Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hero

The theme of needing/wanting a hero has come up in my words before.  More than once even.  I have been on a search for a hero my whole life, but I have begun to realize that the elusive hero isn't going to come.

I am heading off to a women's retreat with my church this weekend.  To tell you the truth, a big part of me wishes that I weren't.  I have been fighting myself about going since they began talking about it.  It is not your  typical retreat, they call it Encounter.  We are going to encounter God.  There are actually quite a few rules attached with going.  Rules that make this rebellious heart want to break them all.  I haven't even left yet and I already feel fenced in, corralled. 

On Wednesday night we had a pre-retreat meeting to discuss what to bring, what not to bring, and what to expect.  My group leader talked about how if we are open to Him we will grow so close with God this weekend.  Can I tell you how much I wanted to run right then.  Intimacy with God, should be every Christian's dream right?  Nope, not me.  Not even with God. 

I mock myself a little about this, because hello! this is God we are talking about Karmen.  He already knows every intimate detail that there is to know about me, He is not the one who is going to be learning anything new.   Since I knew this, I know it is not God knowing me that I fear as much as it is knowing what it will unlock inside of me.

Our group leader spoke of how as we go through life we pick up rocks and garbage along the way that we shove in our packs as we go.  This weekend she said is designed to help us unpack a lot of that stuff. 

Part of me wants that more than you can imagine, but another part of me is very afraid of holding those rocks in my hand.  There is a well spring of anger attached to those rocks and I think if I pick them up that I am just as likely as not to start hurtling those rocks at God like a child throwing a temper tantrum and there is no telling who or what might get caught in the cross fire.

You are probably wondering what all of this has to do with "Hero".  I don't know, other than maybe I am still looking for one.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shall the charitable, steadfast daughter be excused?

I am sick.  I have been sick since Friday.  My daughter stayed home from school on Monday to care for me and her siblings, so that I could stay in bed.  The following is the note that I wrote to hopefully excuse her absence from school. She will take it in tomorrow. 

In case it was hard to read here is the text typed out:

28th day of January, 2014

It was the year of our Lord, two thousand and fourteen in the month of cold and gloom also known as January, when our home was plagued by a sickness of the most heinous kind.  A sickness that made my mother's throat sound as if the hounds of hell themselves were barking betwixt her dry parched lips.  This sickness laid her weary and worn upon her bed sheets.  I, the steadfast daughter, stayed home on the day of the 27th in order to care for my sick stricken mother with nary a thought to my own health.  It is in this charitous * state of being that I regrettably had to miss a day at this most notable of educational institutions.  If it so pleases the institution I humbly request that my absence be excused. 

Katherine Madan
the charitable steadfast daughter

Along with my mother (and note writer),
Karmen Madan
the mother who suffers the plague like coughing sickness

*Yes, I know that charitous is not a word, but it sounds good and really it should be a word. 

Soon to be published, "Karmen's dictionary of made of words that sound good and really should be words."

okay, so not really soon to be published, but again it should be.  =)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

I wrote this today in response to my friend's blog post in her comments section.  It just spilled out of me.  I share it with you, because as much as it was for her it is also for you.  The you who wonders why you bother to write.  The you who is knee deep in mess and hurt or maybe even so deep in it that you feel as though you are drowning and the mess and the hurt is gurgling up inside of your throat.  The you whose life is going well and good and you share from that space of joy and happiness.  The you who isn't sure that what you write really means all that much.  It is for all of you, because all of you have a story.  All of us have a story.  Sharing your story makes my life better.

In response to Why Words Matter 

I have been pondering the why a lot as well. My why is because the words need spilling. I fill and I fill and they need a place to empty out to. It is also to know I am not alone and to let others know the same. It is one thing to tell the story of from here to there tied up neatly in a bow, but it is quite another to tell the story of the getting to the there; the being in the midst of it deep and never fully knowing if there is even a place, but hoping that it is and that you will find it.

It is a deep bravery I think to tell this story, because it is now and in the moment. It is an opening of all that is raw and holy and messy and sinful and pouring it out like an offering upon an alter. Your writing is a place where other cave dwellers can meet for community around the bon fire of your words and find acceptance and grace and to say "Yes, somewhere, someday we will come to the mouth of the cave and find the light shining beautiful into our blinking eyes."

It is a place where those outside the cave can say "We are out here and we will wait for you, it exists, this there is real and when you make it we will rejoice along with you for the journey."

Oh friend how I love you and your words and your blinking in the light of there and for the days of caves and darkness and for being a bon fire for others like me to warm ourselves around.

You are cherished friend.

