Posts tagged ‘Spiritual’
Sugar and spice and everything nice
That’s what Eve was made of
And placed in the Garden of beauty and charm
To bask in the warmth of God’s love
Then along came a serpent so charming and sweet
With a hellish mission in mind
To crush and destroy the apple of God’s eye
And to rob her trusting soul blind
How foolish was she that fateful day
When she ate from the forbidden tree
And lost the cloak of God’s righteousness
For all eternity
But even before He formed the clay
God had a plan for man-kind
To redeem and restore our broken souls
And give us life sublime
He sent to earth His only Son
To die on a rugged tree
To wash away sin’s ugly stain
And to set our spirits free
It probably began when the doctor yanked me from my mother’s womb and slapped my scrawny bare butt. Or maybe when my dad dropped me on my head. Come to think of it, first grade was no skip in the woods, either.
It doesn’t really matter when or why it all began. What does matter is how terribly it has affected my entire life.
I mean, why did I have to sit in that stupid circle of kids every day? Wasn’t it bad enough sitting at my desk feeling lonely and afraid? And why did I have to read out loud? Why did I feel like I had two heads and a big fat wart on my nose? Why? Why? Why?
Public work wasn’t much better, either. Paranoia, like a playground bully made me feel suspicious, angry and hostile. I’d tell myself to calm down that it only feels like I’m under attack. But my addled brain wouldn’t buy it. No matter how hard I reasoned with myself, the pain was real. The anxiety was real. The panic was real. The I’m gonna quit and never come back was real.
Years, and years, and years I tried and failed at being normal. So I started pretending. I pretended that I wasn’t angry when I wanted to punch someone in the face. I pretended that I didn’t hurt when I was hemorrhaging inside. I pretended to be happy when I wanted to bawl my eyes out. Why? Because no one would like me if they really knew me. And because being vulnerable was like having a death wish.
Pretending worked until it didn’t anymore. Until that last straw that broke the camel’s back. Until all those inner demons had no place else to go but out.
Thankfully, God was there and saved me from the near fatal wreckage. Don’t ask me how He did it. He just did. We all experience God in different ways. I just know that I called on Him and He was there and changed my life forever.
It’s been a long, painful journey of learning and trusting and relying on God to fix me. Sometimes it’s a mountain top experience, sometimes it’s like crawling naked through a brier patch. But, when I let go of the reigns and hand them over to Him, He gives me strength. He gives me hope. He gives me peace. He helps me stay on track. I can’t do life without Him.
This is what God has and continues teaching me:
I’m not perfect
I can’t fix everything
I can’t always be in control
I can’t please everyone
I don’t have to like everyone
I have a God-given right to defend myself
I stopped allowing people to manipulate and use me
It’s okay to be me
God loves me just the way I am but encourages me to be more like Him
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you ~ 1 Peter 6,7
We lost our jobs. We struggled from month to month on our skimpy Social Security checks. We battled depression, frustration, and feelings of hopelessness. We beat cancer and survived the seemingly worst years of our lives together.
It wasn’t until my husband started receiving disability benefits from the VA that we were finally able to come up for air and break free from the financial monster we faced every waking moment of every single day for three long, stressful years.
We planned many things before reaching retirement, those golden years we looked forward to spending debt free in splendid bliss traveling and cruising and collecting seashells on a sunny beach.
But owing a mortgage wasn’t one of them. Nor did we plan on the tiny trees we planted to get so big and messy and their shallow roots cracking the driveway.
In a dream world, our hard-earned golden years would be having a bottomless money pit and hiring professionals to renovate the house and manicure the lawn.
But those are someone else’s golden-years, certainly not ours.
So, here we are, a pair of dried up bones, our house falling apart, feeling too hopeless and frustrated to do anything about it.
Still, more than the dead trees in the yard, weeds in the flower beds, and saplings growing in the gutters, we wanted that dirty, stinking, pee-stained carpet gone!
So, with a glimmer of hope, we convinced ourselves that we’re only half as old as we look, and if we want that carpet gone, we’re gonna have to get off the pot and make it happen.
So, we watched a few how-to videos, high-fived each other, and with the adrenaline of a pair of goofy teens drunk on energy drinks, we decided to renovate the house.
Easy breezy, like sipping lemonade on a warm summer day by the pool.
