Inspiration in Infancy

My first encounter with God came when I was 11 years old. I knew something bigger than myself existed but I could not place what it was. I had no explanation for it until a friend invited me to spend the night at her house on a Saturday. I was granted permission and she told me to bring nice clothes as we would be going to church in the morning. I was excited! The only time I had been to church was for weddings.

It was at Calvary Baptist Church that I met an amazing lady. She was 19 and teaching Sunday School for the first time. She was also married to a man of God. I was young, vulnerable, and eager to learn. She taught me that Christ died for me and through the atonement, I was saved. I didn’t know I needed to be saved, but I knew I needed God something fierce. Miss Lorie taught me how to pray. Once I learned to pray and was ready, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬

God loved me. He still loves me. I can fully attest that I am a sinner by nature but now I have been blessed with the gift of eternal life through Jesus’ crucifixion. I’m not perfect, no where close. I still sin and make mistakes. But when I ask for forgiveness and repent, God is there to take care of me.

Miss Lorie and her wonderful husband, Prince Albert (not in a can), took me under their wings and welcomed me in their home. They did their best to teach me what it means to be a Christian and live a life for God’s glory. Unfortunately, as a teen, I chose a different direction and pushed God aside. I made a lot of bad decisions and plummeted into a life of sexual immorality, drugs, and deceit. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, without regard to the consequences. I hurt many people with my actions, attitudes, and behaviors.

All of those things have led me to where I am today. It is because of God’s amazing grace that I “once was blind but now I see”. I see how the errors of my foolish ways have affected others. Now, I am in the process of rebuilding. Not only am I correcting my sinful behaviors, I am asking for forgiveness for those I have mistreated or sinned against.

Luke 15:11-33 tells the story of the prodigal son.

“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

In many ways, I find myself to be the prodigal son… Ahem, daughter… to Miss Lorie and Prince Albert. I have been restored to God’s fold, which they (and many others) have been hoping for. It’s been a month and it hasn’t been easy. I’m still taking baby steps but I know who to lean on.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

I am so grateful to Miss Lorie for first planting the seeds in me. I am in the process of strengthening the roots of those seeds and establishing a firm foundation in God.

Heart of Hard Flesh

I am struggling. I’m not perfect by any means. Nor do I ever wish to be perfect. Perfection is a very difficult standard to live up to. Only one being on earth was ever perfect, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Perfect is boring and I loathe boring.

I am not ready to discuss what I’m struggling with. It’s very personal and I’m still reeling from the situation. Right now, I just want to pray that God will give me perspective. I am trying to understand some things and I am hoping that the situation will be resolved in the future. I have no idea what the future holds. All I know is that for the last few weeks, I’ve been praying for something to be removed from my mind and my heart. I’ve asked for a guarded heart. Sadly, I’ve asked for a heart of stone. Bear in mind, the situation I’m struggling with is extremely painful for me. It happened at the worst time, in the midst of a severe depression and took me to the brink of suicide. I was rejected by someone I deeply loved, cared for, and trusted. My heart was wide open. Perhaps that was my first mistake after 30 years of having walls around my heart. My heart was put into a blender and pulsed into oblivion.

I felt worthless. I felt insignificant. I felt unwanted. In my mind, I had no value. I was unimportant and I didn’t matter to anyone. Rejected. Abandoned. Hopeless. Degraded. Destroyed. Stabbed. Cast aside. Dejected. Trashed.  Thrown away like a used garbage plate trash.

I felt unloved.

I cried for several days. I still cry.  I may never get over this situation. Only God can heal my heart. But, I want a heart of stone. I want a heart that will never be broken again. I would deny myself if that’s what it takes. During the process of this situation, I have torn myself apart. Degraded myself and self-worth. Honestly, I know where these thoughts come from and they certainly do not come from God Himself. It’s all Satan and his vainglorious attempts to take me to the depths of hell. That’s one place I have no desire to be. However, it feels like that living on earth sometimes; hell on earth. It comes from being imperfectly perfect.

I still want a heart of stone. I do not ever want to be rejected by another person ever again. I refuse to trust. I refuse to love. Yes, my stubbornness is coming out. In reality, the only being I want my heart soft for is God and Jesus.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26

Father, please don’t.

My walls are back up and right where they should be. I should never have taken them down. I had prayed about it when I first did; at that moment, everything was secure and I felt safe. I no longer feel safe. I no longer trust anyone. I no longer love.

