with Pastor Larry even one mistake or slip seems to lead to a sermon on judgement day when all the righteous will be eating and feasting and the unrighteous burning in a lake of fire before them. O God I want to do Your will and follow in Your path, but I'm not sure that I can make every step righteous. I wear pant suits even though they are men's clothes. I wonder about my husband even though I'm supposed to trust him. I question what he wants me to do even though I'm supposed to obey. These questions trouble me. At least on the street all I had to worry about was getting the money for the next thing, but here in church I keep having to worry about everything I think. O God I want everything to be just right for you and it isn't.

Sunday, December 24, 2000

Pastor Larry finished reading from Matthew 1 and put down his Bible with a thump. “You may rightly wonder why such a reading for our Christmas Eve service. Wouldn’t the story of Jesus’ birth be more appropriate? But we are talking about how Jesus saves even the worst of us and this genealogy illustrates that perfectly. Out of the worst and not so bad women and men came this Savior of the world. This Savior who saves even the worst of us and makes us perfect. - Remember that we are called to “be ye perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect. – This Savior came through fallen women. Who are these four women that were saved from evil and then became the line of David? They are: Tamar who committed incest with her father-in-law, Rahab who while a prostitute saved the men of Israel, Ruth who while a good woman was not one of Israel’s people, and Bathsheba who committed adultery.

“These women immersed in evil (Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba) or of a family of evil (Ruth) show how God can call the most evil among us. These women, who through their evil actions were condemned to hell, have been called out just as each of us is called out of an evil world. Those women were called out and became the mothers of Jesus, just as each woman in our congregation is called out to nurture her children so to provide strong men for our faith in Jesus.

“We have women who have come out of such dreadful pasts. And they have been changed; they have been regenerated and have grown up to be the mothers of our faith, submissive and humble. One of the m in our congregation is so humble that she had her husband come and ask that she not be used in my sermons as an illustration. She said there are so many other good Christian women and I still have so far to go. She like all of you here today is a fine example of Christian humbleness, not thinking how far she has come but how many others display even more goodness. We are not like those outside who speak only good of themselves. We have confessed our sins and been baptized in the blood of the lamb. That some of us have come out of great evil like this woman who committed incest and was a whore is only to show how mighty the one who can save is.

“And who is that one who has saved us?”

The congregation shouted, “Jesus!”

Margaret was thinking, “He told Joe he wouldn’t identify me as a former prostitute!” as she mouthed, “Jesus.”

Pastor Larry said, “I can’t hear you!”

And the congregation got louder with another “JESUS!!”

And Pastor Larry shouted, “You can do still better!! WHO SAVED YOU?”


Margaret felt fired up with all that enthusiasm, as she felt angry at the betrayal. But it couldn’t be a betrayal. Pastors did not do that to their congregations. That didn’t happen in a God fearing church. Yes, her father had betrayed her but not her pastor. Margaret began to lose herself in the rest of the service as Mildred began to play a hymn of praise and others began to be slain in the spirit. This was really worship, she thought.

Their daily Bible study only confused Margaret. Joe was talking about how God's anointed would be protected just as it said in II Kings 2 where the bears ate children teasing Elisha. And Margaret thought, isn't that what I'm doing. Pastor Larry is God's anointed and what's going to happen to me since I disrespect him by getting angry at him. Even if he doesn't do what I want, isn't he one of God's anointed. Pastor Larry is chosen to lead this congregation and all I do is get angry. He's so inspiring sometimes. I am so moved in the spirit and the whole congregation rings with our shouts of praise, but then I just can't get into them and I feel like I'm mocking God and Pastor Larry when I'm so angry. I feel as if a fire is about to burn me up as happened to those who came against Elisha and bears are gnawing at my insides trying to get out. I've been given so much with the love of Joe and I want to give that back, but I get so angry and Pastor Larry says that's not seemly in a woman.

Monday, December 25, 2000

That's a disgusting finish to the chapter, Margaret thought. I wonder how anyone even a pagan king could offer up their child as a sacrifice. It's like giving up on the future. No wonder the Israelites left. And Joe and I have worked so hard to have children. Joe keeps saying how much he wants children even when he's unable to do his part. And to have to read this on Christmas Day when we are celebrating the birth of one who saves us. I suppose in some twisted way this could be a son who is sacrificed to save his people and that's what we talk about God doing. God come down in Jesus Christ and then killed so that we might be saved. But was this son, this heir even old enough to understand what is going on? And Jesus went to the cross to save us, he wasn't forced into the decision. O God I want children so much and I know I'll do a better job than my father did with me but how can I have them if Joe won't cooperate. If I could I'd be like the woman Hannah who cried out in the temple until Eli thought she was drunk. But if I did that Pastor Larry would say - it just isn't your time and be faithful to your husband and it will happen. We'll I'm faithful and trusting and praying and crying and it just isn't happening and Joe's not coming to me so that it just can't happen. And Pastor Larry would say that I've just got to be a good woman and Joe will be attracted to me and perform his duties as a husband. And it just didn't seem to be a duty when we got married.

