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.

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.

Falling

Wise men say, only fools rush in

But I can’t help, falling in love with you

That’s such a good song by Elvis Presley.

Are we foolish for falling in love with someone? What makes love foolish? Is love only a game for fools?

It’s easy to love someone. My friend K once said that I am a very easy person to love. Looking back on my life and relationship history, (sorry if I sound narcissistic here), I can see how someone could fall in love with me.

As I’ve gotten older and have experienced the hardships of life, falling in love hasn’t been easy. I’ve been more jaded and cynical about love. I can love someone I care about fairly easy but it’s a different kind of love. It’s a way for me to say “I care about you”, “I’m concerned about your wellbeing”, or “I want to know what is going on in your life”.

It’s not necessarily about romantic love and intimacy. It’s a way for me to draw closer to those I genuinely care about.

I’ve surrounded myself with an invisible wall over the last several years. My heart has been barricaded and I’ve not had a reason to take a sledgehammer to the bricks. It’s as if a cast-iron chastity cage has been erected and oxidized with no hope for rusty disintegration.

Love is a risk. I believe my walls have come down, brick by brick but the cage is still around my heart.

Am I a fool for falling? Or is it the wisest thing I could do for an amazing man who deserves my whole heart?

What Is Love? Pt. 2

My boyfriend and I had the following conversation last night:

I’ve spent most of today thinking about what love means to me. I’ve come to believe love is circular in many ways. Think about it for a moment…

A wedding band is a never ending circle demonstrating the emotional bond between two people. Love is two hearts sharing a single beat. Does your heart skip a beat when you look at your significant other? Mine does. Perhaps it’s my heartbeat syncing with his as I fall in love.

Love can be symbolized in many ways. It is often seen in the form of a heart. When love, we’re supposed to love with all our heart, right? The symbolism of the heart equating to love began in the 15th century. It’s a great way to write love. Red roses also represent love.

For me, after much thought, love is more of a demonstration rather than the verbal or written word. My boyfriend shows me his love (maybe I shouldn’t use that word just yet in regards to him yet) by doing little things for me. He holds my hand when we walk through a store or at the movies. He holds me when I need to be held, without even saying a word. He came to see me this past weekend after the horrible week I had. I didn’t ask him to but he knew I needed to feel how much he genuinely cares for me.

He’s filled my gas tank on more than one occasion. That demonstrated so much of how he feels about me. Case in point – I drove nearly everywhere and my ex never once offered to pay for gas. Not even for the 45 minute one way drive to pick up his ex-stepdaughter. Sad.

Gifts from the heart are great for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas but they don’t truly symbolize what love is. Material goods are not a replacement for real love.

Actions speak louder than words. The same goes for love. Anyone can say the words. They’re just words. Do they have meaning? Yes. When said at the right time and in the right context, those three little words have a powerful impact on its recipient.

Love is a very strong emotion. It is possible to love unconditionally. I mean more than just your child.

Love is the ability to give all of yourself, every fiber of your being to another person. It is the internal swelling of your heart when you look at him. It is in the way you kiss – kissing him like you miss him, even when he was simply in the next room. It’s resting your head on his shoulder and holding his hand while watching television.

It is communication. It is finding the words to lift each other up, especially during arguments. It is being supportive during hard times. It is finding the time to just be imperfect together. Nobody is perfect.

Love is a learning process.

It is the process of two hearts becoming one.

He Sees Me

The darkness has turned to light

The cup of joy overflows into a river of happiness long overdue

Tides of a ripple effect, washes over my heart

He sees me

The whole of my heart, bathed in light

His care is for me alone, as I walk with trepidation for the new-founded love

He sees me

Unabridged, unedited, raw with hidden emotions and an unbridled yearning

My heart has waited, patiently, to feel the strength of a single beat in unison

He sees me, for all that I am

He sees me, for who I am and what I will become

He sees me

My Fight Song

I didn’t sleep well last night. Instead, I mulled over the last two years of my life and how this song by Rachel Platten fits where I am right now.

Like a small boat on the ocean
Sending big waves into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

I am small but I am gaining strength in ways I never imagined. I created incredible waves when I made the decision to move out on my own. It’s not been without its challenges. However, I did set fire to the bridge. At this point, I believe it’s the wisest thing I’ve ever done.

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

Actions speak louder than words. It didn’t matter how many times I repeated myself. Brick walls never change. I saw actions that spoke volumes and established where I stood in another person’s life. I was alone, facing a stone wall.

This is my fight song
Take-back-my-life song
Prove-I’m-alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care
If nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got
A lot of fight left in me

I took back MY life! I feel like I am returning to who I truly am as a daughter of God. I am becoming me again. All those things that attracted others, were destroyed over time during the last two years.

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep

Everybody’s worried about me

In too deep they say I’m in too deep (in too deep)

And it’s been two years

I miss my home

But there’s a fire burning in my bones

Still believe

Yeah, I still believe

I know who I am. I know what I want. I grow stronger in my convictions every day. If someone can not handle it, they can walk away but please be truthful about it.

I did lose friends. I lost sleep.

Those who loved me were worried. They tried to express their concerns. They were talking to a crumbling brick wall. The wall has come down. The gloves have come on. I’m fighting. I’m fighting to have back what I had lost. I lost more than I gained though.

I had lost not only my friends and those that have truly loved me my entire life, but most importantly, I had lost myself. I had lost the woman I had blossomed into. The woman I never discovered until I was well into my 30’s.

My power is turned on. The beast is on fire to awaken my return.

I can guarantee this – No one will ever destroy me again.