Monday, August 30, 2010



I am terrible at predicting which posts will provoke the most commentary. Although many people seemed to identify with the previous one, it obviously hit some nerves as well. I am grateful for everyone who took the time to respond to my invitation to share their insights and opinions. But I’d like to address some of the concerns mentioned before moving forward. 

First of all, I want to ask forgiveness if my words were hurtful to anyone. That was not my intention, and I am sad that that may have been the case. I am not a very tough old bird myself, and am especially sensitive to hurting others because of that.

As stated in the addendum, the post was not written under the most ideal of circumstances. It was written quickly, with many distractions. In re-reading it, the phrase “…to choose the Blessers over the Bleeders” jumps out at me as harsh and inaccurate. I regret my choice of words. It sounds selfish and insensitive. I am grateful for those of you who intuited the gist behind the careless words. Although it is evident that many of you got the main point I was trying to make, I can understand how others may have misinterpreted my motives, intention, or the context. So, I would like to address several specific comments for the purpose of clarification.

In spite of the fact that I employed them in the piece, I agree with the writer who pointed out that it’s not our place to assign labels. The labels I used for purposes of identification more accurately refer to the person’s affect on me, rather than the actual person. In the first sentence, I indicated that the time period during which I used the labels was “eons” ago. The piece was emphasizing a shift in understanding that has taken place over a long period of time.

I also agree wholeheartedly with her statements that “it takes two to tango” and that “We are all bleeders, and unfortunately, the bleeders get the finger pointing at being unhealthy, when those who enable them are just as much responsible.” I asserted that my attitude at that time was “unhealthy and unbalanced.” I also stated that I had “bled some friends almost dry,” and contended that the majority of us fall into both categories at one time or another.

Another commenter suggested that I read Amy Carmichael’s poem “If,” and writings by Oswald Chambers. I adore both authors, and have read them extensively over the years. I have previously recommended them in the Books section, and have quoted Chambers at least once. 

I find both Carmichael and Chambers to be inspired, inspiring, and convicting in a helpful way. However, even they are not canonical. I’ve always been challenged by Amy’s poem, If, (actually, "Calvary Love,") but have viewed it as a piece employing hyperbole for the point of emphasis. (As I frequently do myself!) To say that one knows nothing of “Calvary Love” because one does not meet every requirement in the poem is, to me, extreme and harsh. (For instance, "If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.") There are many of us who have experienced Calvary Love in our own lives, and are attempting, with God’s grace, to extend it to others. However, until we are transformed fully into His image, our love will be merely a pale and flawed imitation of His. But that doesn’t mean that we know “NOTHING” of it. It simply means that we are in the roller-coaster process of sanctification.

However, I absolutely agree that the primary motivation in all of our interpersonal dealings should be love… above all else.

The same commenter stated in reference to the above authors, “I also commend them as precious examples of people who took extraordinary time and care before attempting to speak the word of God into human lives. Take all the time needed.”

Although I appreciate the advice, that is simply not possible. The fact that I am writing at all is, to me…knowing myself as I do… nothing short of miraculous. I don’t really “have time” to write. It is something that is happening “in spite of…”

I am aware of the awesome responsibility I have for my words.  (Not many of you should presume to be teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways.” James 3:1-2) However, I have stated repeatedly over the past two and a half years that: I am not a theologian. I am not speaking for a church, a ministry, an organization. I am not purporting to be an example or a role model of any kind. At the first moment when I became aware that people other than my close friends were reading my words, I made it clear in the “About Me” section of Katherine’s Mom’s Blog that I consider myself nothing more than “an average sinner” telling her personal story. That stands true today. For those who may be new readers, I have listed caveats on several occasions, such as her and here.

If I am to continue writing at all, it is with the knowledge that, on many occasions, it will be under less than the most auspicious of circumstances. It may be with a toddler crawling on me. It may be in the 20 minutes I have to myself in the mornings when I am West Coast. It may be late at night when I’m so tired I can barely string two words together. Or it might be while ensconced in my bed at home for 3 hours surrounded by concordances and commentaries. (Hey, anything is possible.)

And it will be with many flaws… not just grammatical.

Nevertheless, I feel an inner urging to continue on… one which I interpret as something more than merely a personal inclination.