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Margaret prayed, O God if only the miracles of yesterday could happen in my life today. I know it is a miracle that I ever got out of the life I was in. I just didn't know that married life could be this good or that someone could treat me as nice as Joe does, but now that I'm out of that life I want so much more. I want to have a child, I want to have Joe communicate like we used to -like the way we did when we met. And I'm so upset and I don't know why. I have more than I thought I could have and I want more. I'm not like that woman who had no money for survival. I have a husband who's alive, who's kind, who brought me out of darkness. I don't have a child, but I have a house of my own, a real house that I own and property and a job that would support me even if Joe dropped dead today. So God, how can I ask for more, how is it that I desire more now that I have more than I ever dreamed I could have. It's like everything I ever wanted came to me like a winning lottery ticket and it's even better since I know I worked for every step. Joe cared for me from the first and he helped me every step of the way but I didn't just do nothing I know the cost for everything I've achieved and I've paid it gladly and I'm not going to throw it away just because I don't have everything I want but, O God, I do want, I desire, I dream, I hope, I want so much more.

Wednesday, December 27, 2000

Oh I do love a good story, Margaret thought, as she finished reading about Naaman and Elisha and the little servant girl who told Naaman about the prophet and Gehazi who sought after money and the king who did not trust in his own prophets. She went on thinking and finally wrote-

There once was a mighty king,
well¼ maybe not so mighty
who was asked by another king
and this one really mighty
to heal a well-loved servant
who commanded lots of armies
and this somewhat mighty king,
who didn't have those armies
he wondered what to do
in the face of this request.

But the prophet to the king
a man they called Elisha
sent word unto his king
to not fear the other armies
for the prophet would do what a prophet could do
and the commander of armies would be healed.

Well! This isn't poetry, but I'm not sure what to call it. But it expresses how I feel about the story. I do wish Joe were here to share this story with me. He's been gone in the evening so often recently and then he doesn't want to talk when he gets home. He says that the counseling is helping him and he is more gentle and kind and tells me of his love but he's gone more often and we never have marital relations any more. I wonder if I've failed him even though he tells me I'm not the one causing his problems. I wonder if it's something I'm just not seeing. Oh, I do want this marriage to work so that we can be a good Christian family with lots of children to love and nurture and bring up in the faith.

Thursday, December 28, 2000

Golly, thought Margaret, as she poked her head out of the library book, to think that an iron axe head was worth so much. This makes it even more of a miracle. It's like saving the price of a new tractor! I wonder if Pastor Larry knows about this. The materials he sent out talk about how great the army was, but I don't really understand armies. I do understand losing something borrowed and having to try to pay it back. I owe Joe so much for having rescued me from the life. But I don't want to feel like I have to pay him back. Sometimes this waiting for him to love me feels like repayment for the days and months he spent in rescuing me and then waiting for me to enjoy marital relations, but Joe has always enjoyed being the husband and I miss that part of our lives.

Friday, December 29, 2000

Food when you're hungry. Food at a price anyone can pay. That's a miracle story that I understand. And then those who are haughty and proud and don't believe - they are the ones who get trampled underfoot. Oh thank you, God for this story. I have to tell Andrew about this story. I'm beginning to think more and more that God doesn't condemn him. Andrew is such a good person, he listened and asked about me when I hurt him the other day. And he gets angry but he gets over it and apologizes when it's his fault or finds excuses for me when I've done wrong. He and Joe couldn't be more different. Joe likes to work with his hands. Andrew can barely move. Joe's married to me. And Andrew is gay. But they both care and even if Andrew can't get married he says he was faithful to one man until that one man died. And God knows he can't get out of the house to get into any trouble since that death. And in a way even their differences match up. Joe may not read that much but he knows everything to do with tools. Andrew may not do anything handily, but he knows everything to do with books. Joe loves to sing and Andrew can't sing but listens to all sorts of music. Joe can't talk about his feelings but does small things to show he cares. Andrew can talk, but knows when to be listen. If it weren't for Pastor Larry's teachings about homosexuality I'd introduce them, but I can't do that.

Saturday, December 30, 2000

O God, I wonder if I am being called to leave my home, just like that woman in II Kings, Margaret prayed. I'm no longer being fed by Pastor Larry's sermons. They seem like bitter herbs and noxious weeds. He is supposed to be a man of God and I know I should listen to him. But everything within me is so angry at him. He just doesn't know what my life was like and talks as if I was this woman who had everything just for lying on my back. It was easier than living at home, but Pastor Larry has no idea what my home life was like. If he had had to put up with what I went through he would know how much a relief the streets were. And this life with Joe is just heaven. I have a house, I have a job, I have a husband, I can say no without fear. And yet I want more.

Sunday, December 31, 2000

Pastor Larry preached a sermon about Jezebel being the whore of Babylon. He didn't mention Margaret by name, but everyone knew her as the fallen woman redeemed by the love of a man.

Unvoiced longings

Unvoiced longings

The pain is mine
and I bear it
not always gladly
not always willingly
but I still bear it
and will not give it up.
For the pain is mine
a part of me
The pain made me
Who I am is made from pain
so it is a part of me
of what makes me me.

November 30, 1998

A question

A question

How did i become
what I am?
For I can see
the steps to here.
But how did i
make those choices
the courage, the fear
in timidity and with mistakes
For there were choices
and many steps
And I do not know how I chose
But I’m glad
I made choices
choices that I have
For I am.
As God wills
I am

December 12, 1999

I know

I know

To know what I know now
yet be as I was then
Yet to be as I was then
with what I now know
That is retreat - diminishment
from what I am now
So with what I know now
I would not go back then.

July 13, 1999, Roger Victoria

Ethical Morals

Ethical Morals

I can forgive but not forget
the pain that remains after
when it is sought but then forgot
the hurt
the pain
not so sudden
nor so quick
Still to heal the wound
is slower
is harder
takes time
takes effort

Joe and Margaret - Chapter 2 November

Chapter 2 November

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Margaret sighed as she remembered Pastor Larry’s sermon on Hosea. Forgiveness was all well and good, but she was tired of being the prime example of a life reclaimed for Christ. Yes, she had a past, but somehow she wondered if there could be a few examples of people reclaimed from greed, or anger, or hardness of heart or any one of the other things mentioned in the lists of sin. Her past was in the past and she had enough gumption to know that she would not go back. Yet at times she was tempted to see what would happen if she again became a fallen woman? Would the people at church still welcome her? But, no, she could not do that to Joe.

