Words Matter– Spoken and Unspoken

Have you ever stood out on the beach and just yelled into the wind? Did anyone hear you?

Social Media traffic is the online wind, tainted by “deboosting”, “algorithms”, “shadowbanning” and the bias of those enforcing them.

That’s a part of what I’m thinking of as I type this on my Social Media platform.

But, it’s more than that.

For me there has been a recurring theme of a sense of being unheard, undervalued, even unseen.

I found at times I could use that to my advantage in a defensive/protective kind of way– I could leave a room and not be missed. I could stay quiet and no one notices or tries to talk with me.

I can’t begin to describe that deep lonliness I’ve just learned to live with.

Why don’t some people want to hear me?

Some are so engrossed with what they want to say, others are lost under the clutter of words, ideas and opinions.

Writing has been my out-source. Sometimes I feel free to say whatever I want to say.

Except I’m not.

Because what if someone reads something they find offensive or hurtful?

It’s always about everyone else.

What about me? Do I ever get to just talk and be heard?

When can I openly share my heart and concerns?

I could tell some crazy and awesome stories!

I could even share bits of wisdom from firsthand experiences.

I think I’m pretty funny. (Don’t ask my husband though, lol!)

I’m pretty creative.

My topics of passion and pet peeves have “evolved” through experiences, trials and life lessons learned from that popular school of “hard knocks”.

One thing has always gotten me through the silent times, the emptiness, and the “I don’t quite fit ins”.

Answered prayer.

Because when no one sees me, hears me, or values my input or presence– God always has. And He has always let me know.

I’ve seen Him transform lives. I’ve seen Him heal people– He even healed me! I’ve seen miracles!

It’s sad that some will just never know what God has done because they won’t stop talking and listen to others.

Talking has always been a struggle for me. The anxiety after talking in a group setting is suffocating. Did I say too much? Did I talk too long? Did what I say make any sort of a difference to anyone? My spirit feels anxious, restless, even worried.

I know this problem is not with others– not most of it.

It’s how I react, how I relate, how I believe I’ll be received.

Or rejected.

Having been told I was “in God’s way” from someone who’s opinion I deeply valued has had an almost crippling affect on my life.

Having been told that I’m “poor in spirit” has stuck with me through decades of church relationships and church leadership. I think that’s because I’ve heard so little to counter-balance and cancel that out.

Where Scripture has admonished us to build up one another– I’m not a “one another” worthy of that, it appears to me.

Tearing down is for strongholds, not for people. Not ever for people.

I’m guilty of having torn others down in my past.

I guess it’s taken feeling like that outcast that helped me wisen up and learn the necessity of speaking life– and life abundantly– to one another.

This is my invisible enemy that fights me often. I wrestle not with flesh and blood– I know this too well.

I have people I do talk to, though my list is growing smaller by the year.

There will, however, always be One on that list. That is in no way a sad or depressing thing. I have the ear and attention of God attuned towards me. That is humbling– so very humbling.

Awoken

Have you ever told the truth, then had to try to prove you were telling the truth, about something that no one wanted to believe?

I have.

Have you ever been called a liar by people who knew you were telling the truth, to others who did not? And the others not only believed you were lying, they punished and rejected you because of it?

I have.

Have you ever had your character slandered, purposefully, just to protect the actions of someone else?

I have.

I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, with a passionate fire in my bones– I know President Trump has been put into that situation a million times worse than I experienced.

I hated being put in that position.

I despise with every fiber of my being what is being done to President Trump’s character and his family.

I’m not talking about his past life of bad decisions and unChristian choices.

I’m talking about now. How he has stepped up to do what no other President has ever done, by listening to the concerns of people, like myself, who have been shut down and ignored for years, decades– for some of us our entire years of understanding.

I am deeply grieved that so many will not simply take a step back and see what is actually happening. The slander of the media, the political attacks from all sides against President Trump and his family.

I am even more grieved that Christians cannot accept or recognize where God is working through the actions of this President and his administration.

People are being set free– in record numbers– from human trafficking.

Most of those people are children and women– the two groups the opposing party claims to “champion”.