It took me a few days to shake what I was feeling about myself. I needed to see myself through God’s eyes and not another human’s. God doesn’t make mistakes; People make mistakes. I made a mistake in trusting and believing. It feels like it was all a game. I hope it was worth it. While I am feeling the loss, in the end, I know who I am and only God’s opinion of me is what matters.

I still want that heart of stone.

“His heart is hard as a stone, hard as the lower millstone.” – Job 41:24

It’s the only way I will get through this season. Perhaps even the rest of my days.

Here’s the good news for me…

I know I am loved. I am loved by the One who gives UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. You don’t have to love me. In fact, at times, I really don’t want anyone’s love. Not because I don’t think I don’t deserve it but rather, it might be a waste of time for you as I won’t reciprocate it. Unrequited love is the worst possible thing on earth. To love someone who doesn’t love you back is just awful.

Just called me “Elsa”, the Ice Queen. Oh yes, I’ve been called that many times. One person said I was one of the most “uncaring, unloving, beautiful women” he had ever met. Good. Now let’s get back to it.

I know in God’s eyes, I am worthy. He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die on the cross for me if I wasn’t worthy of something. I am important. Every one of God’s children has a purpose on this earth, during this temporal existence. I have value. The Proverbs woman is worth more than rubies and so am I. I’ve never been rejected by God. Not once. He’s been waiting while I’ve rejected Him.  I’ve rejected Him a LOT! I don’t have to be perfect to have God’s perfect love.

One thing I’ve learned is that I do not have to trust or believe anyone but God. I will have my heart of hard flesh once again.

You Say – Lauren Daigle

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh I believe (oh)

 

Finding Purpose in God’s Plan

I am a planner. I have to know what I’m doing and when.  It’s a struggle some days when life throws a curve ball that I can’t catch. Depression, and overcoming it, is truly one of life’s lemons.  I am learning how to make lemonade though.  It’s sweetness completely depends upon what God has planned for me that day. Depression, and all that accompanies it, is a day-to-day battle.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

Let me be clear about something in regards to my depression. When I’m in the throes of a deep depression, to the point of suicidal ideation, I don’t want to find joy or think about things that might make me happy. I want to curl up on my bed and wallow in my tears. I have no motivation to do much of anything. I’m argumentative and easily agitated during this period. Emotionally distraught, I tend to shut down and shut people out.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

My mind was in a very dark place but I heard God calling me. He was offering me respite from the darkness. The next thing I know, I was on my knees calling out to Him. It wasn’t easy. The tears were flowing down my face. I spent most of the time in silence, waiting to hear my Heavenly Father speak to me. I heard Him. He was telling me to reach out, not only to seek Him, but to bring some very special people closer to me. I needed accountability to overcome what I was going through. One of the hardest things I had to do was face myself and to lay my heart out to these women. I continued to pray before I picked up my phone to send the first of many text messages. I never realized how much I needed to have Godly women in my life. When I started the process of reaching out, I felt a light come on inside of me. There was a yearning that I hadn’t felt before. I had to humble myself in order to feel God’s presence.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” – 1 Peter 5:6

Admitting that I needed God to combat the demons of darkness that were waging a war in my mind was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Only God could cast out my demons. He is doing just that and I believe He has used my depression to draw me nearer to Him. It’s my fault that I never looked to the heavens first when I was trying to battle depression on my own. I never acknowledged God or even that He had a plan for me.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life searching for my purpose. I have wasted precious time focused on the things I have failed to accomplish. I failed at marriage. I failed at motherhood. I have failed at finding love. I have wasted time on the wrong people, those who loved me for what I could do for them, and when I failed at that, I failed their expectations of me. The bottom line is that I have felt like a failure and that I had no purpose in life.  Boy, was I wrong! The only place where I have truly failed was in not seeking God first in my life.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

By putting God first these past two weeks, I have seen a change in my heart. It doesn’t matter to me if others have seen it; for some people, visualizing change takes time. I’m on God’s time and I refuse to fail Him. I know I will disappoint the people in my life but this time, it does not matter. I am learning to not be so caught up in what others think of me. Over the last two weeks, I have still been searching for a purpose for my life in God’s plan for me. As I walk faithfully towards Him, I know that He will use me to His benefit.

