Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

My son had a little friend over the other day and during their long ambling conversation about dinosaurs, peanut butter and jelly and who’s-dad-is-stronger, their bathroom habits came up.

I was in another room when I heard Judah exclaim, “You mean, you can wipe yourself?!?”

My son was thoroughly impressed. In Judah’s eyes, this ability sets apart the men from the boys.

Honestly, it really doesn’t take much to amaze my kid – his favorite food is corndogs, so he’s not exactly qualified to deem anything noteworthy.

His taste might not be very discerning but he makes no apologies for being tacky. My son’s world is raw and unfiltered and he hides nothing. Every thought, feeling and impulse he has is on display.

And here is the shark “attack”. Pure poetry.

Me.… well not so much. For instance, not a ton of people know this, but I have a very goofy side. I like to send my sisters ludicrous messages and text pictures like bespectacled dinosaurs and shark attacks that I’ve made out of punctuation and symbols. I love being silly when its least expected.

I don’t always show that ridiculous side right away (or at all with some people) because my deadpan expression and my naturally intimidating eyebrows tend to confuse people if they don’t know me very well. They can’t tell if I’m kidding, mocking them or slightly unhinged.

This is the dinosaur I sent to my sister.

It’s important to know your audience and sometimes the group in question just won’t appreciate the sarcasm, i.e. my grandma and small children. I find no joy in leaving the people I love flummoxed and offended, so some things are better off left unsaid.

Then there are the things that go unsaid because you’re afraid. Will you be shunned, judged or will someone’s opinion of you be so altered that you can’t go back to the way things were?

With little kids there are few “no-go” zones. Right now, my son sees no problem with stripping down to his birthday suit in public during the summer if he’s too hot. He has no qualms about jogging to the bathroom and announcing, “I’ll be back in a minute, I have to poop!” as he huffs by. He doesn’t know that singing and dancing down the cereal aisle of Safeway is not a social norm.

But as we all know, things change dramatically as we get older. I have experienced and known others with plenty of “no-go” zones. Try to get to the bottom of an offense and instead of working it out, it’s glossed over and deliberately forgotten because it’s too uncomfortable to share those feelings. Ask about something difficult from the past and you get crossed arms and pursed lips. Attempt a deep conversation and you’re met with sarcasm and joking to deflect any emotions that creep in.

I’m not talking about rudely prying into peoples’ business, I’m talking about really understanding each other, what experiences have shaped us and knowing how to survive difficult seasons together.

When we mark those zones as impassable, I believe we are missing an opportunity to grow and experience lasting authentic relationships.

I think that’s why Jesus told us to come to him like a little child. He wants us to approach him without fear, with a sense of wonder and fully expecting to be adored. We are cheating ourselves of a full relationship with him otherwise.

What about regular people? Yes, people are flawed and won’t receive you with the same perfect love that Jesus does. We are unpredictable and hurt even the ones we love. While I would never advise a person to bare all their secrets to someone untrustworthy, it’s also important to remember that there is a certain amount of pain that goes with human relationships and if you’ve found people that love you enough to work through it, go there with them.

It’s not always easy to find friends that will go the distance with you. But you can get through a painful situation strengthened and secure when you decide that love and trust are the goals and Jesus is your guide and mediator.

Angie Derrick 9/27/2012 ©

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50 Shades of Red

I’m not as easily embarrassed as I used to be. I’m not exactly a devil-may-care type either, but I’ve come a long way. When I was a little kid, I didn’t learn to swim because I was so self-conscious of my portly figure, I refused to go to lessons. I cried and cried until my parents gave up because it was too stressful and frankly too difficult to heft my chunky body into the car without my consent. Now that I’m an adult, I will wear a tankini and boy shorts even though my legs still have that puffy, stuck together look that cookies get when you greedily scoop bigger spoonfuls of dough than you’re supposed to because one inch balls sound like woefully undersized cookies.

My mother, on the other hand is an open book – well, maybe more like an open library where no subject is declined or off limits. She feels no shame or inhibitions about sharing anything about herself. Whether it’s announcing to the worship team at church that she may or may not feel up to being at the next practice because she is scheduled for a colonoscopy that day, or laughing at herself uproariously while telling everyone that she accidentally walked into the men’s room last Sunday, she doesn’t hesitate to bare all. My mother is not afraid that people will shun her. She doesn’t fear rejection because she believes she is lovable and truly liked.

The love that God, friends and family have invested in my mother have erased any self-doubt and compels her to live out loud and as herself. I too have the support and love of God, friends and family. But if I am honest, any hesitation on my part is my refusal at times to believe in the love that’s been offered.

It’s not without reason that I’ve been reluctant: kids made fun of my chubbiness, people that said they’d be there for me when my dad died weren’t, people that promised to keep my secrets when my first husband was cheating on me didn’t. I have felt many times in my life that my personal garbage was set on the roadside with a “free” sign.