I had to write this, because I am so deeply troubled by a lack of compassion and ability to see God through the smoke and mirrors people opposing this man and his prayerful, praying choices are constantly tainted and painted with.

Please– wake up. Ask God what the truth is, because He will show you.

I may not have accurate knowledge of everything– and I don’t– but I firmly believe at the heart of President Trump is a man who simply wants to fix what Americans cannot fix, for Americans.

He has the vision God gave to our Founding Fathers.

If you truly trust God, you will learn through His Spirit that you can trust President Trump.

He needs our prayers and our support.

Regardless of your belief about him, as Christians we all need to be praying, unbiased, that God’s Will and Purposes be accomplished through him and his administration, and for his and their continued protection.

Pray that those mountains of obstacles be removed from the path God wants President Trump to plow through.

Don’t pray for him to fail– that is not God’s Will.

God is blessing our Nation through President Trump– like He blessed mankind through imperfect King David and his bloodline.

Please– ask God to show you the truth in all that is happening.

“Call unto me and I will answer you and I will show you great and marvelous things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

As Christians, all of us need to seek Him for the truth. Because if we don’t– we may be allowing ourselves to get caught up in a snare of lies and deception. And that’s on all sides of the political spectrum! God wants us to dwell in the truth— at all times. Not in our opinions or our fears that we may be wrong if we decide to believe what others say.

I was telling the truth.

Others chose to believe I was lying.

I was defensless.

I was punished and rejected.

I recognize the fruit of this pattern happening now with President Trump.

My spirit bears witness with his.

Trump deserves to be treated with Grace by every Christian.

I hope you will seek God with all you have, surrendering your opinions and your prejudices, and let God wash your understanding with the truth.

Because– He will.

One Size Fits… Um No

I confess– I have a tendency to be a serial unasked-for advice giver. I can’t help it. I know others can glean from my experience-gained wisdom. Right?

Except that’s never how it’s taken.

If I’m honest, it’s also not how I take it from others, either, even though I try to be polite and respectful.

The old cliche’ about judging a book by its cover fits here well. How often do we hear or read something someone says and opine that we know the solution to their problem? After all– it worked for us, so it will work 1000000% for all– right?

Well, no. It won’t.

Nothing about me or my life is ever a one-size-fits-all fit.

Even Scripture is not a one-size-fits-all life application. I mean– it is– but it applies in endless ways. Some Scripture is the same for everyone. Like John 3:16-17. And most Scripture will help us achieve the same outcome as others, but it applies individually and uniquely over every life it touches.

Because it’s the Living Word of God.

It’s not a one-size-fits-most bandaid or covering. It’s the healing/repair balm uniquely designed to fit our specific needs.

God’s Word is not reactionary to us, it’s designed for us to respond to it.

Unlike our random acts of unasked-for advice-giving.

I have so much more to learn about letting God love others through me.

His ways are so much better than mine.

What I Wish Some Understood About Sexual Abuse Survivors

We live in a world full of people with as many backgrounds as there are people. No two are completely alike. In this mix, there are abusers, abuse survivors and the unaware.

The category I fit into is abuse survivor. I was molested as a child, harassed as a teen and young adult, and raped as an adult by someone I believed I could trust.

It’s been quite a few years since it all happened to me, and it surprises me to see how it still affects my thinking of myself. 

So, I’m going to address some of those things that I’ve learned, and some of the attitudes I’ve dealt with.

1) Rape and sexual harassment is never funny to a survivor. It’s never a light topic, it’s not something to be joked about. Words do matter— they conjure up memories— sometimes traumatic ones with deep emotions attached.

2) No, we can’t just get over it. Something was stolen from us, trust was violated, our spirit has been bruised. Healing over time happens but, often invisible to the natural eye, emotional scars remain. 

3) We grieve over the robbery of our innocence. 

4) Our body was attacked, and our bodies react to that— often through eating disorders, or even gaining weight in an attempt to self-protect. Stop the body shaming, they probably have some history of sexual abuse! 