Though as she thought about it - Joe would be seen as more of a saint if she fell back into the life. There were already rumors that he had been such a saint, first in welcoming her as she was getting out of the life and through marriage. Some of those were changing as he recovered from his accident, now she was getting praise. But more often than not it was couched in “after how he helped her it’s the least she could do” which was more irritating. Joe acted out of love and had never asked for repayment. Why the church members couldn’t see that was beyond her comprehension. She had thought they were better than those in the life she had left. But in many ways they just disguised their payment and repayment expectations better.

Joe woke up from a nap and wondered, not for the first time, if he needed to talk to Margaret about his therapy. It had changed from the physical and he had mentioned that the type of therapy had changed to her it just never seemed the right time to mention that it wasn't physical any longer. It wasn't really a lie or dishonest, he just hadn't mentioned everything. And would Margaret talk to Pastor Larry about the change. Pastor Larry always preached against those Freudian analysts followers of a Jew who had killed the savior, but still in their misbegotten way chosen by God. But the therapist said she wasn't a follower of Freud and then Pastor Larry would have some words about going to advice from a woman. Men should be the head of the household. And someone who wasn't head of his own household couldn't be a church elder. Joe knew that he had been called as a Christian from his earliest memories, but he worried about his church recognition of that call. Margaret's love had given him an opportunity to live out that call in church service and he loved her for giving him that opportunity to serve God more fully.

What would David have done in this situation? Joe thought that David seemed to have it all together. He had a really masculine friendship, as Pastor Larry said, with Jonathan and didn't seem troubled by the urges that Joe had. And then he was so much cleverer. This story of stealing a spear and a water jug. Joe suspected he would have just watched rather than stealing something. Saul and David were described as handsome men and somehow that drove all thought of anything else from Joe's mind. But those were thoughts that weren't right for one of God's anointed to have, they were distractions of the devil and he couldn't let Margaret know how often they occurred. He was supposed to be the head of the household after all and she needed protection of a good man after all she had suffered.

Joe was sure God would not reject him. After all he had done to prove his faith and show it to the church God would not reject him for just some thoughts that weren't right. After all David had had multiple wives and still been loved by God, even though his thoughts were worse sins he had never acted on them. And the one time he'd gone into that bar the accident after he'd fled been certainly punishment enough to satisfy God and the church.

Thursday, November 2, 2000

Joe felt like a stranger as he came home from therapy. He was being told that it was o.k. to have the feeling that he had finally told the therapist, but knew that it was wrong to feel relieved that those feelings might be o.k. And if he ever talked about those feelings he might have to leave the church. Pastor Larry just would not understand and he couldn't do that to Margaret. She got such strength from Pastor Larry and had helped him become a leader in the congregation. He was up for becoming an elder and the accident hadn't delayed that much. Not so much as if they'd known what bar he'd been running from. Joe thanked God daily that he'd run instead of responding. At least all his sins were thought - even if that was as bad as action, it just didn't seem as terrible. And how could he serve the church - he knew he was called to serve the church - if they wouldn't let him be a member in good standing.

Friday, November 3, 2000

Joe woke up thinking that the therapist must be a witch or was it warlock? He and Margaret had read and discussed the passage for the day and then Joe had fallen asleep. His dreams were those the therapist had mentioned might happen (or she said he might remember) after their discussion - but he had never thought they'd come so quickly. And what would Margaret think if she knew his thoughts. She'd been abused and neglected by so many men he just couldn't betray her by telling her what he was thinking. No he would be honest and not lie about those dreams, but telling her about them was something else entirely.

Saturday, November 4, 2000

You know, Joe thought, if David got out of battling his own people, perhaps I can do the same. I don't have to lie, I just have to show up. I just won't volunteer any information about what I'm thinking. After all the physical therapist first sent me to the other person for depression and I can certainly mention that was the diagnosis. This other stuff we're talking about doesn't really have anything to do with that depression and besides it's too painful to think of how that demon is attacking me. I'll just let prayer deal with my thoughts and those demons will go away. And then even with the depression treatment I can legitimately say that the physical therapy people said that I needed to go even if I didn't think I was depressed since so many people after accidents battle depression. So that gets me off the hook with Pastor Larry. Though really I shouldn't compare Pastor Larry and the church to the Philistines, they are my own people and they do have my best interests at heart.

Sunday, November 5 2000

The congregation was excited and Pastor Larry was preaching up a storm. He was bouncing back and forth on the platform, going from the pulpit then down the steps to the congregation and back up again as he worked his sermon on II Peter Chapter 2, verse 1 "For there will be false prophets among you."

"And we see those false prophets all around us in those who claim to be Christian but have not the least idea of the struggles against modern day culture that one has to do to be Christian. I'm not talking about those heathen pagans who do not know of Christ or those Jews, who for all their failings and persecutions of Christians, are still chosen by God. I'm talking about those lib - er- al churches that allow women to speak and even claim to ordain them when everyone can read clearly and simply Paul's words that women should remain silent in church and ask their husbands later. I'm talking about those radical feminists who do not remember that the man is the head of the household and keep their own names after they go through a pretense of marriage where they do not even promise to obey as Paul again stated that women should do. For the man is the head of the household just as Christ is head of the church and to deny man his proper place is to deny Christ as well.

