I’m a Christian and I Swear…Occasionally.

I’m a Christian and I Swear…Occasionally. September 30, 2013

I swear now.  I haven’t always swore.  I started swearing more -in jest- when I started Seminary and met a more liberal Christian than I’d been used to. But it’s been the past two years that kicked it up a notch.  It  wasn’t a big deal until I started being more free with my choice words online.  Today, I’m linking up with Bethany Suckrow’s Explicit Realities, Explicit Language post about how she was confronted on behalf of my language.

“That’s not how a good Christian girl talks,” her friend says.

The next day when I saw the comment below on a post detailing my childhood sexual abuse my heart sunk.

Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 1.40.52 PM

Joy was one of several who jumped in, thankfully.

On one level I understand this.  The post had 6 swear words.  It’s forward, blunt, jarring.  When I say a man looks at me like he “wants to f*ck me,” that’s exactly what I mean.  They certainly aren’t communicating “I’d like to make love to you,” or “sex would be fun!”  Some of my language was simply reporter language.  Some it was ironical.  When I say an 8 yr. old gives a “damn good blow job,” I’m trying to emphasize the sadness of that reality not only for me but child sex slaves around the world.  When I say, “his nasty ass has nothing to do with me,” I’m trying to communicate how defensive I MUST be FOR MYSELF otherwise I may continue to welcome unsolicited attempts to belittle me through my sexuality.

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I didn’t grow up swearing though I grew up in a swearing household.  My brother, an emotionally stunted rageaholic was always angry, always awful.  He swore ALL THE TIME -every other word.  Ma swore in anger occasionally but for the most part no one told me not to, so I didn’t.  Anything really, to set myself apart from my blond-haired, blue-eyed step brother.

In my somewhat sheltered friendship circle before I married young, most of my peers felt similarly. None of us swore.  Not even my out-of-control friends swore.  Not even when I took 8 months and went CUH-RAZY at 19 did I add swearing to my list of Stuff To Do Wrong in 8 Months.

Fast forward to 2003, one of my Besties went through a traumatic, life-altering ordeal and she came out with a mouth.  It was so ugh.  So ‘ungodly’ of her.  I was, like,  so holy-roller about it.  I remember once pridefully telling her she didn’t ‘sound as intelligent’ as she used to.   I was a jerk.  Eventually her life stabilized and her days of cussing like a sailor were reduced to a moderate amount while I continued my regular life pace of one swear word per year.

But then 2 years ago.

An old friend came back into my life who swore a lot. I followed suit.  At first, it may have been a slight case of regular old peer pressure.  It was fun and hilarious to swear together, and felt an appropriate way to release a need to “live on the edge” without the awful consequences.  Somewhere along the line it became something else entirely.

Swearing began to have a beat-the-pillow effect for my brain.  Marriage in shambles.  I’d lost two people. I was depressed, overwhelmed. I had a crying infant attached to my friggin’ hip.  I felt the weight of poor financial choices.  I felt very, very, very trapped in my circumstances.  Caged animal trapped.  I was, after all, the godly woman, the gifted Minister, the engaging preacher, the Seminarian in pursuit of the Mastering of Divinity, the one with all of the college students depending on me.  All of it, felt more of a burden than a gift.

I had no idea how to say I was angry about any of it.  I felt myself drawn to people who could say it for me.  People like Tupac.

so many tears

I leaned towards Tupac because he was always able to communicate how angry he was about the the hardships of inner city life, red-lines, gentrification and injustice.  Only now, I related to the soundtrack of my youth in a different way.  This time, that sense of HELPLESSNESS drew me in not only for my brotha’s but for ME.

One morning, in early 2012, on a long drive to a staff meeting, I listened to Tupac’s So Many Tears over and over and over and over again.  And then I cried on and off for about 4 hrs:  how the hell did I get here?  I  was a very hot, suicidal mess. 