5) We are often more sensitive to criticism because many of us have an unconscious belief there must be something wrong with us for someone to hurt us so badly.

As a Christian I rely on God to be my Comfort and my Strength, but sometimes I wish I could rely on my brothers and sisters in Christ more. Relationships aren’t often easy for me to form because I still, even after so many years of God restoring what the locusts had eaten, I still have trust cautions. 

All I hope to get across through this post is to encourage others to become aware. Be kind and sensitive. Hold back on criticisms. 

What’s Sexism Got To Do With It?

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What does every woman want, universally? Is it to be a “sex symbol”? To be loved by everyone? Is it to be known as the prettiest? The friendliest? How about the smartest?

On the surface, every one of these may fit. But, what’s at the heart of it?

I believe it’s simple acknowledgement of our accomplishments, talents, gifts and hard work. To be taken seriously. To appreciate our contributions. To be loved for the individual we are

Without giving us the “gender” handicap.

With all the Hollywood happenings and exposures lately, my thoughts have returned to my past issues of running into sexism. Whether it was about being a “woman driver“, “too emotional“, treated as if I were “too delicate” to lift weights or as though I were ridiculous to think I could do the “man’s job” the USAF trained me to do, as a civilian– or as though I were a stupid female for making mistakes– I have experienced sexism many, many times, in many, many ways. And– not always from men!

I have overcome it, for the most part anyway, by meeting it head on and challenging those who think I need to be suppressed in my desire to prove I can do nearly everything a man can do– as well, if not better– than men can.

We’ve allowed Hollywood, Hugh Heffner, and Larry Flynt to shape our views on women. They’ve brainwashed us into dehumanizing and minimizing all females into categories of size, looks, and potential popularity– all the while overpowering and/or capitalizing on each victim they’ve chosen.

Hollywood has created this system of failing demand– and we have allowed the land of make-believe to convince us it’s reality.

What is it you love about your spouse, if you are married? If looks and size changed, would you still love them and be attracted to them?

When we watch movies and shows, we are seeing things through the writers’, directors’ and producers’ eyes and imagination. Since we are looking through their biased and skewed perceptions, we may as well be placing scales over our own eyes.

Women want to fight back, but so many are misdirected. It’s not everyday men we need to fight against, it’s the lie sold to them and the people selling the lies. It’s the Harvey Weinsteins, the Anthony Weiners, the perverts changing laws to allow more perversions– like Governor Brown in California. Those are the ones we need to focus on, and then the rest will be small potatoes– easy to ignore and walk away from as we just live our lives and fulfill our vision and God’s vision for our lives.

In the world, there are separations based on all sorts of differences.

In Christ, there should not be.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

 

Survivors Are The Strong Heartbeat Of Our Nation

I am a survivor.

I survived childhood trauma, dealt with it and moved on. -Taught me how to be a better parent for my kids.

I survived life with a mentally ill parent. -Taught me the importance of trusting God for who would father my own children.

I survived nearly dying from alcohol poisoning. -Taught me I got a second chance, life is a precious gift, and there are reasons to limit alcohol in-take.

I survived emotional, physical and yes– mental– abuse in my first marriage. -Taught me to appreciate those who treat me as God wants them to treat me.

I survived divorce. -I learned to pay attention to details about who I married next.

I survived date-rape. -I learned to not be so trusting, and eventually how to forgive someone who did something so horrible to me.

I survived remaking my life choices. -I am a better person today.

I survived Basic Military Training– which for some was no problem, but for myself triggered many raw childhood emotional scars. -Taught me I could do whatever tough thing I set my mind to.

I survived moving to another country all by myself. -Taught me I am capable of adapting to new environments and situations.

I survived being deployed to the Middle East with bomb threats, violent threats towards me from a local man–  as the only woman in charge of men who hated me because of my gender and my Christian faith. -I am stronger and more resilient than I even know.

I survived and overcame PTSD. -I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus Who is my strength.

I survived being laughed at because of my gender as I applied for a job I was qualified to do. -I learned to dust myself off and find a job where I was treated with respect.

I’ve survived unfair and inaccurate slander about me and to my face. -Taught me how to know who I can trust.