I have searched high and low for a quote from C.S.L., to no avail. But in one of his works, he says something to the effect of, “If it helps you, then use it. If not, then don’t even remember it.” I pray that as well for those who read my words.

...If they help you in any way on your own journey, that’s wonderful. If not, then I pray that the breath of the Holy Spirit will blow them away into forgotten dust.

It all comes down to discernment… in both our interpersonal relationships with each other, and in deciding which words we allow to penetrate our hearts and minds.

And grace.

Lots and lots of grace.

***************

“We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom.”  (II Corinthians 1:12)


***************

Anybody remember that Lewis quote?




18 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh, Kim. That you have to defend your words at all is sad. They are YOUR words, your thoughts. You have the right to express them eloquently - as you often do - or awkwardly. It's your choice. If others intepret them through filters of anger and hurt, well, they are THEIR filters, not yours. You are not responsible for their buttons. I guess maybe I'm tougher than you are. I can't put the scripture to all my experiences as you do, or pull out of my hat specific poems or passages of literature though heaven knows I've read a mountain of it in my lifetime. But I do know this, you are laying out your heart and soul when you don't really have to. You are reaching people in profound ways. You are reaching me in ways and making me think. This is going to sound flippant and it's not meant to be, but who cares about people getting their undies in a wad over something you said? Maybe that button needed to be pushed. Put YOUR big girl panties on and keep writing!!

Anonymous said...

Kim, I hate that you have to defend your words. MY first thought to those people is "well, then don't read Kim's blog, no one is forcing you to!" but you seem kinder and gentler than me, which is one of the reasons I come back for more every day. I have been following along since Katherine's rupture (she and I are the same age, know a lot of the same people, I went to UGA, etc) and I think your writings are amazing and have brought the word of God to a lot of people. Please continue, and do not let the "blog bleeders" of the world discourage you. And to those of you who were "offended"... move along :)

Kim Arnold said...

Ha!

I've got a cartoon with that quote ("Big Girl Panties") over my washing machine!

Thanks for the reminder... and good advice.

I do think that some of the things I said on the previous post sounded harsher than I intended, and I wanted to apologize for that regardless of the comments.

But, yes, you're right that I need to stop defending myself. Sometimes we're just going to be misunderstood, and that's okay.

from my front porch... said...

I so agree with Rebecca!

I love you writings. I don't always have the time to comment, but do try!

This is your blog, your thoughts, your beliefs. If you feel the need to correct something or apologize for words you think were too harsh, that is just fine.

But, never begin writing what you think OTHERS will be "ok" with!
You provoke awesome discussion with your posts. And that is what blogging is all about!

It took me many years to realize that if I did something nice for someone and they sent me a thank
you note; I didn't need to send them a thank you for the "Thank You"!!!


xo, misha

Susan said...

My goodness. It is your blog, your words, your thoughts . . . and we are privileged that you share with us so willingly and in such a heartfelt way. So what if you hit a nerve for some folks at times? Sometimes we all need to be pushed a little - it makes us think and it makes us grow. Sometimes we just need to hear another point of view. But, this is YOUR blog and it is not about US!

One night as I was cooking supper, my then six-year-old son came in and started telling me all about something that had happened at school that day. I listened and tried to figure out what, exactly, I was supposed to do with what he was telling me. Finally, I just said, "Ok, I think I know what you are saying, but what do you want me to do?" And he got a funny look on his face and said, "Oh, mom. I don't want you to do anything. I'm just "awaring" you!" Sometimes, Kim, it is more than enough that you are just "awaring" us! You just keep on writing, because I certainly need to keep reading.

Thank you a million times. There are days when your words are EXACTLY what I need.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim -- I read all your posts and look forward to them each time you update. I grew up in legalism where I felt I always had to be careful I didn't say anything that just might offend someone. Well, I found out in later years that I was a fence straddler -- everyone seemed to like me, but who was I? I'm a pleaser -- I wish I could say that in past tense, but I still desire for everyone to like me and agree with me.

All that to say -- please write whatever is on your heart. There are many blogs out there where women can be a little stuffy -- you're not. You put it out there and make us think. In the midst of caring for Katherine and James, you continue to bless us with your insight and wisdom -- and you're just so funny too!