Swearing became an outlet for the bottleneck.  When the factors of life shoved and pushed themselves into one small window of my existence I learned to cope.  I couldn’t escape the nightmare of trying to save a marriage, leaving Ministry, trying to find and redefine my sense of identity in the midst of that, postpartum depression and this whole other story which I can’t share yet because it’s coming out in this book (<–insert shameless plug here).  Again, bottleneck.  Anger.  Swearing.

////

Am I a wee bit defensive and protective over swearing? Really?  Well yeah.  In some bizarre way it actually became a tremendous gift for me.

Would you rather me put my finger down my throat -something I’ve never done to deal with my anxiety and anger?

Would you rather me starve myself?  Something I’ve never done intentionally.

Would you rather me pick up a drink each night and soothe myself that way?  Something I’ve never turned to.

Would you rather me run out and screw some random dudes?

Would you rather me keep my sin private and fixate on porn for a little while again??

What would YOU rather I do when I’m coping?  What coping mechanism would make YOU happy for me?  It’s not a threat, i.e. ” I’m going to do one or the other!”  This is reality.  People cope.  Every day, hurting people just like me, are facing rejection, depression, anxiety, divorces, losing children, mourning the losses, facing the brutal, awful reality of being a human being and they LEARN TO COPE.

I, Grace Biskie have to cope somehow.  I follow Jesus and I cope. ALL at the SAME TIME!

Thankfully, I have found a way to cope in the last few years in this unexpected, mildly life-giving source of healthy anger. I am using choice language to deal with the jaded, jaded, jaded parts of my soul still figuring out how to live and breathe in this world as the daughter of someone who’s father abused them.

Of course, I haven’t been the perfect picture of harnessing anger for healing.  At times I’ve been rageaholic. I pick myself up, apologize, go back to Therapy, cry, pray, face myself, face my pain, face another day.  But know this, I don’t give myself over to my demons.  I don’t throw up my hands and give up.  I don’t call myself a “swearer.” I’m not resigned to a life of anger swears.

You don’t know that about me though.  You might think  I’m trying to be trendy or cool or millennial or whatevs.  No Dahling.  No.  I only follow fashion trends, I make my own cool, and as a Gen-X’er I struggle with millenialist mindsets.  No.  It’s likely you don’t know me, don’t know why, but I hope that you’ll choose to love me the way I am.

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I know it’s not convenient for anyone to think of me as merely ‘that chick with issues.’  I certainly don’t want someone’s first thought to be, “oh, she’s just that sexual abuse victim,” or even “oh, she’s just that sexual abuse survivor.” There’s nothing convenient about remembering why folks are coping badly or how folks are coping badly with the losses and heartbreak they are facing.

May I suggest something? Don’t.  Don’t wonder, don’t pontificate, don’t judge and for God’s sake don’t leave belittling comments about how YOU THINK someone is dealing with their tragedy ALL WRONG.

It’s not convenient to bite your tongue, but it’s kind.  It’s not convenient for me either as a sexual abuse survivor.  I’m doing the very best I can.

“That’s not how a good Christian girl talks.”

Maybe I’m not going to be a very good christian girl in your opinion.  Maybe I’m okay with that.  Maybe it’s not me, maybe it’s you.  Maybe you never seen a different version of what A Good Christian Girl is.  Maybe you’ve never seen ‘A Good Christian Girl’ face the worst version of herself and win.  Maybe you don’t know what it’s like to go into a war and make it out alive.  What war does to people is violent, is angry.   My childhood was war.  You don’t get to tell me how to manage my PTSD.  I’m sorry, y’all but you don’t.  My trusted, invited inner circle does.  No one else.

////

Jesus is my life.  Jesus is my everything.  Jesus is my all in all.  ALL MY EGGS are in the Jesus basket.  I have no other eggs, no other baskets.  Everything about me lives and breathes and moves and longs for Jesus.  I long to live life in the presence of God, faithful to the work that He’s given me.  What I want you to know about why I swear, in light of allegiance to my faith is this:

I’m trying to fucking survive. That’s all I can say.  That’s all I can tell you.  I am just trying to fucking survive.