"And we all remember what comes of those who deny Christ. At the last day Christ will come and say "I do not know you" to those who have said that they follow Christ but do not do as Christ commands. And we know that we are those who have heard Jesus Christ since Holy Spirit has come upon us and is with us know. Holy Spirit rests upon this place and fills us with truth and light. And that truth sustains us so that we can go against the godless evolutionists and the heathen radical feminists and the pagan homosexuals and all those who would deny Lordship to Jesus Christ, to all who would deny the workings of Holy Spirit within the people of this place, to all who call God by another name than Father, to all who would destroy the faith on which this country was built. All those false prophets will end up in hell. Those who have been a part of this congregation and left and those who have heard the Word but not listened."

As Pastor Larry continued Joe felt comforted by the familiar strains and added an "Amen" where needed and a Hallelujah when Pastor Larry was particularly inspired. Joe felt even more the depth of his salvation and calling and knew that he could not be one of those condemned. Joe thought, "I'll just have to work more strongly on those temptations, for I cannot be one with those who fall into evil and foolish lusts as in I Timothy 6:9. With Margaret's help I will not become a lover of myself or money as in II Timothy 3:2. And of course I will escape the temptation to become a sodomite as in I Timothy 1:10 for that would lead me into so many other sins. Margaret is such a great help in that with her patience for my weaknesses. She is truly a blessed woman submissive and full of grace.

Monday, November 6, 2000

Joe woke up in despair. After those wonderful words from Pastor Larry how could I go back and have those dreams again. A man against a man in that way was just horrible and yet the dreams were so vivid and so enticing. Why can't I feel that way about Margaret. She is so wonderful and so fragile a woman's woman now that she has found Jesus and I betray her in thought but Thank God I didn't betray her in actions. Thank God I fled from that sin, even with the accident it was not enough to cover my debts had I fallen in that way. I would that I were Jonathan fallen in battle or able to have someone help me die as did Saul

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

The phrase about Jonathan's love being more than that of a man for a woman resonated all day with Joe. The feelings he had for men that were so much stronger than what he felt for Margaret just seemed to swim through his head after he read those few words of sorrow. But Pastor Larry always said that those words referred to friendship and at other times kept condemning the takeover of America by radical feminists and homosexuals. And since he was a born again Christian, Joe knew that he couldn't be homosexual for those were the people who were once like that but were like that no more. Wasn't Margaret's change like that,. She had been a prostitute and then as a Christian was no longer a prostitute but a pure, innocent woman who deserved protection and care. "And I, Joe said under his breath, "will give her care and protection for her whole life long." Joe had promised to honor and cherish and he intended to keep that vow.

It didn't matter that after marrying Margaret and beginning marital relationships that Joe finally recognized that his desires for men were not only about friendship. He had taken those vows and it didn't matter what happened he intended to keep them. The therapist had suggested that he talk with his wife about those feelings, but as he told Margaret he wasn't ready for that talk. He didn't know when he would be ready, but it wasn't yet. And besides, Margaret, as a born again woman was pure, innocent, a fragile flower. She needed his protection from the sins of the world. She had been so hurt when he met her and she was not to have any more grief.

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

David's love for Jonathan just couldn't have been about sex, Joe thought, as he headed towards therapy. And even if it was David married and was the head of a household. David was crowned king over Israel so he must not have done any of the things that keep running through my head. Pastor Larry is a man of God so he has to be right about homosexuals and unless I act I just can't be a homosexual. It is just a snare of the devil sent to tempt me. And this therapist may be one of those snares. I need to be careful. She can cut off my disability payments and then what would Margaret say. Margaret does want me to go to therapy about our marital stuff not happening, but I just can't put this burden on her. This burden is one the Lord sent to me and I just need to be patient until He removes it.

Thursday, November 9, 2000

That therapist! Joe thought, as he chopped the salad carrots, she keeps asking what I think about my dreams and I've told her that I think just what Pastor Larry says. But then Pastor Larry would b e upset that I'm seeing a woman for mental therapy. And I know that if I keep on being faithful those temptations will go away. Why should I think anything different from what my church says and why doesn't she just accept my answers and do something else so I can get over this problem. If I'm patient enough God will deliver my enemies into my hand just as he delivered David's enemies into his. And my thoughts may be like those so-called friends like Abner who went back on David

Joe saw that he had chopped the carrots so fine they might have well been ground up and realized he was angry so he turned to prayer. O God, may my anger be only your righteous anger and not that anger which destroys from the inside. Grant that I may know the difference between my own desires and what you desire for me. Grant that I may not be angry at those who intend no harm but that the rage I feel may be for your purposes and against your enemies. O God if that therapist is really trying to help me let me know that and work with her, but if she is a demon in disguise may I meet that with fortitude and strength and be helped to know the right response. Should I flee, O God, should I go even though I'd have to admit seeing a therapist or should I stay and let her work her spells on me. My dreams, O God, are so much more vivid. Is that a sign I'm dealing with the problem or am I giving into temptation? O God I do not know where to go. Pastor Larry is such an inspiration but would I be disappointing him? Would I be dismissed if I let him know what was going on in my thoughts? I don't know, O God, I don't know!

Friday, November 10, 2000

Joe sometimes wished he could lash out as David seemed to. Getting Ishobeth killed and then being able to blame others and kill them off too. If only his demons were so easily killed. But Pastor Larry would say that David acted as God willed because God did not correct David in this instance as He certainly had over the issue of Bathsheba. Joe couldn't imagine getting worked up over a woman as David did Bathsheba. It all seemed so simple as he read the Bible and not so simple in daily life.