I’ve survived unforgiveness for mistakes I tried to make up for with relatives. -Taught me to forgive and do my best to make better decisions, not just out of wanting to help.

I’ve survived unfair judgement. -Taught me people may never be fair, but God’s Judgement is always fair.

I survived being fat-shamed. -I can hold my head up even amongst the small-minded.

I survived anorexia. -Taught me I’m not attached to any label– anorexia no longer “owns” me.

I survived losing loved ones to tragic or natural causes. -Taught me that relationships are more valuable than I often realize.

I’m a survivor of Mt. St. Helens. -Taught me about a volcano near where I lived, and what it’s capable of doing when it erupts.

I survived an attack from a “domesticated” mountain lion– have the scars in my scalp to prove it. -Taught me never to trust dangerous wildlife at any age as a pet.

I survived natural childbirth without any drugs– 3 times. -Taught me how to push through and embrace pain, rather than cringe and try to hide from it. Pain actually serves an important purpose.

I survived emergency gall-bladder removal surgery. -Taught me I didn’t need to rely on drugs for pain so I could again nurse. I valued being able to nurse my baby afterwards even more.

I’ve survived several deployments without my husband, while living in a foreign country far away from family. -Each has taught me I can be self-sufficient when necessary, the importance of schedules for my kids, and how much I value my husband being home with us.

As a survivor of so many things, I in turn have sought to help others as I would have wanted help from someone.

I’ve helped 2 guys violently threatening their own lives with knives, one cost me a hospital visit and stitches in my hand.

I’ve counseled many people, and helped those who wanted help, over the past 3 decades, to find their inner strength– GOD– and turn their focus to surviving and thriving, and to walk away from self-destructive behaviors and thoughts.

I no longer see young survivors that seek truth and the betterment of society. That concerns me deeply.

What’s the deal with all these people who are having a meltdown over a Presidential election?

I survived 8 years of Obama blowing off and ignoring everything that seriously concerned me, and I didn’t have an emotional meltdown. I did, however, have a personal time of mourning the future deaths of so many human babies. I have kept my eyes open and myself informed of important things. I have given voice to concerns and passed on information I believe is important for others to be aware of.

I’ve been a part of the healthy vein of our Nation.

The in-Dems-pocket media force has our young adult generation so afraid, and believing outrageous lies like anyone not with the Dems is for racism, or whatever the current slanderous  word-of-the-day is injected into their malleable minds. There are actual outside forces doing everything possible to stoke and stir-up emotions and irrational actions– some are even paid professionals. That’s been proven.

If these are our Nation’s future leaders, our country is in trouble. These aren’t survivors.  These have been programmed and controlled as puppets of a monster political organization that does not care about them in the least, to have a “victim” mentality. Where is their discernment?

I used to also be a controlled-programmed “victim-mentality” puppet of the Dems. Until I woke up.

I hope they all wake up before it’s too late.

I wish they could see they are being played.

Happy Birthday, United States Air Force– What Is There To Even Celebrate Now?

As a veteran and military spouse with 22 years of Air Force experience, what can I say about my beloved branch of service on its 69th birthday?

I was proud the day I stepped out of MEPS with a promised new, exciting yet completely unknown future.

At 24, after a failed marriage to a man who was abusive and mean, I was beginning a new life– one I’d be proud to say I’ve lived.

I think I was a joke to my first recruiter, but I found another recruiter who took me seriously and helped me find my door out of the destructive life going nowhere that I’d made for myself.

To the Air Force, I was a female body filling an empty spot in a predominantly male career field. I had high expectations of learning my job, being trained exceptionally. I trained waitresses before I enlisted, and I expected at least that same level of professionalism and depth. My expectations were not met– it wasn’t even close. I was a female after all– someone to flirt with, try to date, but keep at arms-length in what was, after all, just a man’s job.

I’d faced that challenge my whole life with relatives that mocked my efforts because of my gender, as though I were less than any male.

I rose to the gender challenge in school by taking a car repair class, acing it. I knew my way around a car engine, transmission and a/c– you know, back in the day when things were repaired and replaced, not sent to someone to fix or throw out.