Keep sharing your words fellow bloggers.  Keep being a warm fire for others of us to warm ourselves with.  If you are in a cave of depression, shame, loneliness, anger, hurt, or any other hard thing, keep sharing.  If you are outside the cave taking in the wonders of light keep on sharing.  All of your words, all of your stories, they encourage me. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

And the story grows

Somewhere along the way I must have left it behind.   It wasn't until someone mentioned  it in their writing  that I even noticed it was missing.  As I read their words I expected it to rise up and pull at the waters in my eyes and dig at my mind, but it wasn't there. 

I took a mental note of the year; there had been no clearly marked line, no parting of a sea where I walked through and it was left to wash away.  Never the less, it wasn't there.  Shame had left and I hadn't even noticed. 

I wrote last about how I don't have a word or a theme for this year.  I still don't, but as I was thinking over my last year I decided that if I were to put a word over it like an umbrella to cover all it contained then that word would have to be MOVING. 

Tonight during our Wednesday night service our Pastor started off by asking us to answer this question in groups of 4 -5 : Why did Jesus come to earth?

There are lots of answers to this question. 

Our group of 4 came up with these reasons: 1. To pay for our sins  2. To die on the cross 3.  To heal the sick, the hurting, and the lost 4. To show us God 5. To fulfill the prophesies.

I am sure that there are many more answers to that question.  The particular answer that the pastor preached on was that He came to heal the sick and the hurting.  His scripture reference was Luke 4: 18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." ESV

His  message when condensed down to its most basic form was that we are all broken, lost, and hurting people who need Jesus, because you don't go through this world unscathed. 

Since Adam and Eve ate the fruit way back in the beginning we have all been hurting and in need of a healing and a covering from God. 

When he talked about the nakedness of Adam and Eve it reminded me of a blog I wrote way back in the beginning of my blogging.  (If interested you can click on the Adam and Eve link above to read it.)  Remembering it made me go back and take a look at it, re-read it, re-ponder where I was when I wrote it and where I am now. 

I wrote in there about God's covering and how Christ's sacrifice covered me where I couldn't.  When I wrote those words I was in the deepest depression I had ever been in.  A depression so deep I wasn't sure I would make it out alive.  (This is not an exaggeration.)  After that depression eased with the help of medication I went from pondering God's provision to being a very prodigally prodigal child.

When I came to my own realization that God's provision was better than the pig slop I was feasting in I felt like the most mangerish manger person to ever return home.  

I had essentially said to God, "Forget your fancy coverings you have given me I am going to go get me some forbidden fruit! You aren't cutting it." 

Talk about feeling naked when I came walking back down that road to Him. 

I felt completely EXPOSED and fruit stained. 

(And here is a little something extra, a little something that God just showed me, cuz He is really cool like that: Even when I was feasting on pig slop and forbidden fruit God still had me covered..... because God will never leave me nor forsake me..... He loves me and covers me despite my anger and confusion, because He knows where and who I am.  This is not to advocate sin.  This is not to say once saved always saved, this is just to say that God is awesome and graceful and He knows His children and when they are lost and hurting He doesn't give up on them.)

I hid from humanity for a long while after that.  I felt so stained and dirty and unacceptable that even though I had God's covering I couldn't forgive myself and didn't see how anyone else would be able to accept me as well. 

Before moving to Groton I wrote about how  we were moving, but God was too  .  Little did I know then how much He was and how He was orchestrating this move to Groton to bring healing back into my life and draw me back into humanity and out of my shame. 

There is so much to this story that keeps unfolding and growing and deepening, but this is where it will end for now. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The stranger knocking at my door: 2014

     We are heading into our second full week of the New Year.  A lot of fellow bloggers are choosing their word for the year.  It seems as though most everyone has swept out the old year and made themselves ready for the new.  New Year's always seems to bring out anticipation and excitement in most people.  A mentality of:

Out with the old and in with the new!

Most years I do not anticipate the forward momentum of time with excitement.  If anything I tend to feel like time is standing on the outside of the door about to turn the handle and I am on the other side holding that door closed with all my might. 

There is no peep hole into time.  No looking through to see what it is that will be coming into your life. 

When I was in High School youth group my favorite youth leader once asked us what our biggest fears were in life.  My answer was the future.  None of my peers or leaders seemed to understand that answer.

At the time I feared never finding love.  I feared failing at life.  I feared life never really getting better than what it was. 

I did not fear the present I was living in, I feared the unknown that I was heading into.

That was almost a quarter of a century ago that I spoke my fears out in that church basement. Not much has changed.  Almost every new year I get a bit anxious as the marking of time is about to tick over; like a school girl on Sunday night before a new week of school. 

The present is like my home.  I know where things are.  I know who is and isn't inside it's walls. 

The future is like the stranger knocking at the door in the night with no way to tell who it is or what it brings.

Our church, much like my fellow bloggers, has chosen words to claim over this new year.  They revealed them in church today.  The words that they chose are "ALL IN!" 