As I take my baby steps, my faith grows. Trust is still a struggle though. I wish I could say that it is difficult to trust in something that I cannot see but I see God every day, in every thing. God isn’t just in the things that we find beautiful; He is in the sunsets and sunrises and bouquets of flowers.  He is also in the thunderstorms and the floods and things that many people find to be ugly. The situation doesn’t matter; God is there!

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21

At one point in my life, I had plans and goals for myself. Each of those plans fell through. Now, my only plan is to look to God for my purpose in this life.  There’s a joke that goes something like this:  If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plansI know there have been a few occasions where I’ve made Him laugh. I’ve tried to plan my life but God has thwarted those plans. He has His reasons. I’ve seen some of those reasons in hindsight. I’ve been protected during those moments.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11

God has protected me in so many ways. He has provided me with a direction that may have seem detrimental to my life but everything I have done has had a purpose. The good, the bad, and the ugly has all been orchestrated by the hands of God. While I have felt like I have failed in the things I had wished to accomplish, the reality is that I’ve only failed God by not looking to Him for guidance. I’m at the point to where I refuse to fail God for the remainder of my days. I do not know my purpose, but I am asking Him to use me however He wants. I’ve turned my life over to God and He will give me a purpose that has prosperity beyond measure.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

I can make all the plans I want. BUT are they the plans God has made for me? My will is not my own. My plans are not my own. My life is not my own.

“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” – Proverbs 54:4

Finishing Well

I used to run. I ran a lot a few years back. I have medals from running 5ks and even a medal from running a half marathon. When I ran these races, I didn’t worry about the time it took for me to finish the course. I simply wanted to finish. I’ve always loved the freedom that running brought to my head. I had mental clarity, my emotions were in check as running was an outlet for my frustrations, and my physical fitness was decent. I haven’t ran in many years and I have excuse upon excuse upon excuse as to why I don’t run anymore. I blame other things instead of accepting responsibility and just doing it. I will have to work on that. I am a work in progress and God isn’t through with me until He tells me it’s time to come home to Him.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24

On June 16, 2020, I started something. I began a renewal of my relationship with God. I have always had God in my life but never have I ever felt His presence more than I do now.  Some events have happened in my life that left me in a state of despair. This situation caused me to learn a few things, some of which are sadly negative and a huge cup of reality, and others have shown me how displaced I really was. The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to not trust people. That’s sad when all we have in life is each other. One thought that was on my mind was about how I’m currently living with my mom. (I’ve had a recurring dream about something I’m not ready to discuss.) When she is gone, I will have no one left. It will be just me and I will die alone.  That is painfully sad. Nobody should ever die alone. We have God but it’s nice to know that we are loved during our time on earth.

I just want to finish the mission God has placed upon me well before I die.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

That’s no small feat! When God put me back on the path to Him, my heart knew that I would have a challenge in front of me. I’m still not sure of what that challenge is or even what my purpose is. I only know of the rewards that await me in heaven. I plan to stay the course and finish strong. In the meantime, I have established goals for myself. The most important goal is to ensure that God comes first. This morning, I got on my knees and prayed. I had to. Something is plaguing me and I have continuously asked God to take it away. This situation that I have asked for removal is like the bratty sibling that constantly wants to invade your privacy when you are with your friends or need to be alone. Even right now, it’s in the back of my mind and I am patiently waiting for God to eradicate it from my brain and heart. But, at the same time, there’s nothing but love there. Painful love.

“pray without ceasing,” – 1 Thessalonians 5:7

I don’t ever stop praying. I prayed for each person I came into contact with yesterday. I prayed for some friends, whom I know are struggling, and I prayed for opportunities to arise so that I can share my relationship with God with them. I have some opportunities coming up! That’s exciting!

When I am struggling or a challenge arises, I want to face it head on and finish strong in my walk with God. I want to embrace my responsibility for my actions and have the ability to humble myself when I’m wrong. While I cannot change the actions I have already committed, I am not a victim of my circumstances. I can be accountable for what I do.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” – Philippians 2:14

There are some things I just absolutely loathe. One of those things is humbling myself to ask for forgiveness. It’s gotten easier as I practice forgiving myself and asking for forgiveness but at the same time, the level of humility I have to accept in order to correct my wrongs can be excruciatingly painful at times. It’s a lesson for my heart though and to keep my walk with God upright.