I fought against that whole “weak girl” mentality, and the Air Force decided to throw me into that, once again. I was left at job sites by my supervisor, to figure things out without his help, tools or replacement parts. My 25th birthday was spent alone in my dorm room until my supervisor called me to go on a call at the dorm next to mine. The lighting was nearly non-existent  outside, and as I was walking, I didn’t see a step in the sidewalk, and fell. I got up, and not realizing I had a concussion from the fall, I went to try to stop a broken shower. I had no user’s manual, no training, and no supervisor taking me through the troubleshooting steps to fix it. 45 minutes later my supervisor finally showed up, disappointed that I hadn’t magically solved the problem. I went back to my dorm, finished that birthday by falling asleep. A week later I went to the doctor because my head had been hurting since I fell, and that’s when I learned I had a concussion. God still had plans for me, even if my co-workers thought I was just a waste of space in their career.

I’d love to say there were many high points, but I was constantly held back. One guy even became my supervisor, after being turned down over the phone for a date. I’d never seen him face-to-face, so I didn’t realize who he was until my career was nearly ruined. As soon as I figured it out, I changed supervisors and shops, but he had already said too much negative about me, gave me a bad EPR and convinced me I needed to work on my CDCs rather than drive around to jobs we never had the parts to actually fix. My personal challenge was a ruined opportunity, I’d never make Msgt by 13-14 years. I also no longer cared.

After that, I learned the outdoor part of my job. I had better opportunities at being trained, and hands-on repairs. I learned a lot and I worked hard physically. It was a better fit for me, but my shop boss hated me and I got another low EPR because he didn’t agree with the positive things my new supervisor reported in it. My shop boss never actually went to my job sites and saw how hard I worked, or how good I had become at everything I was given the opportunity to actually do with the right parts, tools, and training.

I received orders, so I moved to another base. I wasn’t hated because of my gender, this time I was too delicate to do my job. I was given jobs like painting, hammering a few nails in, controlling and sitting-in for my commander’s secretary. I volunteered to deploy to the desert, and my leadership nearly had a heart attack! They fought me on it, tried to keep me from going, but no one else was volunteering. So I went. But, not to do my actual job. No. I was an escort for the local nationals. And then, because I couldn’t be alone with the local nationals, because I’m a girl, I was put at the gate for 12-16 hour days, in charge of who was allowed in. Over Muslim men. You can probably guess how good that went over. Besides the fact that I was a girl, I was a girl that drove, told men what to do, and read her Bible openly in front of men. Now, I had no idea women weren’t allowed to read religious stuff, and as a Christian I read my Bible because I needed God’s encouragement and wisdom to handle some difficult people and situations– like bomb threats and air tests, and men who hated me, refusing to follow my instructions without cops threatening to pull out their guns telling them they had to do what I said.

Anyway– that was much of my enlisted experience, though definitely not all.

As a spouse, I’ve endured 18 years of constant changing plans and the results of the spectrum of various leaders my husband has worked for- from awesome to abusive at times. We have been blessed, and most of the time he has had awesome local leadership. Though it often feels like he’s away more than he’s here, we have had it better than many.

His extended leadership has gotten worse, though. Most of the time they’re clueless about what they put their people, and their people’s families, through. They are uninformed, and “yes men”, not professional enough to get needed information or listen to the needs and complaints of the workforce they are near breaking.

It’s not unlike Benghazi, where they are communicating needs, concerns, and asking for more bodies– but being ignored, blown off, and having more work than is even possible dumped on them. I have watched my good-natured husband, who has already put his 20 in, in a much needed career field, be crushed by unrealistic expectations, pushing of regulations, as well as physical and mental exhaustion to the point he falls asleep as soon as he gets home some nights. His schedule is all over the place, he has no time or energy to keep up with the rigid demands of PT because the nature of his job is already far too physically and mentally demanding.