It’s been more like crawling a thousand miles across a hot desert naked.
On May 27, 2019, we began moving furniture and pulling up carpet, staples, nails, and carpet strips.
Two days later while we were out, a woman ran the red light and plowed into us causing over two thousand dollars in car damages and six weeks in the body shop for repairs. Thankfully, no one was hurt. It did, however, throw us off track for a few weeks dealing with insurance agents, numerous phone calls, and the rental car breaking down.
We have never laid flooring before and will never ever in a trillion years do it again. I’d rather kill a grizzly bear with my bear hands!
Being a perfectionist, having my house torn asunder with nothing in its place for weeks and weeks on end, the dogs acting stupid, and hubby working an hour and resting four nearly sent me over the edge.
And as if it couldn’t get any worse, we ran into water damage and huge pee stained circles . . . lots and lots of circles like stepping stones zigzagging across the sub floor. Replacing one of those boards became a crumbled mess of sawdust like a box of Nilla Wafers smashed to smithereens with a sledgehammer.
Several grueling hours later we finally cleaned up the mess and nailed down a new sheet of ply board only to discover it was too thick.
By now, we’re threatening to black each others eyes and I’m thinking of sticking a for sale sign in the yard and moving to another planet where I’m sure the golden years must be hiding.
Then, to my husband’s dismay, I do the unthinkable. I stopped everything in midstream to refinish my grandmother’s cedar chest. I got tired of moving furniture, straining my back, and crawling on my hands and knees snapping vinyl planks together. I needed a change, a creative boost. I wanted to see instant results.
Besides, it’ll only take a few days.
That little project took three long weeks stripping paint and sanding and re-sanding and sanding again before it was ready to be stained. Then we did the blanket chest. Then I painted hubby’s computer desk. TWICE! I didn’t like the first color choice; it didn’t go with the furniture.
We knew the task wouldn’t be easy, but we didn’t know it would be like wrestling a thousand pound bull to the ground. And we had no experience or help from anyone other than Almighty God.
And here we are, at the end of August, celebrating our seventy-third birthdays together still pulling up carpet, counting the weeks when we’ll finally get finished and wondering when the golden years will suddenly appear.
Yet, through it all, God is teaching me more about Him and reminding me that life spent in His love and care and protection are the golden years. We don’t have to wait till a certain age to lounge in His comforting arms, travel the heights of joyful bliss, and sip the nectar of His eternal love, peace and comfort.
Life is never gonna be what we expected it would be and many never live to get a mere glimpse of the golden years and those who do often feel cheated and disappointed.
So, I’ve decide to forget about looking for the Golden Years and live in the joy and happiness of every moment of every day of every year till I disappear into the sunset.
I AM A GOD WHO HEALS.
Those are the first six words I read from my daily devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
And they got my attention.
But what awakened my spiritual slumber are the words in the last paragraph: I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person’s life. Even my servant Paul was told, “My grace is sufficient for you,” when he sought healing for the thorn in his flesh.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Wow! So that must mean that no matter how mighty our faith or how shiny our halo, we’re not always gonna get what we ask God for.
As a kid, I had faith; lots of faith. Or, at least I thought I did until a boy accidentally broke my glasses as we were horsing around on the church bus.
Great! What am I gonna tell mom and daddy who can barely put food on the table let alone buy another pair of glasses? What am I gonna do? I’m as blind as a bat without them.
So, with all the faith a ten-year-old could muster, I pressed my glasses together, squeezed my eyes shut, and prayed, “Lord. You gotta fix my glasses. You can do it! I know you can!”
You can imagine my disappointment when I opened my eyes and realized my glasses were still just as broken as they were before I asked God to magically put them back together again.
As a child, it didn’t matter that it was just a pair of glasses. They were broken and I knew and believed with all my heart and soul that God had the power to fix them.
But He didn’t.
And when the family walked side by side with my sister down the church aisle to pray for her healing, we had faith that God could do it. Yet, cancer claimed her life anyway.
But God healed my brother years ago from a heart condition caused by rheumatic fever and my baby brother from a bowel obstruction immediately following the pastor’s prayers when he came to the house. He even healed my mother right before she was wheeled down to surgery. The X-ray proved the mass was gone!
I don’t know the mind of God; why He heals one person and not another. But I do know that no one has the right to tell anyone that healing doesn’t come because of a person’s lack of faith.