You just can't please all the people all the time -- oh, if we could!

Keep writing and please please please don't change the way you write -- put it out there, and those who don't like what you say can search for millions of other blogs they like better. As for me, I'll keep checking for you updates!

Love and big hugs to you, Kim --

Susan

Donna said...

Hi Kim, I agree with the other comments. I don't know you but we are so much alike, always trying to please everyone and not ruffle any feathers. You have no idea just how you have impacted my life, and I'm sure many other's with your posts. Thank you so much and please continue to post just as you have been, from your heart!

KarenTowns said...

I am a serial blog reader. I read several every day and have for years. This always happens, people take things wrong and feel duty bound to correct, lead, guide and instruct and sometimes they are just mean. Personally, I may think a snarky thing. I may type it, but I don't post. We're all pressing on to the high calling together. It happens in fits and starts. The great God of heaven doesn't judge us as harshly as we judge each other. I say just love somebody, and the less said the better, when it comes to criticism. I love your blog, your journey and your spirit filled life. I look forward to reading it for a long time. It edifies me. Amen

Anonymous said...

it's just a blog and a wonderful one too. you don't need to defend yourself or explain yourself. it's not like anyone is forced to read or even pay for it. please. there is so much garbage on the web and people have the time and energy to nit pick YOU? give me a break. there is nothing more annoying than people who are just doing their best to serve Christ and others- for FREE and then have someone come along and be critical about their work. how many times have servants of Jesus started out with God-given visions and a sacrificial heart to see them through only to have others criticize and and judge their efforts. i hate it. don't stress out about the negative stuff. live for an audience of ONE. (Dallas Willard quote)
love, michelle

Bama56 said...

Never apologize for your thoughts and feelings! I read your blog BECAUSE you are honest and say what is in your heart. If you filter what you write, it's not coming from your heart. You make me THINK and I appreciate it and love it! Don't stop! PLEASE!

Allison said...

i heart you:) just.the.way.you.are! you are real. you are fallen.....just like the rest of us;) GRACE. i love the quote by c.s.lewis. good stuff:)

angie and the boys said...

I agree with everyone. Especially Susan's comment, "Thank you a million times. There are days when your words are EXACTLY what I need"
I feel the same way. I may not post like I want to, or plan to, but you say exactly what I need to hear so often. I LOVE to read many blogs, but when yours come up I save them for quiet time, because they always have meaning and speak to me.

Peggy Dabbs said...

Kim, I love your thoughts and the
way that you express them! Your
time is so precious, and it is with
a grateful heart that I read your
blog! If anyone is offended, they
have the option of not reading!

Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi..
As one of the comments referenced, I am so sorry.
I really don't know what else to say, except I wasn't looking to 'blog bleed'
or "pick' at you as others have mentioned.
I misread your blog, and thought I had said a couple of times I wasn't implying my thoughts towards
you, but my guess is I didn't say that clearly, and again I am so sorry.
This wasn't my intention, and I guess I did read the inital writing through a different lens. I would
never want you to stop writing, or feel as if you had to defend yourself. I'm sorry I took a writing that was
specific to your circumstance to a broader level.I think I just misread all of it, and again I'm so sorry.
I'm not what the comments here suggest, and I'm sorry for my thoughts on this. What it turned into is the very last
thing I would have wanted- and I'm so sad I caused this for you. I agree with the other comments, please keep writing.
I will keep my 'mouth shut' from now on.

Again, so sorry I was so unclear, and if I prevoked the other comment referencing the poem.
Emily

Marita said...

Mrs Arnold, I 'get' your blog and love to read it. I am truly grateful for your ministry. Your words 'reach' people in more ways than you will ever know.

Anonymous said...

I second all the positive comments on here. Please know that your writing is a buoy to so many of us out here and we cherish your honest words, however faulted they may be in some eyes, because your raw openness lets us know we're not alone in this struggle. Keep up the good work and keep letting the Lord do his work in peoples' hearts through you.

Flipped Out said...

Kim I am reading this post long after it all happened but I want to say with the loudest voice I can....do NOT stop speaking from your heart! Every time I read your post I am touched in ways I can't express. I am so beyond thankful for you. Keep going girl!!!! Karen