And now, we celebrate the birthday of a force to be reckoned with– by its own people. From leadership that sexually abuses and assaults those lower-ranking than themselves, getting a “pass” from being held accountable, to leadership that has no clue what they are putting their people through– this year, I’m not celebrating the birthday of my beloved Air Force.

This year, I mourn its self-destruction, from the inside-out.

Fighting An Invisible Enemy

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I have an invisible enemy. I’ve fought against it for as long as I can remember. This enemy does not fight fair. It hides in the shadows. I have exhausted myself many times throughout my lifetime trying to fight back, but it dodges every retaliatory jab.

My enemy catches me off-guard, though less often now. It strikes with the intention of crippling my efforts. It dismantles my credibility. Mocks my accomplishments, experience and concerns, rendering them invaluable– useless. It attempts to define me as “too emotional”, “uneducated”, “ridiculous” or “ignorant”. It laughs at me, or rolls its eyes with a sarcastic dismissal of my importance.

It steals my confidence– tries to steal my joy.

I’ve learned to stand back and just observe how this enemy attacks and come to recognize that part of its victory over me has been through the use of decoys. It’s as though I am blindfolded, and I think I know its location through a sound or a movement. But, when I attempt to retaliate, I punch through thin air, exhausting– even injuring– myself in the process.

It’s impossible to fight this enemy.

In an effort of self-protection, I surround myself with people who have proven their trustworthiness to me over time. People who value me and don’t laugh at my creativity, experience, or blow off my concerns. Sometimes those people disappoint me.

I have begun to realize, the best way to defeat this enemy is to guard myself during its assailment and then assess the damage.

The damage hardest to overcome or heal from is the friendly fire. I know my visible enemies will not care about or recognize the truth over their opinion of me, so their words no longer hurt me. But, those closest to me– their opinion becomes the fiery darts my enemy uses to go straight to my heart.

When I remember to hide in the shadow of God’s wings, the damage is minimal, often non-existent.  Psalm 63:7 reminds me: “For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy”. Hosea 14:7 encourages me that:  “Those who live in his shadow Will again raise grain, And they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon”.

Then I know, the only thing that ever matters is God. He sees all, knows all, and He’s with me every step of the way, guiding me with the light of His Word, working through me regardless of how useless or unimportant any person believes me to be.

God is my strength, and He helps me defeat the intentions of my invisible enemy, by praying and believing God’s Word– His promises. Every time.

The Spiritual Damage Of Anorexia

I’m a former anorexic and bulimic, reformed through Christ. This post has been a long time coming.

To look at me now you can’t tell I was near death at one point from practicing anorexia.

The Spiritual consequence is what I want to get into with this post. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about that before.

Fasting is an important part of our growing relationship with God. When we fast unto God, we deny our flesh to set aside our physical wants and needs temporarily to focus on seeking God. We fast to repent, seek God, grow in our faith and understanding, and to actively put Him completely first. The focus is God, not our body, not the avoidance of food.

Anorexia is a tool the devil uses to corrupt that. Fasting not only becomes an obsessive practice of focus on ourselves. Opportunities open for the demonic to gain footholds in our lives, choices, beliefs, vision, perspective and practices. The devil sells us the idea we can obtain perfection.

When Jesus is our Lord and Savior, God sees us as perfect because Christ is in us.

Through the practice of Anorexia, the devil causes deformity within our spirits and our understanding. The devil clouds our vision, and converts our perception to a distorted view and belief system– the belief that our body is the enemy we need to fight against.

The Bible is clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood. We are transformed through the renewing of our minds, new creations through Christ Jesus.

Striving for perfection, we work hard for acceptance and approval of the world. But like a small kid in a game of Keep Away, or Monkey In The Middle, we never lay hold of it. The constant effort steals focus, energy, confidence– reality. The bar gets raised higher. It’s always just… out of…

Reach

God accepts and approves of us because of Jesus. We don’t have to prove our worth to Him because Jesus showed us how much He values us by dying on the cross, and rising up again. We are wanted, welcomed by God.

Jesus made it possible to have acceptance from our Creator. We can have a relationship with Perfection Himself, and He is working to make us the best version of ourselves– for His glory.