I saw this happen once when a group of Christians gathered around a young woman with MS slumped in a wheelchair, scolding her for not having enough faith to get up and walk! And I was so proud when our assistant pastor marched his small, indignant frame toward the holier than thou group and boldly put an end to their vicious bullying.
In my own life, like those broken pair of glasses, God doesn’t magically put my brokenness back together. It’s been a long, painful, drawn-out process of anger and frustration, of jerking away and running back. A roller coaster ride of failures and victories, tears and laughter, sadness and joy. Walking the green mile through depression, anxiety, and fear. A never-ending cycle of I’m okay, I’m not okay and maybe I’ll never be okay.
Yes, the struggle is just too much at times. But, it’s through the grueling struggles, not the instant healing that God reveals His endless love and care and mercy toward me. It’s through my quiet times with Him and the tears rolling down my face, and His light shining in the dungeon of darkness, revealing my weaknesses, my stubbornness, my fears, anger, and rage; all the prickly, painful thorns that keep me dependent on Him. Without those struggles, I may never know how much God wants me for Himself. I may never know His love and protection. And I may die not ever knowing a father’s love.
So, the way I see it, healing is not healing if it separates me from God; If it causes me to develop a doctor-patient relationship where the doctor heals and the patient doesn’t need him or her anymore.
It’s horrifying to think that everything I ask God for would sever our relationship if He gave it to me!
While letting the dogs out this morning I frowned at the holes Bella, our greyhound mix, has dug in the backyard. I don’t know what she’s digging for, bugs, probably, but I don’t like it, especially when I nearly break my neck stepping in one of them.
It got me to thinking, though, about my digging adventure. Not in the backyard, although that would have been much easier, less time-consuming, and a lot less painful. No, I picked up my shovel of determination and began digging up bones buried deep beneath a ton of hurt, anger, and confusion. Of course, God orchestrated the ordeal, otherwise, I never would have done it. But first, He had to do something to open my eyes real wide.
I’ll never forget the day I got zapped; sanctified, the preacher called it. Doesn’t matter to me what it’s called, I got a bath. Well, my heart and mind did. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all religious on you. I’m just going to try my darndest to show my deepest feelings and my personal experience with God.
My heart was as battered and broken as a fatal car wreck. My mind was a cesspool of depression, anger, rage, panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, noise phobia, mood swings, all adding up to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Of course, I didn’t have a clue what all that stinking garbage was called, I just knew the hellish torment it was causing in my life and I wanted to know why. That’s when I became a digger. And that’s when everything got much worse before it got better.
Mom didn’t like the idea of my digging up the past because she didn’t want to face or feel responsible for the role she played in it. Daddy didn’t care one way or the other and my sister and brothers chose a destructive path to deal with their pain. So, that left me, the crazy one in the family to go digging for the painful truth for my sanity. And because mom was the fuse that lit the dynamite inside me, I severed all ties with her for six, long years. Did I feel guilty? Did I care what people thought? Did I cry my eyes out? Did I agonize over whether I was doing the right thing? YES! But that was my first, gut-wrenching giant step toward freedom.
With the sole support of my husband and my son, I began psychological therapy sessions once a week for two years as well as months of counseling sessions with my pastor. But, my number one Hero in teaching and leading me to the truth, is God. He is the only One who knew and completely understood my unbearable pain. He’s been there every step of the way. I’ve never known such love from anyone on this earth. And it’s His steadfast love and encouragement, His longing to set me free, that kept me digging up those ugly, dry bones buried in the darkest recesses of my mind, heart, and soul.
In the end, instead of casting blame on him and her and this and that, I took full responsibility for my lack of understanding, my anger, and rage, my unforgiveness, my stupidity, my choices. It was no longer about what happened to me but how I responded to it. It was no longer about the unfairness of being controlled and manipulated by guilt and shame and being my mother’s scapegoat and feeling emotionally raped. It was no longer about making excuses, getting revenge, seeking justice, but about healing and forgiveness. I wanted to break the chains of the past, to be free, to think for myself, to decide my fate, to be happy in spite of my brokenness. I wanted to learn more about God, about myself, about what having an abundant life means that God promises His children (John 10:10b).
