It was 2003 in the middle of July. I had spent the entire day before crying rivers of tears. 24 hours of nothing but solid sorrow. I cried till I had no tears left, and then I cried some more.
Where was I? In the local women’s shelter with my 3 babies, who were 3, 2, and 1. My emotionally and physically abusive marriage had finally come to its very bitter end, and I moved out while the ex was spending his weekend in jail. To say I was upset and grieving would be extremely underwhelming. I was lost. Completely lost.
Because I felt like I had failed. Failed my marriage, as if the abuse was somehow all my fault. If I had been a better wife, he wouldn’t have treated me like that. After all, he had been telling me that for years. I felt like I had failed God. You weren’t supposed to get divorced, according to the Bible, and my family had told me the truth. If you don’t leave, he will kill you. And then he will have the kids and you won’t be there to protect them. The only option was divorce or a cemetery plot. But most of all, I just felt like I had failed myself. If I hadn’t desired to please people as much as I had- and remained true to the real Charlie inside- I never would have allowed things to get as far gone as they had. I should have stood up for myself, gotten out before the situation reared its ugly head and landed me there.
On my second day in the shelter, I sat in silence. Nothing would really come out of my mouth, but my mind was ablaze with a firing squad of thoughts that pierced my heart in a way it had never been hurt before. I struggled to do anything, except for taking care of the 3 little ones who were joyfully playing in the toy room at “Miss Linda’s house.” They kept me breathing in and out that second day.
By the 3rd day, I needed to feel human. I needed something to make me feel alive, something to remind me that the world was still going to turn as it always seems to do in the wake of a tragedy. I realized that it had been a good week since I had last shaved my legs. Leave it to a set of hairy gams to snap a girl back to reality. But I hadn’t thought to pack razors when I was grabbing things to get out of the house. At the shelter, they had supplies you could use, but the razors were locked up. Apparently, women in my position before had tried to take their own lives, and the thought of that was chilling.
I went to office desk and asked if I could have a razor. Jan, a wonderful woman who took a deep interest in me, looked up and said, “I’m sorry I have to ask this, Charlie, but what are your intentions with the razor?”
And this was a wake up call for me. It was as if she was asking me- are you going to choose life or death?
It took me a moment to answer her, because I was so jarred back into the certainty of what I was really after. I wanted to live- the best kind of living- the best way I knew how.
So I looked her straight in the eye and said “I… am going to …”
Jan looked at me with pensive yet hopeful eyes, waiting for those next words that would show her my intentions.
shave off my eyebrows.”
Jan took a second, then grinned and flipped through a big book.
“Well, Charlie, there’s nothing in the manual that says you can’t do that. Here’s your razor!”
And we laughed. We laughed until out stomachs hurt. We laughed until I remembered that I was very much still alive. Charlie was still in there. Somewhere. I just needed to find her again.
That was when I began the "Quest for the Real Charlie." I never anticipated it would take so long to figure this crazy woman out! There were countless missteps, mistakes, 60 pounds of grief weight to be gained, and the realization that I am not called to be a singer/songwriter before I would start really scratching the surface of who I am.
It took forgiving the same things over and over, dropping the weight, and sequestering the need to please people. It took finding the art form of blogging for me to realize who I am- both as Charlie… and a daughter of the King.
See, if you are a Christian, then we are a part of the body of Christ. Romans 12:4-6 says: Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
So someone out there may be the eyes. Someone else may be the fingers. And I bet you are thinking that I am the unofficial mouth. Wrong!!!
I am the butt of Christ.
Here’s how I figured it out. I am the one who takes the all the stuff we shovel inside of our body- the pain, the bitterness, the sadness- and I process it so the body can excrete it. Technically, I suppose, that makes me the butt and the colon. Nevertheless, what I do is an important part of a Christian woman's life. Every woman's life, really. I help manage all those negative things that happen in our lives so we can get rid of it once and for all. Those things may include- fat, frustration, fear, failures, and faults- and together you and I are able to achieve freedom.
No one likes to admit that they poop. But everyone does. (But not everyone does it behind their stepdad’s SUV in the snow- that one is all mine!) The head doesn’t want to think about it, but the butt- it embraces all the crap and takes care of it. It has to go through some groaning, but pretty soon all the toxins and bacteria that could harm this beautiful body land where they belong.
And that, folks, is who I am as a daughter of the King. I’m His butt. The butt of all the jokes, the one part no one likes to embrace but everyone needs.
Which explains a whole bunch about why I am the way I am.
Yesterday, I tried to repost a link to Big Game Day with Charlie on Facebook, and made a shocking discovery. Someone had reported the link as containing abusive content. (1 out of 10,337 means I am 99.7% approved!) But- knowing what I know about my intentions, and remembering that girl who had spent weeks in the women’s shelter recovering from real abuse, I was hurt. Deeply hurt that someone would find my words out of line.
For the record, I am going to draw that line right now in the preverbal sand. This blog is used as an outlet for 4 important things.
A. To make women everywhere realize that the things that happen to them- in life, both public and private- happen to other women too. Even if they don’t talk about it.
B. To help those who struggle with weight in a way that I needed myself but could never find out there. With honesty and love and support- and a wicked funny story.
C. To make people throw back their heads in laughter. This is essential, because when our heads are thrown back in laughter- we can see the face of God like we never have before.
D. To show the world that not every Christian is a total stick in the judgmental mud, and that we can be kind, humorous, and REAL.
I want others to know that I only have lost the weight- and dealt with an often crappy life, for that matter- because I was clinging to Jesus. Clinging, because it wasn’t good enough to hold His hand only on Sundays and Wednesdays or at the church potluck. I had to have Him every moment of every day. Still do, in fact, so I cling.
I took off the mask that everyone wears- Christian or not- and showed the world what real living was like. I have shown them above all that God has a sense of humor. We were made in His image so that means He has a sense of humor. And a butt. We get through the awful things in life when we can laugh about them. And if my crazy “black, white, and red all over” story did the job (and in my opinion it did), then I’m totally fine with that.
To the person who reported my link as abusive- I’m sorry that you were offended. But I have been set on this path because no one else would touch people’s hearts in this manner (which is the real Charlie living life forgiven, free, and full of hope). It’s exactly what they need. Life with a refreshing joy. Joy that can’t be contained. Joy that explodes like a bad case of the trots. Joy that may be messy, but it sure is fun!
I hope that you find that joy in your life, because I don’t know if you have it. Yet I will remind you that joy is not optional. It’s a Biblical command. 1st Thessalonians 5:16 is a short verse. It says “Be joyful always.” Not TRY to be joyful, but BE joyful. I’m just following the commands set before me day after day, and feel compelled to share it here on this blog. It is optional, however, for you to read my blog. Thank you for being the sound voice of reason, but don't be offended if I don't change a thing to try to please you. I'm worried about pleasing my King, and doing what He has gifted me to do- so kindly let me do my job and be the butt. I don’t mind, really! I kinda like it down here.
It’s never lonely at the bottom!
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU READERS FOR YOUR UNDYING SUPPORT!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
tales of the cupcake part one
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