And by survive, I mean just what you think: not kill myself, hold a steady job, not cheat, not become a drunk or crazy-head (crack-head, meth-head, any-head) or get a divorce or be evil to my kids or give up on life or take off.  Unless you’ve faced the war I have, the trauma I have, these demons or similar temptations you don’t know what the hell I’m facing and I don’t give you permission nor entrance into my life if you are unwilling to understand nor empathize.  If you are worried about me, don’t.  I have an inner circle.  I have a therapist.  I have Jesus.  And thankfully, antidepressants.

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I hope one day I won’t swear -in anger or otherwise. I hope one day, I will be completely resolved in a place of calm, safety and security.  I’ll feel like I have ALL the reserves to handle my life in ways that don’t include emotional combustion.  But for now, shit has fell apart. Because of Jesus, I get up every day and I face every challenge, every lie, every temptation.  Because of Jesus, I’m still married even though these pain-filled, ridiculously unstable years of having young children have threatened to ruin my sanity.

People just like me are facing hard situations, hard marriages, hard parenting dynamics, addictions and they CHOOSE to stay in it.  We CHOOSE to keep facing our inner & outer demons.  We CHOOSE integrity and we CHOOSE vulnerability and we CHOOSE hope and sometimes we even choose love.  And when we CHOOSE to wake up each day and face the grime that may have accumulated under the rug for 20 yrs. we cannot be expected to throw on some Maybelline and expect that shit to look pretty.

By swearing…occasionally, I know I’m going to lose people, I know I’m going to anger people, I know I”m going to disappoint people. I want to care more than I do.  Yet, I have no reserves for negotiation.

I cannot handle that right now.

I CANNOT. Handle. That. Right. Now.

If your not with me on this life journey then don’t be.  If you can’t accept me the way am -struggles and all- then don’t bother.  When I’m expending all my mental and emotional energy just trying to survive the horror that is life and marriage and parenting and recovery do you think I have time for those who lack empathy and tact?

You can kick people while their laying on the ground and you might feel good about yourself for a moment, but it’s not kind.  It doesn’t help.  You can be confused, that’s fine.  Then you need to ask.  But you don’t get to be my judge.  You can try, but I can assure you, I will kick you out of my life.

////

I swear now.  I don’t hide.  I’ve never hid from my issues or mistakes. I don’t pretend to be someone I not.   It’s never benefitted me to remain silent.

This is where I’m at, I’m not always proud of it but I work to accept myself -struggles and all.  You can choose to accept folks where they are or not.  It’s your choice.  I’m going to be here trying to get better, pursuing health no matter what.  Whether or not you get to walk alongside the beauty of God’s healing in mine or others’ lives is entirely up to you.

I hope you’ll CHOOSE love, CHOOSE grace.

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  • Natalie Hart

    I really enjoyed this. I am a Christian who occasionally swears, less occasionally as my children are teen/tween and I don’t bother to censor myself as much. In fact, I said the f-word in front of a minister just last night. If one were to confront me about it, I’d probably blame being Canadian. But one thing in your piece struck me: the part about being/not being a “nice Christian girl.” I’ve done a lot of reading in the Old Testament in the last few years, and one strong takeaway from that is that God is no respecter of cultural norms, even of religious cultural norms. Person after person after person who “shouldn’t” be the one God lifts up (younger sons, prostitutes, strong men who visit prostitutes, slaves, tricksters, women), is precisely the one who God singles out and who we now see as heros of the faith. I’m glad you wrote this piece.

  • Americas Next Top Mommy

    Grace, I pray for you. I cannot possibly understand what you’ve suffered in your life but what I do know is that you are still hurting very much and I just hate that. It makes me want to cry that a beautiful, loved and redeemed treasure of God is in pain. I pray that God may place his healing hands over you and bring you an overwhelming peace in your life. I pray for blinders so that you can only see Him. I pray for the quenching waters of forgiveness to drown out the fires of anger. I so wish that you could see yourself from my perspective and from God’s; gifted, lovely, priceless and perfect and blessed beyond measure. I think it would amaze you.