I think I will always struggle with obedience to God. I know I need to take Philippians 2:14 to heart when I am asked to do something. I need to work on accepting criticism and instruction from others. By being obedient to people like my boss and mother, I am demonstrating obedience to God.

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17

“Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 19:19

I started a race that will last me a lifetime. This time though, God is running beside me. He is encouraging me, uplifting me, humbling me, and through my actions, I will bring Him honor. I want to finish strong. I will finish well.

My Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for being with me at the start of this race. I am grateful for the strength and encouragement that You have provided. I desire to honor You in all my actions and I accept responsibility for my wrongdoings. You are my strength, my hope, and my joy. No one can take that away from me. My eyes are on the prize at the end of the finish line. With Your presence, I will never be alone and will be blessed with the fruits of Your Spirit. You have equipped me with the tools I need to run this race and to finish well. Please help me to reach for You at all times, in all things.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

What is LOVE?

You know you sang the title.

But, what is love? Love means so many different things to so many different people. I’ve heard some women say, “I know my spouse/boyfriend/significant other loves me because they did ___________________________ (fill in the blank)”. Ask my mom how she knows I love her. She will tell you it’s because I cook, do the dishes, carry the laundry downstairs, play with the dog, and do all the heavy lifting around the house. Ask the dog how she knows I love her and she will probably want you to pet her while she nips at your nose. She’s a dog. I give her water, snacks, and force her to go outside. Sometimes we go for walks. I gave her a bath once, in hopes that she would dislike me and not want all of my attention. It didn’t work. That dog thinks I’m the greatest thing since Kraft American sliced cheese (her favorite treat).

What is Godly love? It is the love we give without conditions.

“I love you but…” Ugh! I cannot stand when people say that. If you are expecting something in return for your emotions, then why do you love that person? It’s as if you need to have something in order to give something. The world is full of people who take; why not try to give sometime?

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

I’ve read this verse before. I read it again today. It has a profound impact on the way I love others. I have no expectations. My love has no expectations.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Jesus laid down His life for us – no questions asked. God gave up His Son, whom He sent to earth to do His work, to call His children back to the fold, and to restore a lifeline that had been severed when Eve ate the apple in the garden. There were no arguments when it came time for Jesus to die on the cross. Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus demonstrated love. He asked God to forgive the people.

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'” – Luke 23:34a

Many of the people during that time did not fully comprehend the love that Jesus had for them. Still today, God’s love isn’t easy to understand. Questions like, “if God loved us, why do so many bad things happen in the world?” or “God doesn’t love me. If He did, then why did he take my parent/spouse/child from me?” or the even more popular question, “If God really loved me, then why did He allow _______________________ to die?”

God does love us. He loves you. He loves me. Those above questions stem from the human inability to give unconditional love. Jesus was the epitome of unconditional love when He died on the cross for us. That love is demonstrated in so many personal ways. You may find it in a sunset or a simple cup of coffee. You may even feel it when your child runs up to you when you come home from work.

Physical love is different than emotional love. I used to believe that the only way I could feel someone loved me was through physical gratification. Yes, sex. Physical love is fleeting! It took me many years to stop believing that love was only physical and that if I loved someone, they needed my body. For many years, I believed that if my spouse didn’t have sex with me, then he didn’t love me. Wrong! This way of thinking is so detrimental to a woman’s mental health. It has nearly destroyed me on many occasions.

CONFESSION: I used to meet random guys and have sex with them just so I could feel that I was loved for a moment. I cared about these guys but I didn’t truly love them. After the act was over, I would wrestle with the genuineness of my emotions and mental health. It never ceases to amaze me how that one act can alter the wiring in your brain when it is not done within the bound of marriage as God has ordained.

Several years ago, during my last marriage, I made a conscious decision to emulate Christ’s love for His people. I decided that I would learn how to love unconditionally. At that time, I often heard myself say, “I love you but…” and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to put a price tag on my love for others. Honestly, I don’t think I could put a greater price on my love than the love God has for us. I would die before I gave up the life of a child. Yes, I would give up my life rather than see a child die. I’ve been pretty successful in voicing my unconditional love; I’m still working on demonstrating it. Work in progress, as usual. I’ll get there.