Saturday, November 11, 2000

Margaret has a house of her own, so her children like Ruth can always return to their mother's house. And I have that inheritance, Aunt Gwyneth was so good to both of us. That money paid for my health insurance so that I can keep going for treatment and Margaret feels secure with a house of her own. We really should start having children. It is the duty of married couples to have children. It is a blessing that I've always wanted. The church wants the deacons to be husbands with one wife and children who are obedient. It's time to do what I've always wanted. I know Margaret wants children just as badly, so we just need to start having marital congress once again. I'm going to do it and show that therapist she's wrong about my feelings. I must love Margaret. We want so many of the same things. I've cared for her through some of her darkest days and she is carrying me through this time of anguish. I don't need to talk about those other feelings of mine - they're only snares of the devil.

Sunday, November 12, 2000

Joe realized he had come to a decision. I can buy something other than the standard white underwear I've always worn. It might bother Margaret because I've talked with her about buying sensible stuff to wear, but then she'd be just like Michal when David danced before the ark and just a shrew. And perhaps buying some other types of underwear would help me in my marital duties. I do want children and Margaret will make a great mother, she knows all the things not to do and just dotes on the kids at church. I want kids no matter what and as a good man need to raise a family. I'm almost always reacting when I see the ads for low-cut and high rise and bikini underwear for men - buying that should surely help us get back on track in our marital duties towards each other. And then, maybe, all those other feelings would go away.

Monday, November 13, 2000

Joe read the passage about David building his palace before building the temple in II Samuel 8 and it percolated all day. The therapist had told him about working on his family relationships and cutting back on what he was doing at church. Maybe this is God's sign that the therapist is on the right track. I've thought her a witch at times, it's uncanny how she seems to dig out my feelings that I don't want to talk about, but this passage. It is right along with what she's telling me. David build his house. Maybe I need to work on my house and household. I still can't do the climbing to work on the roof and mowing is beyond me but I can talk to Margaret about the family and how we build one together. I'll do it. We'll build a family and a future

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Those Bible passages just keep hitting home. I need to build a home, work with Margaret to have a good family and then my enemies will be conquered. God will bless me as he blessed David - even if I can't be the man that David was - God will bless me and call me to His service. O God, you are the great father of all mankind, help me become a father in your image. You are the husband of the church help me care for my wife as you care for the church. You are the redeemer and savior of all who are troubled, relieve me of these questions and doubts that go against Pastor Larry's teachings. Help me be your servant and rid me of all other masters that I may be tempted to follow so that you and your cause may be all that masters my life and all that fills my soul. Grant Margaret patience with my failings for she is a good wife and should not be subjected to all that causes me to come near to sin. Let her be free of those evil thoughts so that she may escape all of her past and be a good mother to our children. I ask this in the name of Jesus the one who is all-powerful and came to save me from the depths of my sin. Grant that I may be His faithful witness. Amen.

That therapist really hit home when she mentioned the Bible today. I didn't even realize she knew it and she said that I'd been talking about showing love to others but there was a verse about loving neighbor as self and I needed to talk about how I was loving myself along with my neighbor. I've never thought about how I love myself when I read that verse. It's always been a challenge to love my neighbor, I don't know if I know how to do something that's not selfish and that's just for me. O God, help me in this therapy. Let me know whether the therapist is the devil quoting verses against me as he did when he tempted You in the forty days in the wilderness. Give me the words to say, as You have promised, when I am put to trial. Let me be wholly Yours and follow Your commands through all my days. Amen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

I did it! Joe thought as he took a cab home. I actually went in and bought some colored underwear and it wasn't boxers or Y-front briefs. I put them in with the rest of my shopping and no one even looked twice not even the woman at the cash register. And I can tell my therapist that I've done something just for me. And, of course, Margaret since this may help us get our marital relations back on track. Paul says we should only give them up for a period of time and it is time that I gave Margaret her due. But I have something I bought just for myself. And I can tell my therapist that next Tuesday

Thursday, November 16, 2000

How can I wear my new underwear, Joe questioned? I've always told Margaret that we should buy stuff that's sensible. And she still does the laundry and we still sleep together and I change in front of her and we share dresser space and what do I say. I was so lucky she wasn't home when I unpacked yesterday and I've got them hidden in my desk and I do want to wear them but Margaret needs to be protected and helped in understanding what's suitable and how can I talk about this with her. This is getting too complicated. Margaret says that I'm so in touch with God, but I feel so confused about where God is when I think about doing stuff for myself and paying attention to my feelings. I can remember being happy as a child when I went to church, but it seems as if I'm just going through the motions these days. I know God has called me and chosen me but O God where are you! I seem to spend my days crying out in pain and my nights are sleepless while I toss in agony. I find comfort in Margaret's arms but only for a moment. I listen to Pastor Larry and he sounds so inspired and I feel so lifeless and all the therapist gives me is more questions and I just want to go back to the plain solid values and questions that have rock-solid answers and all I get is more turmoil and emotions I don't want to feel, emotions I may have had but never had to think about.

Friday, November 17, 2000

Joe thought about Pastor Larry's condemnation of Bathsheba on his way home from Bible Study. Margaret hadn't been in the same situation but her sexual activities were what her father had done before she was old enough to understand and a way of making a living without any skills or even a G. E. D. She was now a caregiver but only because someone had taken a chance and he had given her support enough to get the studying done for her high school equivalency. Men just weren't doing their duty by women when they allowed them to become so degraded. And it wasn't even as if passion played a part. I've certainly never felt that way about any woman and I'm able to control the passion the therapist thinks I have for men or hints that I may have towards men. Pastor Larry's Bible Study for Men is really helpful in our home studies, but I just don't think he's right on this one.