    • Thank you so much for this lovely gift of a paragraph here. It took me awhile to process it… sometimes wanting not to be identified as “hurting” or “suffering” sometimes thinking “who am I kidding, I’m a mess,” sometimes wanting to pretend I have it all together or even fooling myself that I DO have it all together. In either case, yes, it’s true & I do need people and prayers and healing and all of those good things from the LORD that you spoke of —THANK YOU! I will reflect more on this and let it balm over the open wounds of today. xoxo

  • mongupp

    Love u Grace 🙂

  • Bethany Bohlen

    With you 100%. Much love.

  • While we’re idealogically in very different places, I love this piece. Love it. LOVE it. Swearing started for me while I was still a Christian. There simply weren’t Christian words to describe the horror & rage & confusion I felt over so many betrayals, big and small. Profanity gave me the force of language I needed to name the evil, shine light in the darkness that seemed like it was going to devour me whole.

    Unless you’ve faced the war I have, the trauma I have, these demons or similar temptations you don’t know what the hell I’m facing and I don’t give you permission nor entrance into my life if you are unwilling to understand nor empathize.

    ^^ This just may be my mantra for the rest of my life. Thank you for the words, and the strength of standing up for yourself so publicly. I so appreciate it.

    • “There simply weren’t Christian words to describe the horror & rage & confusion I felt over so many betrayals, big and small. Profanity gave me the force of language I needed to name the evil, shine light in the darkness that seemed like it was going to devour me whole.”

      WOW, Dani. Just wow. You said in two sentences what it took me a whole post to try and explain. I’m actually going to go put a link to your comment in my post right now.

    • That makes me so happy, Dani. It can be applied in so many ways right? Honestly, I think a part of me is applying to other things when I wrote it as well. I’m just not keeping war-bringers around anymore. bottom line. Thanks for being a fellow warrior & encouraging me today. I have wanted to delete this post no less than 5 times today. seriously.

  • mindylou213

    I love this Grace. You mentioned your friend who went through an ordeal and came out with a mouth–that’s me after this past year. I never did a lot of swearing, but after this last year I find myself swearing in my head all the time, and with my mouth much more often than I used to.
    It really does somehow relieve some pressure that otherwise might build up into something way worse.

    Curse words have even become part of my prayers. And you know what? I think God can handle it. I don’t think He’s judging me because I’m choosing to use language that some find offensive to describe how I’m feeling and to describe the world around me. Sometimes the world around me is offensive–both to me and to God. The Psalms are full of honest, offensive prayers.

    • Oh my goodness, yes!! It’s crazy how it just finds itself in our prayers…living there, deep within us. Thankyou for sharing that!

  • So, so good. So powerful.

  • Tina Robinson

    I was angry when I read that demeaning comment on your last post, and I was thrilled that so many jumped to your defense. I wanted to do the same, but I became distressed that the comments became more about him and less about your pain and that made me angrier. Then I couldn’t comment, because I was taken back to those days of my abuse always turning into a big to do about “him” and comforting “him” and walking on eggshells around “him” and never saying anything to upset “him”… so my pain and my hurt and my words were always relegated to the background. There was never anything said or anything done about the pain he was causing me until I was strong enough to confront “him” years later.

    Abuse IS ugly. Every single word you said deserved to be there. What you experienced in your life can not be less “filthied” up to satisfy the Pharisees of the world. Jesus would take a cuss word over a Pharisaic attitude any day.

  • Erica

    Because of Jesus….. Enough said!! You really don’t need to explain to anyone how or why you cope!! Like I always say, keep telling YOUR story the way YOU want to tell it. I don’t think you realize how helpful it is to other people to keep it real & how much more powerful you are getting your point across. No apologies needed!

  • Sarah Heroman

    “I, Grace Biskie have to cope somehow. I follow Jesus and I cope. ALL at the SAME TIME!” Sister, you just said a mouthful. Thanks.

  • Laura G

    Grace, I know a lot of folks. And you may not be a good Christian girl, but you are absolutely a Great Christian Woman – in the best and truest definitions of those words. Great. Christian. Woman.