People failed me and caused a lot of distrust, made me guarded. I know I’m not the only one. Who knows your oldest, deepest secrets? Who do you share your happy moments and vulnerable feelings with? Don’t be the friend that no one really knows. Don’t let your favorite color, coffee drink and benign little tidbits of your life be the only parts of your life you’ll share.

When you hold back your true self from people, you will get the same in return. It makes for very shallow, brief relationships. Be yourself, share your heart.  I can’t guarantee that it won’t include some heartache; even Jesus was betrayed by a friend in his inner circle and other friends and family failed him as well. But I don’t see any evidence in the bible to support allowing past hurts to justify cynicism and holding people at arm’s length.

Quite the contrary, the bible holds nothing back. There is no detail too personal or too gritty. The scandals that stain the pages of God’s Word have been penned in the blackest, most permanent ink. Yet the miracles and hope that leap from the words will live on for eternity. Everything we want to know about the character and personality of the God who is our father, friend and Lord is laid out without apology or hesitation – He wants to be known and know us in return.

If you want to know how to befriend and love purely and willingly, be His friend. If you want to live honestly and unmasked, follow His example. If you need faith to accept that it will all turn out ok, read His Word. God is not easily shocked or embarrassed by anything we do and he’s seen it all. Don’t let your hang-ups and past hold you back from enjoying your life, relationships or who God created you to be.

Angie D 6/15/12 ©

Goody-Two-Shoes Got Pregnant: Portrait of a Christian Girl

I was nineteen and unmarried when I got pregnant with my daughter. As people in church began to find out that I was pregnant, there was one reaction in particular that I’ll never forget.

“Wow! Goody-two-shoes got pregnant! I never thought you had it in you,” was the almost impressed reply.

I really think this response summarized what a lot of people were thinking: I may have been self-controlled and pious on the outside, but based on this recent news, I was probably just a wild child waiting to be loosed. They probably assumed I was one of those “still waters run deep” cases where no one really ought to be surprised if they were paying any attention.

But nothing could have been further from the truth. I wasn’t attention-seeking, wild, promiscuous, or even in love. Nothing that was the typical titillating fodder of church gossip could explain why a nice christian girl like me with apparently sincere beliefs would end up falling so hard and so publically.

When I look back at what took me to that point of throwing caution and my convictions to the wind, I remember some growing feelings:

I was exhausted. My dad died halfway through my sophomore year in high school. Only one week after my dad’s funeral I dove into thirty grueling months of zero hour, after school classes, summer school, some evening classes at the community college and even piano lessons. I had to complete four years of school in just two and a half because I was homeschooled while dad was sick. I needed to help take care of my baby sisters. And I needed to spend every possible minute that I had left with my dad. I had a lot to catch up on and very little sleep to keep me going.

I was alone. I had friends and family, but I was alone with my feelings. I didn’t have anyone I could share my sadness, frustrations, fears or secrets with that understood or had the maturity to support me through what I was experiencing. Not willing to be the party-pooper or a “burden” to anyone, I kept most of my feelings to myself.

I was numb. Three and a half years of watching your father writhe in pain and lose his mind will do that to you. Seeing my mother lose weight, sleep and the love of her life to the soundtrack of crying babies that ached for her but had to settle for me will wring tears dry. Then there were all my own fears and hurts that scraped across my heart so many times that any feeling was lost to survival.

No one just throws away their life, their beliefs, their dreams and goals freely with both hands. It’s wrenched from them. Wrestled away, not in one instance, but over time by insecurity, betrayal, pain, confusion, fear, loss; and then one day you just can’t fight back anymore and you give it all away.

Then you’re left with nothing and you want something. You want to feel alive even if it’s all wrong. It’s in that vulnerable state that you do and accept things you wouldn’t have before.

And indeed, a lot of things went wrong, not all of them my fault. I let myself get buried in my pain when I should have been reaching out for help. I chose to be led by my needs and not my God. I made bad decisions. But I also really needed people to surround me with persistent friendship, support and prayer; to remind me when I was too tired to think that I was loved and my God was able to meet all my needs.

We are not meant to live or struggle alone. God created family, friendship, love. Jesus had disciples, and even God is a triune being. Never miss an opportunity to feed, comfort, support, love, listen, protect or befriend. Your presence can make a difference in someone’s life. Your kindness could be the strength someone needs to claw out of the rubble and clasp God’s hand.

Angie D 6/7/12 ©


  • I believe in Jesus, loving people, living fully and creating good things. Whether it's art, food or finding solutions, I am always in "creative mode". With this blog I hope to encourage and help others to live in whatever "mode" God has called them to.

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