Then Joe realized what he'd thought about Pastor Larry and began to pray - O God forgive me, I'm rising up against the pastor you appointed for this church. I shouldn't be doubting his intentions and he's the one you've inspired to preach your word. I'm just not ready to go against his interpretation and I'm not worthy or the church would have already appointed me as a temporary deacon. This just shows why I don't yet have children and can become a deacon. The others have told me I'd be up for becoming one if I had kids and I want them so myself, I want kids so badly that I can hardly talk about it. And, O God, you know that I'm taking steps to have kids. I'm working on getting back to marital congress with Margaret. I've bought that underwear and am getting ready to start wearing it. I am going to be a good husband and father and follower of you. Please help me in my problems so that I can be what you mean me to be. Amen.

Saturday, November 18, 2000

"Margaret, would you mind not mentioning that I made the meatloaf for the picnic?"

"But what should I do if someone asks about it?"

"I'll tell you all about how I made it, but I don't think anyone needs to know how much cooking I'm doing and I'm sure they'd ask about it if they knew that I made the stuff for the church potluck. And besides it's supposed to be for the women to show off their cooking, not the men. We’re supposed to be thanked for the work we've done for the church and it just seems odd for me to cook for what I'm being thanked."

Joe kept going back around the issue of whether he was becoming a woman. I've bought that underwear and I wonder fi it means I'm a man wearing women's clothes - an abomination in the sight of the Lord as it says in Deuteronomy. I'm always after Margaret to wear dresses, not jeans and maybe I'm doing the very thing I'm condemning. Except that these are sold as men's wear and jeans - no matter how they're fitted - are for men's work. They were made for working cattle and just can't be suited for women. I don't want the church thinking I've become a woman and I don't want to become a woman, being a man is who I am and all I've wanted to be. I just don't know how to do it any more. I thought I knew all about it, but I can't work the way I used to and I have all these thoughts about wanting another man in my life as more than a brother or friend.

Sunday, November 19, 2000

"Joe! Did you hear that announcement? You were coming into the church when we were mentioned. It was right after you had counted the offering."

"What? Did something happen?"

"Pastor Larry just congratulated me on your meatloaf and you missed it. I had to nod as if I had made it and everyone looked at me. He congratulated you on bringing me out of the life and said what a good choice you had made and some joke about my being another Rahab and you making a wise choice and not getting fooled as did another prophet and not letting you get a swelled head so he was saying it while you were doing the Lord's work of counting the offering. I thought you were coming into church. You know I don't like his references to my past and then I just had to stand there and take credit for something I didn't do."

"I'm sorry. I know I've mentioned you don't like references to your past to Pastor Larry and I put you in a bad spot. But you didn't have to lie you just had to let Pastor continue making assumptions."

"Joe! That's too close to lying for me. I'm not going to embarrass Pastor Larry by telling him you made the meatloaf and not me, but I'm not going to take credit for your stuff again. I know I'm not wroth much; but I'm still not going to take credit for anything but what I can do and I just can't cook the way you can."

Monday, November 20, 2000

Joe woke up still reeling from Margaret's vehemence. Her comments had continued all through yesterday about how she was not going to take credit for cooking something she hadn't and how she was sick and tired of Pastor Larry using her as the fallen woman redeemed.

Joe knelt for morning prayers, "O God thank you that Margaret is gone so I don't have to pray audibly and discuss yesterday again. I just don't know how to respond. Pastor Larry, as he often reminds us, does have the responsibility and right to hold us up as examples but I don't know how or if I should tell him how Margaret feels about her past being held up and not her present. But Pastor Larry, I'm sure, thinks that he's holding up Margaret's present situation as a good and godly woman and doesn't realize how she feels about the past even though I've tried to hint. And then how do I talk to Margaret about why I don't want to be held up as a cook. It can't be the same as what she's going through I'm just being modest and she wants to hide from her past. But it is so difficult to explain to her and then Pastor Larry's explanations about some of these differences are not things I always understand either. And, O God, help me to bring out that underwear I bought and wear it, perhaps I can do so today, Margaret will be gone. But then how do I talk to Margaret about buying something that's not all that sensible when I have talked to her about buying everything sensible and avoiding any clothes that might be considered part of her past. O God I feel as if I am wax and jelly being melted in the furnace of the world's fires and temptations. May I be gold that is being refined and pottery that is being shaped into your image, so that I can answer Your call and be Your man.

Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Joe knew he shouldn't enjoy cooking so much it was women's work after all. Unless one was a chef in a restaurant, but home cooked meals were the woman's responsibility and he had started only because Margaret had to take over some of the man's work when he became unable. Surely she doesn't enjoy the yard work as much I enjoy cooking and that she has to mow and fix the gutters even if it is her house is my burden to bear and hers to do and I always wonder at Great-aunt Gwyneth saying she needed stability and I needed freedom and that's why she got the house and I got the money. Oh well, what am I going to do with green beans and meatloaf today. I think maybe I'll cook the green beans with almonds and water chestnuts and put a cream sauce over it while the meatloaf will have lots of garlic and Swiss cheese in the middle. I'll skip the oatmeal and use some bread crumbs for filler in the meatloaf , then for desert just have ice cream.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

"Margaret," Joe said, "I don't think you're going to like this. Pastor Larry called while you were at work and he wants you to give a talk to the women at church. But it's supposed to be about your life as a prostitute. I didn't know how to say no to him, I just said I'd ask but wasn't sure you were ready to talk about it. I just didn't know what to say since I know his talking about it upsets you."