  • Jonnelle

    Did anyone feel that the phrase “good Christian girl” had the same tonality as “you’re a good girl” used by Robin Thicke in ‘Blurred Lines?’

    You know – the same way an abuser or someone in power wants to push someone else down and keep them subjected or in place.

    It is NEVER said in a spirit of love or teaching as one Christian to another – to lift them up in the Lord.

  • Grace, I totally get it. The f-bomb and I became absolute besties when I had no other way to deal with the anger that swelled out of my trauma. Being able to scream that word or use it in every conceivable way (it’s so grammatically versatile!) protected me from expressing my anger in a way that would have been infinitely more harmful. I could get it out of my system with a word rather than any number of far worse life choices. So I 100% support your right to use the vocabulary that you need to use. I get it, I support it, I love it, and I love you! Keep on keeping on. 🙂

  • Aaron K

    While I don’t swear and am pretty sure I would never make a habit of it (too many filters hardwired in my brain/mouth connectors) – I am pretty sure that I’ve said words like “dangit” or merely let out loud grunts with the same attitude and aggravation that someone else expresses when they swear. Both “dangit” and “dammit” are expressed with the same heart motivation – but one is more Christianly acceptable. I would hope that people who habitually say “dangit” or grunt out of anger flareups would realize (like Grace has illustrated) that this practice could be symptomatic of larger issues beneath the surface. Just because your words might be more “polished,” doesn’t mean you can ignore potential deep down issues you need Jesus to care for. (I’m talking to myself too).

    • That makes a lot of sense, Aaron! Good stuff to think about!

  • Tracy Goble

    Oh Grace…you live your name!! “…for when I am weak, then HE is strong!!” You so glorify the Lord and I want you to know I’m cheering you on sister!!! We all have something to recover from, and when you write at this level, we all get a chance to do some personal searching. Praying for you today, and thanks for the raw honesty. That is what I truly love about you. And yes, you are a GREAT Christian girl, and a princess of the King of Kings!!!

  • Mya

    I am new to your site (found it through Sarah Bessey’s blog), and I am going to tell you something. I don’t care what anyone says about your words. Your words were life to my soul today – believe it or not. You told the truth and tears came to this woman’s eyes. I have a problem with swearing too but Jesus doesn’t have a problem with me and He doesn’t have a problem with you. People will always have a problem with you and what you say and how you feel and if you are being “politically” and “religiously” correct. But no one knows what Jesus’ Blood daily covers but you. He is our Savior every day, even when we are still working out our salvation (as Paul told us to do) and walking out our deliverances (whatever they may be).

    I have been hated on for many of the same reasons you highlighted in your post. To tell you the truth, I thought I didn’t care but deep down I just wanted people to understand me in the midst of my imperfections and hurt and anger and rage, I never let go of Jesus and I cling to the Cross. I wanted people to love me despite my imperfections, and you know what? My faith is more solid because they don’t. My faith is more solid because I cling to that Savior that died for me and rose for me and intercedes for me every second of every day. I run to Him because I can’t run to them.

    You need to tell your story however you need to tell it. The day will come when you move beyond the words that have to be pushed out of your soul so your spirit can be free. But for now, tell the truth from where you stand so people like me can be set free.

    • Thank you, Mya! I am so glad to know that my words made a difference for you!!! I am so encouraged!!! Here, here to freedom!!!

  • Grace, I was working and couldn’t comment on my work computer so I had to make my way to a computer from where I could comment! I absolutely love your realness, your openness, and the rawness in which you share your story! I can relate to losing followers and having people look at you funny because of the way in which you share your story. I recently went at it on my blog about my husband’s lying to me about pornography and was told by a “minister” in my family that I was wrong, playing a victim, and I should have kept my mouth shut about it for a while before telling my story as I did when I shared my rape story.