There were times I wanted to give up. There were times I did give up. There were times I wished I had never been born. But I always got back up and kept going. And like a loving father rewarding his child, God turned my tears to joy. He never left me stranded. Through the darkest, scariest tunnel, He never left my side.
Am I there yet? NOPE! The journey will never end for me this side of Heaven. But I will never stop moving forward in my quest for freedom, knowledge, and understanding.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Psalms 34:8).
Into the darkness, He came
He whispered my name
He took my hand
And the journey began
Down the steep winding stairwell
Into the dungeon of my soul
Where I dare not tread before
And I was afraid
Of the ghosts from the past
With glaring eyes and scornful frowns
Violent screams pierced my ears
Shattered my soul
Shook my world apart
And I felt worthless
And I wept
I wanted to run and never stop
Then I felt His gentle nudge
So we moved on
To the bottom of the stairs
Where I saw a little girl
Gazing into a hazy room
Where her dad sat
Like a corpse
Oblivious to her tears
Her longing to crawl on his lap
To fall into his arms
To feel his heartbeat
From the angry world in which she lived
But he never looked her way
Then she turned
And saw a face
Shining like the sun
Arms extended wide
She ran to Him
He hugged her tight
She felt His love
He dried her tears
And there at the bottom of the stairs
In the dungeon of my soul
I met my Heavenly Father
Face to face
He was there at conception, knitting me together in my mother’s womb, watching me grow, delighted with His handiwork. And He smiled.
He was there when I took my first breath, beaming with joy as my mother held me to her breast and kissed my downy head. And He smiled.
He was there when I took my first step, picked my first flower, and chased my first butterfly through hills of green. And He smiled.
He was there when I grew up, fell in love, got married and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. And He smiled.
He was there when my body was slammed against the wall and vice-like fingers squeezing my neck. And He cried.
He was there when anger consumed my heart, hatred ravaged my soul, and darkness flooded my mind. And He cried.
He was there when I sobbed in the darkness searching for His face, questioning His love, cursing the day I was born. And He cried.
He was there when I ran away, far from His beckoning call, ignoring the thorns and choking vines along the foreboding path. And He cried.
He was there when my heart was shackled by fear when my eyes were filled with tears when my lonely soul was shivering in the bitter cold. And He cried.
He was there when I fell on my knees calling His name, surrendering my stubborn will; deeply grieved that I made Him cry. And He smiled.
He was there all the time patiently waiting to set me free, to prove His love, to draw me back to Him. And we smiled.
God gazed from heaven upon the earth
Through tears of remorse and disbelief,
His heart was pierced by transgressions of man
And was broken by sorrow and grief.
He cried to His Son, “What shall I do?
My children can’t go on like this,
For when it comes time for them to die,
My kingdom, they will surely miss.”
So, Father and Son both lovingly agreed
As they fathomed what must be done;
In order to save all the world from sin,
The Father must send down His Son.
So, Jesus came down as a tiny babe,
God’s perfect, loving gift to mankind;
In hopes that one day His words they would heed
And their eyes would no longer be blind.
Jesus was tender, so patient and kind
As He spoke of His Father’s love;
But many were they that refused to believe
That He was God’s Son from above.
After years of teaching and healing the sick,
The Savior’s hour had finally drawn near;
Fo the time had come, God’s will to be done,
Though the cup brought forth bitter tears.
He willingly gave His life on the cross
And bore much suffering, sin, and shame,
But many today still don’t understand
That is the reason He came.
But I believe with all of my heart
And want to give the Savior my best;
It was for me that He shed His precious blood
For you see, He loved me to death.
I avoid calling myself a Christian these days
I’ve had to work too hard at trying to be one
Just when I thought I finally was one
I’d lose my temper
Fly into a fit of rage
Do and say un-Christian stuff
Beat myself up
A never-ending cycle of madness
Sick to death of it all
I looked deep inside
Through all the muck and mire
Of judgment and ridicule
Of pride and self-righteousness
Of fake joy and happiness
And faced the stark reality
That I wasn’t a Christian
I was a broken mess
Just like all the other wanna-be Christians
Sitting in their padded pews
With their broken wings
And crooked halos
I called on God to fix me
To change me
To free me
To wash me clean
And He did
I’m just a sinner saved by Grace
Free from the chains of religion
Of having to keep my halo straight
Of pretending to be something I’m not
Free to just be myself
While striving to be more like Him