How to Heal From That??

Last week I attended the screening of “We Were Children” and also had the privilege of hearing the stories from those whose parents had gone through residential school. The film follows the story of two Aboriginal children, Lyna and Glen, as they endured residential school in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively. These schools aimed to “kill the Indian in the child”. The effects of physical, emotional and sexual trauma they survived through persist into all aspects of their adult lives. It was such a heavy film to take in…I’m still processing…but here are some thoughts:

The First Nations “problem” we perceive to have today is just the symptom of  the incredible brokenness the residential school survivors carried. Many of these children were separated, sometimes forcefully, from their parents from the age of 4 to 18. The schools forbade touching, provided no affection, taught no social or life skills and the rich family-oriented culture they were taken from was effectively erased. In addition, attacks and abuses were heaped on physically, mentally and spiritually. No one believed you even if you told them you were abused because “why would the priests do that”? So you carry the shame, the hurt, the guilt, the anger, the injustice, the rage, the helplessness and hopelessness in silence. Upon “graduating” you were tossed back out into the world but now have no idea how to cope with the new freedoms. No ideas how to be in relationship with others. No idea how to be a husband or a wife or a mother or father. Many turned to alcohol to numb the memories. Many took their own lives. Many left their own wounded children in their wake. And the children of residential school survivors are the First Nations elders we have today. They’ve faced abuse of all sorts simply because their parents (the survivors) didn’t know anything else and many have passed that brokenness on…so the generational curse really does reach into the third and forth generations.

One lady from the Haida tribe shared about her memories from before she was taken into residential school. Their one tribal law was to respect and honor each other. And so they did…everyone’s conduct hinged on this law. Families were tight and loving. Homes were clean and decorated with flowers and seashells. Everyone took care of each others needs. It was a happy time.

Apparently, the atrocities seen in this film is still considered to be a mild version of what some have experienced. I can’t imagine. Also, I was horrified to learn that Hilter’s concentration camps were inspired by the Canadian residential schools. And even more sickened by how these schools were run by various “Christian” churches. What terrible terrible representation of God and His love!! But I am reminded that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) The end of the Story has been written and Christ will conquer. All who trust in Him will not be victims but victors.

Back to our First Nations…how does healing begin?? How does healing reach those wounds from generations back? For those of us bearing Christ’s name, how might we be agents of reconciliation today? The end of the Story might already be written but right now we get to be part of the action. Hearing the stories from Christian First Nations that night bore witness to the incredible power of healing from God. How do we fit into this picture, this journey of healing? That’s what I want to know…and be part of.

Endearing nicknames I grew up with

Have I told you my nicknames as I grew up?
These are the best I can do in terms of literal translations:

Big Cry Baby – My Dad reminds me, more and more now, of how they didn’t go out to eat for 2-3 years because I cried so much. I was colic for the first little while. And I had a big set of lungs apparently.

Bread Head – I have corners on my head making my head a little squarish. And with my chubby baby cheeks, I looked like a square loaf of bread. So…the name stuck. Thankfully, the squarish-ness has decreased over the years.

Big Head Yan – Yan is my Chinese name. It means “Happy”…which is a little ironic considering how I was also the Big Cry Baby. Anyways. My head was big. Think of a bobble head. That was me. As my Dad would comment, I had a big head with big eyes, a big nose, big mouth, big face and big protruding ears. So endearing.

Big Lazy Yan – This nickname was given in Junior High I think. Because I was lazy. I am. Well…sometimes I’m just trying to be efficient…but I’ll totally admit to being lazy.

Big Fat Piggy – I’ve never actually been “fat”. My heaviest looking days were around age 13/14, first year university with the whole Freshman Fifteen thing and then a couple years into taking an office job where I just sit all day every day…with regular access to Tim Hortons. When I travel to hot/humid climates, I also tend to retain water…so whenever my Dad sees pictures from such vacations, he’ll comment. But, meh. I know when I’m not looking as healthy as I could be. And I mean this in the realistic sense of “healthy”…with no comparisons to what I “could” be looking if I had a personal trainer, personal chef and cosmetic procedures done.

And there you go. Yes, all nicknames were coined by my Dad. Yes it means you develop some thicker skin growing up. =) But it’s totally endearing to hear my Dad call me by these nicknames still.

Submission 2

So I had a mini rant about the world’s misunderstanding of what Biblical submission means….and then I read Lainey Gossip’s post on the same topic.


Ms PR is right…the world will probably just never understand what Biblical submission means and will think we’re crazy. Lainey questions whether the wife will have to ask permission from her husband for everything she does to make sure he’s ok with it first. Seriously? That’s NOT what Biblical submission is about. It’s not about the wife leaving her brain at the altar when she says “I do”. Remember, Biblical submission is for husbands AND wives…and all believers. It’s built on a relationship of mutual love, care and respect for each other.