    There are so many contradictions and/or beliefs about how a Christian should act, but I find it absolutely amazing, rewarding, and encouraging when rebels like us press forward with sharing and exposing realities in which we are faced, even as Christians. People are curious, people want to know (even if it is just a few) the true realities Christians live and we turn people away with “fakeness”. So I want to applaud you for not giving in to the beliefs and judgmental attitudes of the self righteous. Your story is helping people, even if “some” don’t like it. They’ll get over it.

    • Thank you so much for your support, Latoya! It means a lot!!!!

  • guest

    Are you making war against the sin of coarse talk or giving yourself permission to keep it in-tact in a corner? Do you see growth in holiness in this area (less and less coarse talk if you look back at the last month, 3 months, year)?

    • Joey Monson

      Do you have a relationship with Grace? My guess is no. My guess is that you have no intentions of being there for her, being a confidant to her, or consoling her when she’s at her wits end. You aren’t even willing to give us your real identity. So why are you asking her what she ‘intends’ to do? Do you really care, Anonymous Person? I’ll answer that: No. No you don’t. You have no interest other than judgement, and in my opinion, that says something about you, not her.

      • 12333@hotmail.com

        Ephesians 5:4 “Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving”

        This verse is not saying that believers will never curse, but according to God’s promise, He will carry on His work in us unto completion at the day of Christ Jesus. This means that if we have a problem with obscene language, God will refine our hearts and help us root it out (since we clearly see in Eph. 5:4 that it is sin). The question is: are WE willing to let Him work in us.

        • Joey Monson

          And I get that. Believe me, I do. And I’m quite certain that Grace does, as well. What I’m saying is that it’s not a complete stranger’s place to tell her that. Clearly they aren’t saying it out of love, because they don’t know her let alone love her. Instead of passing judgement (which is what the original comment I responded to was), just love, feel, and pray for people. We shouldn’t feel the need to point out the sins of others if we have no relationship with them. Period. To do so isn’t helpful and it isn’t for them…it’s for you.

    • I did state that I hope I won’t always swear & that one day my healing will be complete. I do not know how long that will take, but I am on a journey towards healing. there is no permission being given at all, only reasons & hope for one day -maybe heaven- that I’ll be made new, fully new.

  • Logan81

    When I was coming to terms with my own sexual abuse, I frequently cussed at God. After all, He was the one who (in my eyes) allowed all of this to happen to me when I was way too young to understand what was going on, let alone defend myself. I called his good words “a load of shit” more times than I can count, and told more than one person to go fuck themselves when they said I “shouldn’t” be angry at God.

    The cool thing is, God met me there. In the middle of all my pain and rage, he sat there and took it. More than that, he even encouraged me to let it all out when I tried to show restraint. After all, how could he help me if I couldn’t even be honest with what was going on in my own head? Underneath “you screwed me over and I can never forgive that” was “you allowed me to be hurt and I don’t understand why.” Underneath “you were too impotent to help me” was “was I not worth saving?” I know (and am learning more about) the truth behind that now, but I never could’ve gotten there without letting out all the feelings of rage and betrayal I felt inside. After all, what good is any relationship if you can’t be 100% honest with each other?

    • Yeah, that’s what God does….he meets us right there no matter what… No height nor depth can separate us…

  • My friend Jennie just wrote a post about the difference between judging an act and judging a person. How one is okay (within in your church and own set of principles) and the other is just plain wrong. This reminds me of that. It’s so easy to look at the acts of another person and lay them against what we think is right or wrong. But that judgment is on our thoughts and beliefs. Not that persons. And even if we find their actions lacking, doesn’t mean we get to criticize the person that performed them. Besides. I don’t mind cursing. A good colorful emphasizer is sometimes just what’s needed.

    • Yes! Thank you! A “colorful emphasizer.” love it! =)

  • This is my first time reading a blog post from you. A friend sent me the link to post in a weekly wrap I do on my blog. The amount of transparency you show in this post is amazing and very courageous. I pray that God can continue to encourage your heart and strengthen you in deed and word.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Ryan! Appreciate the comment & the support!!