"Joe, let me change and relax and then I'll think about it. My first reaction is no way on God's green earth am I going to talk about my life to those women who haven't had to make my choices. But, I'll think about it."

"Margaret, Pastor Larry wants you to gave a talk before everyone. He said it would be a good lesson for the men who are tempted to go to whores."

"I'm not sure whether that's better or worse. I'm not going to give an answer now or I'd be using some of the language I've given up."

"Thank you Margaret, I know this is hard and this is one decision I can't protect you from."

Joe thought about mopping his brow as Margaret left the room but refrained. That had gone much better than he had expected after Pastor Larry's mention last week. The way she had fumed was enough to make him itchy anytime he mentioned church, let alone church and her past in the same sentence. Joe knew he couldn't protect her from all mentions but had somehow hoped that he could."

Thursday, November 23, 2000

Margaret realized it was Thanksgiving and she hadn’t talked to Joe’s family in quite awhile. She called Joe's sister.

"Hello, Susan? It’s Margaret. I just realized how long it’s been since I called. I’m sure Joe’s talking more than I am, but¼ he doesn’t always give me all the news."

"Hey, I'm glad you called. Joe hasn't spoken for awhile and we're all wondering about how he's recovering. Marshall is doing well and the twins are into everything. I never realized how much work twins were until I had Marshall, but then everything with him is a breeze after dealing with twins first. And are you and Joe doing anything about kids. I know both of you want some. All Joe could talk about growing up was becoming a father and you've been married long enough to settle down."

"Joe seems to be recovering but there are still some problems. He's still in physical therapy. I'm encouraging Joe to start a family but he's slowed down since the accident. He keeps saying he wants a family but doesn't do anything about it."

"Well, Margaret, you could just stop using birth control. That's what I did and it seemed to work out o.k. You're on the pill aren't you? Weren't you? And Joe never needs to know anything, it could just be a failure."

"Well, I'm off the pill and we stopped using condoms after I'd tested clean for six months and Joe knows I'm off the pill, but nothing is happening that would give me hope for children. Joe was great about giving me time to heal after we got together and were married, but now I'm needing to give him the same time."

"Whoa, girl, are you saying what I think you're saying? You better get after that boy to see a doctor if you're not having sex or you better go talk to his doctor. That's a problem right there that the physical therapist needs to know about. And you, I know I should avoid your past, but if you're interested and he's not. Well there's just something wrong."

"Susan, I've talked to Joe, but he's not ready to talk and so I'm just going to have to be patient."

"Well, gal, you're a better woman than I am. If Steve weren't with me at least a couple of times a week, and during pregnancy I want him a lot more often, I'd be complaining. You use that biblical language so tell Joe he owes you some marital relations and you haven't agreed to step aside for some time of prayer so he needs to get his act together with you or get to a doctor. Whoops there's one of the twins yelling. Gotta go. Give my love to Joe and tell him he needs to call more often. He's the only brother I have and I want to hear from him."

Friday, November 24, 2000

Joe prayed over the destruction of Absalom. That image of David weeping over the son who had rebelled kept on coming back. Am I the son in rebellion and God the one who weeps over my death? Are my feelings for men what God has given me up to because of some idolatry in my life? And what is that idolatry that causes me to feel this way? What is it in my life that is causing me to have these feelings? What rebellion am I in that God should allow this to happen to me? All I've wanted is to be God's servant and to have children and yet I have these feelings for men that I can't get rid of and that means I'm in rebellion, an idolater and can never have children. It's just so impossible that I would be like Absalom but I'm going to be cut off, just like he was and God is sorrowing over my rebellion even now.

Perhaps I should talk to Pastor Larry. He should be able to help me discover where the sin is in my life that I'm being given over to these destructive thoughts. I can't burden Margaret with this and no matter what the therapist says Margaret just is not strong enough to deal with this. Yes, Pastor Larry will have the answer. He'll be able to tell me where I'm failing.

Saturday, November 25, 2000

"Margaret," Joe said, "I'm going to talk with Pastor Larry about why I've not been having marital relations. It's time to do something more than therapy."

Joe continued watching the tears form in Margaret's eyes. "I know you've been patient, but it's time that I do more since the therapy isn't working. Pastor Larry can pray with me about the issue of marital relations and maybe do a better job. I want to support you and give you your due as a good wife and I know both of us want children. I've put it off too long and maybe Pastor Larry will help me so that we can work together on this problem of mine."

Margaret couldn't manage to choke out any words, but it was enough that Joe started thinking, "I have been hard on Margaret. I just didn't know how much she wanted this. I've been selfish in not doing anything about marital relations with her. Maybe that's the sin that is causing me to have these other feelings. I'll talk with Pastor Larry and see what he thinks."

Sunday, November 26, 2000

Margaret was just finished getting ready for church when she asked, "Joe? Do you think it would be good for you, would it help you become a deacon if I spoke in church?"

"I don't know. Pastor Larry would think I had control over my house and you know that's one of the Biblical requirements. You're such a good wife that I hate to ask you to do anything you don't want to do. I'm worried that it might cause you pain, that you might feel to weak. But, yes, I think it would help me become a deacon if you spoke about your past."