A more recent decision I’ve made is to not have sex again until marriage. I learned a long time ago that sex within the boundaries of a God-ordained marriage is way better than sex outside of marriage. Someone, please hit me in the head if I ever forget that! It won’t be easy, especially because I’m so used to having this in my life. However, it is a very accepted worldly trait. It won’t be easy. Sex is the physical act of love deemed wonderful and beautiful within the boundaries of marriage as God has commanded. Outside of marriage, sex is temporary and unfulfilling. I’m tired of being unfulfilled. So I will wait on God and His perfect timing for love. God’s love for me will last far beyond any feelings I would have here on earth.

“Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:2

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come before you to confess my desire for love in all forms. Please help me to understand how You love me, as You gave up Your Son for me to have a life in heaven with You. Please help me to be strong when temptation arises and not give in to the temporary love that is found on earth. Please continue to teach me how to demonstrate the beauty of Your love and the permanence of the fulfillment found in Your embrace. Allow me opportunities to show my love for others and a continuing obedience to You. You have commanded Your children to love one another and so I shall.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Waiting on Him

I was listening to John Waller’s song While I’m Waiting earlier today…

“I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait”

There are things in this life that my heart desires. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on earth alone. However, if that is God’s will, I will accept it. I’m learning to be patient and wait for my needs to be provided for. One crucial thing: only God can fill the void in a human heart. I won’t ever find comfort in a man’s arms until I can find comfort in God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3

So, I’ve made the decision to wait. Wait for what? I have no idea. But I’m going to wait until God decides to give me what is His Will for me. I already know I will be impatient. I will be frustrated. I may even get angry at times. I could kick, scream, cry, and throw the very same temper-tantrum that a 3 year-old would when they can’t have a cookie. Yes, I am quite capable of doing all those things; after all, I am a child of God.

“I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” – Psalm 69:3

It will be exhausting waiting on God to provide my heart’s desires. Not everything I want in life will be given to me. If it doesn’t jive with what God’s plans are for me, then when I make piss-poor choices, my life will go awry. I already know this, God! I know when I’ve made some really bad decisions and I’ve had to live with the consequences. It has not been fun to untangle the web that I created with my attitude on doing whatever I wanted. If anything it has only served to bring me misery. There. I said it. I’ve been miserable in the choices I’ve made for myself instead of listening to God. What’s ironic about all of this is that that I know that God was watching. He was sitting in the back, where I ushered Him, with His feet propped up and munching on a bowl of popcorn. Yummy. I’m quite certain it has been a very entertaining show so far.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14

I was texting with my friend T this evening, moments before typing this blog. He actually inspired it. Our conversations are always appropriate, God-driven, and nurturing. Tonight’s conversation was no different. T is an incredible man that any God-fearing woman would be blessed to have. Heck! I’m just blessed to call him my friend! T and I met on a dating site. We exchanged a few messages back and forth but it never really went any further than that. In fact, we’ve never met in person.What? Yep. We’ve never met face to face. One of these days we will. God willing! I digress. T and I were discussing relationships and he has assumed that I had gotten married. For the record, I’m not married and I’m not even close to thinking about it right now. My focus is on strengthening my relationship with God. That’s all that matters. T is single too. I told him that he’ll find someone. God has a plan for all of us.

T’s response? “I’m waiting on Him.”

Please, allow me to repeat that… I’m waiting on Him.

This has been my mantra all day.  I want to wait for God. I’ve been praying about that statement all day. But to see it in a text message from T, was all I needed today. The tears came next. I know I put too much stock in having a relationship with a man. Perhaps it’s overrated at this conjuncture in my life. I know what I have to do right now. In this season. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done. Yet, I know it will be the most rewarding. Please, Father, grant me some patience? I’m going to need it as I wait on You. I have to close several doors. I’ve already started doing that and from a physical perspective, it’s been rather refreshing and freeing. I want to stay away from relationships that can create a disturbance in my relationship with God. Is that even possible?

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'” – Mark 10:27

I simply cannot do much of anything without God’s help. I know He is there for me and will remove temptations from my path. He will provide a way out and surround me with His Warriors to protect me when I feel weak. As long as I stay focused and keep my eyes on the rewards that can only be found in heaven, I will wait.