I imagine in Candace’s case, she and her husband would’ve already talked about what they are comfortable with her doing in her acting career. With Biblical submission, she would respect what they had discussed. Maybe the line is no nudity…or no kissing. So if there’s nudity or kissing in the script then right away Candace already knows what to do. She doesn’t have to ask further. And it’s not just one way….I imagine they would’ve also talked about what she’s comfortable with her husband doing. Maybe the boundary is not having any one-on-one meetings with someone of the opposite gender. So he would respect and submit to her back. This mutual submission would build trust and respect in their relationship. They wouldn’t have reason to second guess/suspect/doubt one another. How refreshing! Makes sense right? Not too crazy right?

But it’s an interesting question Lainey asks about whether Candace would still submit though she’s likely the main breadwinner. Or whether her husband would still lead if he’s not the breadwinner. My question is what does money have to do with it? Or why should money have anything to do with who leads? But that is a crazy concept in this world where money talks and money is power.

I asked Skywalker for his perspective…if he made less money than me, would he find it difficult to lead our marriage and household? He replied, “No. But, if I wasn’t working at all…and had no good reason to not be working (i.e. wasn’t on disability of some sort)…then I would feel like a non-contributor. And a capable but non-contributing man should probably not be leading…since he isn’t even leading himself.” I married a wise man. =)

And maybe, as Ms PR suggests, all this talk is just to promote Candace’s new book.

At the end of the day, respectful submission and loving sacrifice (from both husband and wife) is what makes a marriage solid. Not sure why people wouldn’t want that. *shrug*


HuffPost published this recently on what Candace Cameron Bure said regarding “submission”. I think she described it well enough but Huffpost only presented half the picture. Or maybe only a third of the picture.

The Google definition of “submission” is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. Nearly all the images related to submission was some kind of submission hold in wrestling…or some images of women in bondage. That is NOT biblical submission.

When the Bible instructs wives to submit to the husband, it’s not because he is superior to his wife. Or because the wife is weaker-willed, though physically and generally speaking, she is weaker. God made husbands and wives (men and women) to be equal in worth and value. Submission is yielding your will, voluntarily, by choice, to another individual out of respect and a cooperative spirit. And God intends that Love be a part of that relationship…because without it, submission could be an abusive thing.

To look at the quoted passage more completely…check out Ephesians 5:21-33 …there are three parts:

  1. Submit to one another. Not just wives to husbands. Or husbands to wives….but everyone in Christ should seek to cooperate with one another and not selfishly insist on or exert your own will and way. There is no hierarchy here. Christ is the only head.
  2. Wives submit to your husbands. This is out of a difference in ROLE in a household. Ms PR put it this way, “The husband is the head and the wife is the heart….but you need both to survive.” Just as the President and Vice President play out their roles in cabinet but have equal worth and value….or how a Captain and First Mate have their roles. One isn’t weaker than the other. They’re filling in the role that makes the household or cabinet or ship run in the most efficient and effective way.
  3. Husbands love your wives. Specifically, love them as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. More specifically, Christ DIED for the Church to give her life. The instructions continue, “make her holy, cleansing her…and present her without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” And I thought submitting was hard!

It’s much easier to do the wife part and submit don’t you think?? Honestly, when a husband seeks to care for and love his wife the way God intended for him to, it’s so easy to submit to him. And just because he struggles to do his part has husband doesn’t mean the wife can ignore what God has asked her to do. As God holds the head of the household accountable for how he has led his family, I would be held accountable as his wife, for whether I have done my best in my role. We are a team and need to work together, ultimately submitting to each other as unto Christ. If either of us tries to do it all, we exhaust ourselves and just strain the marriage.

So, let’s not freak out about submitting.
It’s part of a bigger picture where everyone wins as we do our parts.

Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned

Great read and encouragement.
If sex is the highest physical form of intimacy you can have with another…then sex outside the bounds of the highest form of commitment to another (i.e. marriage) is the biggest lie we tell each other and ourselves. And how can any true intimacy build on lies?

The Matt Walsh Blog

From my inbox, an email from a high school student named Jeremy:

“Dear Matt, first I want to say I really like your blog. One of my teachers actually mentioned it in class once after you wrote something (she didn’t mention it in a good way lol) and I went and looked you up so I’ve been following you ever since. I know you get so much email so I don’t expect you to see this but in case you do I wanted to get your opinion about something. You write a lot about relationships and everything so I’m wondering if you think abstinence should be encouraged in school?

Reason I’m asking is because we are doing our sex ed lessons in health class now and the topic has come up. Yesterday my health teacher was talking about safe sex and someone mentioned abstinence and she said it wasn’t realistic…

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