"Alright, Joe, I'll do it. I'm certainly strong enough. I just don't want to revisit a place I've come through and conquered. You do so much for me. It's the least I can do for your having rescued me out of that hell I was in. I thank Jesus every day for you and that you brought the Word to me."

Joe was going - Yes! This will really get Pastor Larry on the road to helping me and prove to him that I'm a good Christian and show him that I have control over my household and maybe, just maybe with Margaret's support I can conquer these temptations I've been having and prove to God that I intend to be His servant.

Monday, November 27, 2000

How could David have done it, Joe wondered? To give up his stepsons to be killed?! He was married to Michal and these were her sons even if they weren't his own children, even if they were sons of another man that Michal had been wed to while David was in exile. But to give up his wife's children?! David was supposed to be such a righteous man and yet to be able to do something like that even if he thought God wanted him to do that. Today's passage from II Samuel 21 does nothing to relieve my anxiety and perhaps that is where I'm supposed to be, but how long, O God, how long.

Tuesday, November 28, 2000

After reading II Samuel 22 Joe began to wonder how long it had been since had really sung a song of praise to God. Yes, I've sung in church and we have a lot of songs that Praise God but I just haven't sung one recently except in church. I was slowing before that accident and I don’t think I've sung one since. I've got a lot to be grateful for - my health, Margaret is such a patient and understanding wife and yet I can't praise God unless someone else starts it or I have to for church and then am I praising God or going through the motions. I just don't seem to feel anything anymore. Except for anxiety and pain, I get enough of that as I struggle with my faith. I know I'm called. I know God saves me. But now I am in the depths and feel as if someone is standing on my shoulders keeping from getting my head above the waters around me.

O God, I am in such despair. Everything should be getting better. I'm recovered from the accident and I make some steps forward but everything seems to fall back down. I bought that underwear and my therapist praised me for looking after myself and yet I cannot bring myself to wear it because I'm so afraid what Margaret will think. I want to talk to Pastor Larry but I know he'll say I must be doing evil to have those sorts of thoughts I keep having and how can I talk to him about those thoughts when I feel called to be a deacon in the church. Every time I think I'm moving forward I fall back. I think I'm getting rid of those thoughts but they keep coming back and my therapist says it's good, but Pastor Larry would say it's bad. How do I choose O God? How can I do the right thing? And what is the right thing? I read about David killing his step sons and not being condemned. How can my thoughts be worse than that and I want children so badly and I can't have them without a wife and yet my desires don't seem to be towards Margaret. I just thought they'd go away with prayer and a good wife, but Margaret is so good and I've done such good things by getting her out of the life, surely I've done enough that God will take away these idolatrous desires of mine. Surely I've done enough that God would point out where my sin of idolatry lies. But I cry out and there is no answer and the answers I get don't make sense. O God! Where are you!?!

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Joe went to prayer saying, O God why can I not give You praise as did David in his last words, but my words seem as nothing and less than nothing. I cry for relief from my thoughts of men, but I have no relief and all I find is exhaustion. I pray that I am a good husband to Margaret, but I find more and more that I have less interest in her as a woman and do not give her what is due a woman from her husband. I so want to be a husband and raise children. Why won't You let me have an interest in my wife? I am tortured, abandoned as though nothing. I have sought to serve You from the time I was a child and asked for correction when I am wrong, but I cannot find my wrong that would cause me to have these feelings that have awakened. I cannot see why I would go to a bar with those sorts of people and then when I flee have an accident on the way home. I cannot understand why this should be happening when I study Your word and worship with Your people. My days, these days, are filled with cries to You and yet I find no answer. O God when will I hear your voice, when will I find some answers. Is it that I have taken counseling from someone who is part of the secular atheistic psychiatry, but they were the ones who would listen. Is it that I have not gone to Pastor Larry, but I have listened to his sermons and I know if I talked with him I would not be able to serve You in the ways that I have. What is it O God that keeps me from hearing Your voice.

Thursday, November 30, 2000

Joe prayed through tears, O God, I am Yours. I am Yours even though I am a homosexual. You have placed me among the thieves, the idolaters, the immoral, those committing sexual sins. Even though I've never had sex with a man and only with my wife, my thoughts are such that I can only be among those Paul condemned. And yet I should be more for Paul said that we were once as they and yet I have always been Yours and I am as they are. Help me to find a place among Your people as I am and change me if it be Your will. I have prayed so long for change but it is not happening and so it must not be Your will that I change just yet. But Oh! in this time help me to be among your people as repentant even though I am yet a sinner born and bred. And let Margaret be saved even if I am not. I know Pastor Larry says that a woman is saved by her husband, but just this once, since I am evil and she is good, let Margaret be saved even as I am not.

And O God forgive my lies. I have lied to you, I've lied to Margaret, I've avoided the truth about myself for so long. It wasn't just that I went to a bar and fled. I've been hiding my feelings for much longer. As I look back today I don't know when I began to deny that I had those feelings, No let me say that word clearly. I don't know when I began to deny my sexual feelings for men, my homosexual feelings, but I can't avoid them any longer. It doesn't matter that I've tried to be a man. That I've acted as everyone says a good man should act, I have lied when I said I had more that intermittent attractions to women and then only when they look a little like men. And I've lied to Margaret, I tell her she looks attractive in dresses and she should wear dresses like a good woman and then I've imagined her in jeans and only been attentive when she looks the least womanly that she can. O God, I've spent my life in lies and prided myself on the honesty which I lacked. Preserve me O God from the consequences of my sin and let me be counted among Your people once again that I may rejoice in the presence of Your people. But if not, let Margaret be preserved for she had no part in my lies and has always been herself and learned Your salvation more than I.