Dearest Father,

You and only You know the deepest desires of my heart. A woman’s heart is as vast as the ocean and often filled beyond capacity. I ask that You guide me as You see fit so that I may strengthen the bond I have with You.  You are my Father and have made me Your daughter. Please teach me patience, just as You have taught me to give unconditional love.Please help me to stay on the narrow path and to fully understand how You are carrying me during the hardest times of my earthly life. I know You have plans for me to prosper, to have peace, and to be loved. My heart knows that You only have the best in mind for me. I ask that You provide Your will for me in Your time.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Living a Lie (Or All of Them)

I’ve been so caught up in things that should not matter in the worldly sense. I’ve become lost. Over the last few weeks I have been in a state of depression. No real rhyme or reason. I’ve accepted it as something that just happens on occasion. I have enough sense to reach out when it gets ugly for me or my actions are not on par with where my brain needs to be. But, I digress, and need to discuss something that has my focus at this time. I hope that my focus will continue on the path I started a few days ago. I’m praying for it.

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” – Proverbs 4:18

It’s not an easy path to walk when you decide to walk with God. God doesn’t promise an easy life. He promises an abundant life. What does that mean? I had to look the word up in the dictionary, surprisingly weird since I do know how to use the word properly in a sentence.  The word abundant,  according to Dictionary.com, means “present in great quantity,” “more than adequate”, and “oversufficient”.  What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that God will give me more life than I know how to handle. He’ll also equip me with what I need to deal with the challenges I face in this earthly world. God will provide an escape when the temptation becomes too great.  He will instill in me a discerning spirit and voice in which to be guided by.  He will be present in all that I do.

I have to learn how to trust in that, instead of believing in the years of lies that I have been ingrained with. It’s those lies that have become my truth and I am just now starting to unravel them. It’s not easy. It’s even harder when you have been let down by the world and the pain within causes you to seek temporal comfort. You see, my personal journey in this life has been to seek the comfort of other human beings. Mostly male. Definitely all very unfulfilling and creating further chasms of unsatisfaction. There is no peace in temporary physical relationships.  I’m learning and while it’s a slow process, I’m starting to shed the negative habits that led me away from God.

There are many things I desire to discuss and bring to light in my life. Where to start? I could discuss the men in my past but first, I need to be honest with myself. I do suck at lying to others but I can lie to myself all day long. It’s because I believe what I’ve been told by those I seek acceptance from. I’m done with the lies. I don’t want to lie to myself anymore, nor do I want to be caught up in the lies of others.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  – James 4:7

The biggest lie I believe is what others tell me I am or who I should be or what I need to do.  I recently ended a friendship because I believed that she was supportive of who I am inside. Truth revealed itself, and when I informed her that I was going through a depression, she stated that I was never there when she needed me. She made my depression about her. Her mother recently passed and I dropped everything to be by her side. I left work, picked up some food, and drove straight to her house. This wasn’t the first time. When I needed to talk about my grandmother, it became a conversation about her boyfriend. I’ve been praying for this relationship for a long time. I had been asking God to encourage me to stay friends with her. That wasn’t His answer. The relationship had become toxic and very one-sided; I wasn’t trusting of her nor did I feel I could tell her everything. I had realized that I had stopped telling her things a long time ago. I just let her assume that her thoughts and opinions of what was happening in my life were correct. I never bothered to correct her. I just allowed her to think her thoughts. I never stood up to her. She believes she knows what happened in my marriages. and I didn’t say a single word to her about them. Even my own mother doesn’t know what transpired. I keep certain things to myself, whether they are truth or a lie.

I’m learning to examine the lies and the environment surrounding them. My heart knows TRUTH. It’s time to let the truth out and show the truth I’ve found in God and His Son, Jesus.

Truth #1: Not everything I hear or see is God’s truth.

It is so easy to manipulate and twist the truth into something that creates a magical world for me. It’s so easy to believe that I can exist in the fake world I created for myself and that it brings me joy.  NOPE!  I tend to become consumed by what is going on around me and I allow myself to believe in things which are false. If I am in a relationship, my world is complete. If I do these things to make him happy, I will be happy. If I look this way or that way in my appearance, I will be attractive and attract the right kind of man.  NO!!  Again, this is all wrong.  I’ve put too much stock in human beings, especially men. Men who are not Godly and only want their own pleasures and desires.

I made a very hard decision for myself a few days ago. I decided to step away from all my male relationships. At least all those that are tinged with romance and sexual desire. My prayers have changed too, when I made this decision. I’ve been praying for the strength to say no to my sexual nature. Whoa! Did I just say that? Yes. I want truth and peace more than anything. I’m praying for God to help me during this time. I need help in dealing with the loneliness that comes from not being in a relationship. I have never been single or alone. I’ve been lonely but I also know in the recesses of my mind, I’ve never been alone. God has always been present.