Seaport Community Church

As they posted this picture I leaned over to my husband and whispered that I would be the person clinging to the rocks trying not to fall off (If that person were actually in that picture.)

The image speaks to me.  I am not so sure about the verse yet. 

Maybe because my life has meant so little to me over the years.  Or because of all the times I have asked God to "please just take my life", as I have stood at the door of time desperately trying to keep it shut.  But then there are those three little words in the verse that stick and catch: "for My sake". 

See, I have always been willing to give up my life for my own sake, because I fear.  How readily have I been willing to hand it over for His sake? 

Personally, I don't have a word to place over this year or a theme in which to categorize 2014 under. Instead I will loosen the grip to my front door and see what lies outside for His sake and not hold it closed so tightly for my own sake.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Waiting for answers: an update after my CAT scan

I am still waiting.  For answers that is.  I received the results from the CAT scan and they were inconclusive.  The lump they were scanning for didn't show up, so my ENT thinks my bone grew differently than the same bone on the other side.  It did show the lumpy lymph node in my neck and the nodule in my thyroid. 

My ENT sent me to get a biopsy of both of those.  I did that on New Year's Eve (yes, I really know how to party people!)  They took three fine needle biopsies on each area with an ultrasound assist.  The lymph node didn't seem to mind too much and had minimal swelling after.  The thyroid, on the other hand, was super angry about the whole ordeal and swelled up quite a bit and voiced its anger for about 48 hours afterwards. 

Between the CAT scan and the biopsies I also saw my regular doctor and he ran a series of blood tests.  I am still waiting to hear back about any of those results along with the biopsy results. 

It is a strange place to be when your body has been wreaking havoc and throwing parties (that you haven't authorized) off and on for the last three years.

Hearing that something is wrong, anything is wrong, would be welcome.  Hearing that nothing is wrong just makes you feel crazy. 

Because I went through such a severe depression three years ago I feel like the doctors just figured that it was the cause of my medical issues.  I have told myself and my brain many times that if it is my brain causing all of this turmoil that it could kindly stop now. 

It is a strange place to be when you are jealous of others who go to the doctor and get diagnosed with something. 

You are grateful in a way that they can find "nothing" is wrong, but you live in this juxtaposed position of knowing that something is wrong even if it isn't showing up.

It seems that juxtaposed is a position that I live in many aspects of my life. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Legend Of Split Foot

Growing up our family had a fun little tradition called Split Foot who brings some extra candy and a little gift on New Year's Eve.  I believe the tradition started with my Grandfather or Great Grandfather.  Back in 2009 I wrote this story to go with our tradition.  I hope you enjoy it.  Our family has always loved Split Foot.  Feel free to incorporate it into your traditions as well if you like. 


A long time ago, before your Great-Great Grandfather was a small boy, a reindeer was born. This reindeer just happened to be born in the North Pole and Santa planned for him to be a part of his sleigh team that delivered toys to all the children on Christmas Eve. There was just one problem though, this cute little reindeer was born different than all the other reindeer. He was born with a big split in his hoof, which is how he got the name Split Foot. Santa had all his best vetrinarians look at Split Foot's hoof and they all agreed, there was nothing that could be done. Split Foot would always be different from the other reindeer and would never be fast enough to help deliver presents on Christmas Eve.

Split Foot grew up and would help Santa get ready for Christmas Eve by taking presents from the workshop to the wrapping house, and from the wrapping house to the delivery barn. He loved that he could help Santa in those small ways, but always wished that someday he would get a chance to deliver those presents to little boys and girls around the world. Little did he know that day would come sooner than he thought.

Christmas Eve was always a busy night with elves and reindeer hurriedly rushing about, but this particular year was even busier than most, because Santa's nice list was exceptionally long. Split Foot watched longingly as the sleigh team donned their best bells and harnesses. He tried not to be sad as he watched them fly away that night. As he was turning to head home he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Oh no, a pile of presents and candy had been left over in the corner, Santa had forgotten them! Split Foot knew it was too late to call Santa back to get them, something had to be done and he had to do it. It was then that Split Foot knew his time had come to deliver presents. As fast as he could he loaded those presents and candy onto a delivery sleigh and set off into the night sky to deliver them. He knew he would never catch up to Santa, but he would do his best and even if they got there late it was better than them not getting there at all.

Split Foot flew as fast and as hard as he could. On New Year's Eve he made it to the houses that had been forgotten and when the children woke up on New Year's Day they found their missing present and candy from Santa waiting for them on the fireplace. Every year since then Split Foot has always found a few presents and candy that Santa forgot to put in the sleigh and delivers them on New Year's Eve. Maybe this year you will be one of the lucky children that finds a delivery from Split Foot.
Since we no longer have a fire place Split Foot left ours on the stairs.