  • sharon autenrieth

    Thank you for this post, Grace. I’m a pastor, a middle aged “church lady”, but also someone struggling with depression and dealing in therapy with things I should have dealt with ages ago. One of the best early gifts my therapist gave me was the day I said, “I’m sorry, sometimes I want to swear,” and he replied, “Well, then, why don’t you just swear?” The “permission to speak freely”, especially about things that cause us anger and pain is incredibly powerful. There’s just no getting around the fact that some of what I’m contending with can only be described as f*cking awful sh*t.

    • Yep, Amen Sharon. There’s no way getting around it sometimes….and there should be *some* freedom in this…and for EVERYTHING there is such a time is this… a time to be angry and revolt and lambast and fight for survival. it won’t always be through swearing, sometimes. I know I won’t always swear, but I know I need this phase too. anyway, blessings to you!!! thanks for stopping in & commenting!

  • Miranda

    Thank you for your bluntness and honesty. I too am a Christian, regardless of what people may think of me…I am a Christian and I am flawed and imperfect. I cuss. Once or twice a year I get insanely drunk. I have been married and divorced twice. I suck with money and don’t usually have a dime to tithe. I go to church on the Sunday’s that I can get out of bed. I am bi-polar. I am loud and opinionated. I’ve been burned, abused and had my heart broken in many ways, by many people, many times. But, I’m still here and I am just me. And God loves me just the way that I am. That brings me peace. Nothing I can do can make him love me more…nothing I can do can make him love me less. Foul mouthed at times, he loves me none the less. Thank you for your posts, for reminding me that I’m not alone in the f*cked up life. Lol.

    P.S. My bestie and I have a favorite “cuss” ~F*ckSh*t~ all together, all one word, all at once. That one word covers it all 😉

  • Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. Not to compare war stories or be presumptuous, but having navigated through my own war zone, I empathize and understand how hard it can be to find expression adequate enough to articulate certain depths of depravity and pain. Since I was a kid my weapon of choice has been my tongue. Knowing that life and death are in the power of the tongue I have many times played god by choosing to use the power to encourage or destroy. I knew that words had power and being that I spent much of my early life feeling powerless I used them liberally. Overtime I discovered that the words I’d used for “power” had been given even more power over me. When I returned to God I was amazed at how “easy” it was for me to surrender drugs, alcohol, and partying; however, reining in my tongue was and is one of my greatest challenges. My ability to tame it has been an ongoing process due in no small part to the immeasurable Grace of God and the Words of God. When I don’t have the words to express, He gives me words…or better yet, He gives me His presence and reminds me that I don’t have to find the words…He knows me and my pain beyond what words can express.

    I understand that when describing the vileness or severity of something, substitutionary vocabulary can seem too sterile or lacking. However, the usage of course or profane language…or the use of any language released out of anger doesn’t keep me together; it’s actually a reminder of how “not together” I am and how desperately I need God to do so.

    I’m a worship leader and songwriter who spends at lot of time now trying to use words effectively to bring life to all and death to the things that need to die. As a person daily fighting to find words to bring life and freedom to the darkest of prisons and the most ghastly of circumstance, I urge you to not give “those words” that much credit or power over you. Please don’t stop searching for THE WORDS God will give you to express and expel. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but where some words can only help us “cope”, God’s words can unlock and bring true release. Your words are so stinking powerful and God has given you an amazing gift as a wordsmith. I pray you continue to get victory because as you do so will many more.

    I know I don’t “know” you personally, but your story and posts are so inspirational and challenging. It’s amazing how far your come. “Oh, the places you’ll go”.

  • Phil Bowling-Dyer

    I’ve not been cruising the internet lately for thoughts that feed my soul (just work and Netflix). I forgot how thoughtful, provocative, vulnerable, and insightful a writer you are. I’ll be back, Cuz…

  • steph

    I understand. I think being open and honest is much more honorable than pretending. It is a rich testimony for those of us who have been, or are walking through dark places, challenges, recovering from our poor choices and trauma inflicted upon us. We have to be honest. We can’t hide our ugliness. God will then walk us through and we can then help others to do the same. He is our hope and victory. To pretend I suppose is like refusing to face ourselves, our pain, all the anger, hurt, bitterness, shame … and on. God is gracious to the humble and broken. Those of us who know we need Him. And some of us have had harder times…so we may be judged, but we can only let God judge us…because in the end His opinion is what matters. God bless you for sharing. I can relate. Life is very hard. Your testimony your honesty and stating you look to Christ is inspiring.