God IS always present.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

The Darkness of PTSD

PTSD, short for post traumatic stress disorder, comes into a person’s life in a variety of forms. Every person on the planet has encountered someone with PTSD. Perhaps they have it themselves. It is very commonly associated with military, men and women alike. I cannot speak for others, I find myself getting annoyed with those who claim to understand what the military but have never served time in any of the branches of the military. Not many of us civilians have seen what our servicemen and women have seen, so what gives us the right to “understand” what they have experienced? I digress.

I can only speak of what has traumatized me in the short duration of my life and how I’ve learned to cope. I won’t even try to relate to those who have seen the fine art of war, the macabre of death, or the exclusiveness is killing. I simply cannot relate. In all situations, it’s a horror that defies description. Cannot. Be. Explained.

I have been abused. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. I am NOT a victim of those circumstances nor will I allow myself to be victimized again. However, the trauma I experienced has helped me grow as a person. Each situation was different. Each situation left an impression that is unique and distinctive. They allow me to empathize with other women who have been through similar experiences. I chose to take my trauma and learn from it. It was an opportunity to grow and become stronger. Women are strong and resilient.

Every day, I struggle. You can’t see it. You can’t fathom what I’m thinking. You cannot understand the darkness I live in from time to time unless you have personally experienced it for yourself. Today’s struggle has me in darkness.

No, I’m not suicidal. Suicidal people don’t make future plans. Especially not with people they care about and love. I also do not have a plan for that shit.

It’s just a weird dark place where I can’t communicate what’s in my head. I just want to be held. No talking. No words. Someone just wrap their arms around me and let me be. I might cry. I might be stone-still in your arms. Please don’t tell me to suck it up. I’d never say that to you.

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Right now, I’m taking a short trip through that dark valley. I’m not reliving my past but rather, I’m feeling crowded by the darkness swirling in my brain. PTSD, for me, comes with residual darkness. It’s a jumble of negative emotions that rise to the surface of my being. The positivity I try to express on a daily basis can overwhelm me. I cannot be happy-go-lucky all the time. When the darkness emerges, I struggle to contain it. It’s not who I am. It’s not the real me.

Can I cry right now? Will you hold me while I cry? Please don’t tell me that it will be okay. Just be understanding and know that this happens on occasion. All I want to do is cry. Crying helps me. It’s very cleansing for me. Once I’ve shed tears, life resumes some semblance of normalcy. I can be me again.

Wait. I’ve never had anyone hold me while I’ve cried. Strange but true. Not even at a funeral. Sad but true. I wonder if my darkness would be less frequent and shorter-lived if someone did wrap their arms around me. I’ve had others cry on my shoulders. Yet, I’ve never done the same. Perhaps it’s part of my struggle in my darkness.

NaNoWriMo

Okay, folks!  It’s that time of year again where I indulge in self-torment, high quantities of caffeine, demonstrate my ability to not forage for food, and agonize over all the crap that has to be done before I can even sit down to write.

This is your warning.  Your only warning.

I may or may not be blogging at all for the wonderful month of November.  I’m pretty sure my stress levels will be determined by how I have failed to do laundry or dishes or clean the house.  Hopefully my boyfriend will get the hint.  Or not.  I can anticipate him providing me with provisions though, as Adele (or Queen) mourn their tales of woe through my iPhone while the clacking of the keyboard mounts a tempestuous tale of its own. Maybe I’ll include some BlackBriar, Sara Barielles, Ellie Goulding, or Eminem to proffer as the muse for my novel.

Sylvia Plath and Hemingway simply will not do as an audible.  But, by the end of November, I may find myself at the end of a rope.  Not to hang myself with but more as a cliffhanger in anticipation of my next novel.  The line is dangling and the fish are already biting.  I’ve had a few read the first few rough drafts of my current novel.  They are begging for more.  One of them even slapped me on the arm, wanting to know where the rest of it is.  I simply tapped my temple and said, “In here. Locked safely away until next time”.  She was mad at me.  Until I promised her the first signed copy.

She will be getting the very first signed copy.

I’m on the hunt for an editor.  Someone majoring in English Lit at a local college will suffice as long as there is the understanding that I can only pay in coffee or use of my culinary skills.

Yes, I have skills.  Guys like girls with skills.