  • TM

    Hello,

    I found your site through your post today on Christianity Today. That was a good article, very insightful. So finding this page on your site was surprising.

    So please let me say something as a fellow Christian: this is an article that seeks to justify swearing. In a roundabout way, it is a way to ignore what the Bible says about swearing. I read through your bio and, man, you have been through a lot. No one can take that away from you. But you also call yourself a Christian. And when you do that, and yet also justify sin (yes, swearing is a sin — it is “course talk”), you actually undermine everything you try to say as a Christian. Swearing may help you “cope” — but it distracts from whatever message you may be trying to communicate. You can’t tell someone to do as Christ does with a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Mature, generous Christians will overlook it this; most people will not.

    When God inspired authors to write passages like Col 4:6 (“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt”); Eph 4:29 (“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”); Eph 5:4 (“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”); etc. he didn’t give exceptions. In fact, those authors (the apostle Paul in these cases) *and their readers* were persecuted themselves. If any had need for “coping,” it was they — and yet Paul tells them to mind their language, to let it be edifying. As Christians, we are to fight sin, not give in to it so that we can “cope.” Words are powerful (James 3:6) and, as a writer, all the truer for you!

    I am not writing this as “holier than thou.” I have cursed so I can hardly point fingers in this manner. But it is wrong to assume we are above reproach. If I’m doing something the Bible says I shouldn’t, then I’d want to know. Why? Because we love Christ. And *he* said if we love him, we will obey his commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3). Matt 7:1 says, “Judge not lest you be judged.” But if you keep reading to get his meaning, v5 says, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus’ point is NOT that Christians shouldn’t ever judge (quite the opposite!) — his point is the *manner* in which we do it. That’s why passages like 2 Tim 4:2 (“reprove, rebuke, and exhort”) make sense: Christians ought to be helping each other strive for righteousness — in a gracious way.

    So when you implore your readers to “choose love” and “choose grace” you are actually asking them to ignore what Scripture says. Love includes exhortation, and grace is not code for “ignore all sin.” For you, it shouldn’t be about what readers think about you. You are not called to be a man-pleaser (Galatians 1:10; 1 Thes 2:4). What matters is what God thinks of you. It’s not about being a “good Christian girl” by the world’s standards; it’s about a “good Christian girl” by God’s standards. The more you concern yourself with that, the better off you are (Matt 6:33). A Christian is a person who follows Christ, and we all — self included — must refine that following. He has saved you; we express our gratitude to him for that through obedience.

    I understand — at least to some degree — the need for an outlet, to cope. But, frankly, “coping” isn’t really a biblical category. That is a modern-day phenomena. Our outlet ought to be Christ. The way we ought to “cope” is to meditate on what God has to say about it (Philippians 4:8). Eph 4:26 says to “be angry, and sin not.” There is cause to be angered by injustice! But it says not to sin in that anger. We must let God be the ultimate vengeance (Romans 12:19). Granted, that is easier said than done! It is easier to sin than to obey — but sin simply is not a coping mechanism. It is not a “tremendous gift”. I would not rather you starve yourself or put your finger down your throat. But I would rather you run to God’s Word, which is the ultimate source of comfort, and not undermine your own testimony. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. *He’s* worth it.

    So I would encourage you to keep writing and keep telling your story(s). It needs to be heard, especially by the white Christian community. You have something necessary to contribute. But I would also suggest you not undermine that story (and disobey Christ) by ignoring what the Bible has to say about your language. Your own story — and how you point people to Christ — will be that much more powerful when your language is “seasoned with salt.” You are a good writer: you can find ways to accurately tell your story, warts and all, without course talk.

    A fellow person in need of grace,
    Tom