We have a choice: We can work really hard for a distorted version of perfection that’s never within reach. Or we can rest in God’s approval and meet Him in the changes He makes as He perfects us His way.

I have experienced both. I prefer God’s way.

Dark Reflection: Looking At The Painful Past

I hate looking at my past. I hate remembering. I have set out so many times to write “my story”, but something always blocks me.

I think it might be “this” me hating the “old” me.

I don’t want to look at it through my memories.

Why would you?

Today my youngest was playing with a rubber band, joking about shooting it at me. Even something as silly and simple as that reminds me, like a scar reminds us of a painful wound.

What is the big deal about shooting a rubber band, right? If you could look into my memory, and “feel” with my emotions, you’d know. You might even hate it, too.

You’d see the man who molested me, aiming then shooting a rubber band at my butt as I laid on the couch watching tv. You’d feel the sudden surge of rage consume what might have been a semi-peaceful moment. You’d watch my leg shoot out, my foot connect to the back of his knee as he walked by. Full rage force. Knocking him off his balance.

The rest of that day is a black hole.

One thing I really want people to understand is that I don’t live in my past. I don’t need advice on how to forgive or heal. I have overcome tremendous odds, and I only have God to thank. My experience has often been that those who hear what I’ve been through assume I need their help, that I’m asking for help or advice.

I share my story because it’s God’s testimony of Him transforming an ugly duckling into a swan– the traumatically-challenged, nearly bitter woman into a trusting Christian.

If this encourages you, I’ve accomplished what I never used to believe I could. If it hits home, I am deeply sorry.

Please feel free to use the comments section to tell how God helped you heal or overcome a troubled, painful past. We all need to hear more about what God is doing to heal the broken-hearted; to set the captive free, transforming us into the likeness of Christ.

Why My Defensiveness Is A Reflex Reaction For Me With Some

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Last night, I had the most wonderful time having dinner, talking, then just listening to a dear friend. I learned so much about her, things I never would have guessed! It’s even easier to see why she is such a beautiful, loving, sincerely kind woman of God.

As is the usual case with me, it’s also hard to not also see that deep contrast between her life and my own.

Again I come face-to-face with why I have often felt a type of rejection from some I’ve hoped to get to know. I’m no Miss Congeniality or Miss Anything.

Often in my lifetime I’ve been left feeling as though I’m not worth people’s time. Some of that is cultural, sure. Some of it is personality-clash. I can be abrasive. I’ve even been described as a “bull in a China shop”.

There aren’t many “boxes” I allow myself to be put in. I tend to fail under heavy-handed expectations. I am as God designed me, also molded from my unique life experiences, which also at times have borne the weight of heavy-handed expectations.

I have learned that not everyone is alike, not everyone does things the same, or reacts to expectation the same way.

I probably will never meet any human’s expectation.

I can only try to meet God’s. And, I fail… All. The. Time.

One of the toughest things to put into practice is listening when it feels like you are not heard by others– that’s where my reaction of defensiveness tries to overtake me.

My life is full of many amazing, even some miraculous testimonies of God’s work.

It’s easy to focus on things that happened because God was not in the circumstances. It’s best to focus on contrasts caused by God’s healing, intervention, love, kindness, miracles and His Mercy.

While the contrast between our lives is somewhat vast, my friend and I have one very important thing that is similar– the knowledge of Who God Is in contrast to who we are and how amazing it is that He loves us.

Why I Am This Way, And How It Applies To My Dating Daughter

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I grew up a fighter. At a time when women were belittled– not taken seriously while harassed for wanting to break out of the “norm” set for us by men– I decided not to just accept that, but to push past it. I have dealt with that issue head-on for many years now. From a grandpa who refused to call me by my given name because it was a “boys name”, to being treated as an emotional idiot, I have learned how to stand my ground and not ever just take what someone has dished out.

I’ve fought for jobs that “girls aren’t hired for”, and won. The pizza place that refused to hire me to work in the kitchen because “girls only work as cashiers and hostesses”– I worked in the kitchen. The Air Force recruiter who thought I should enlist to be a cook– I became a plumber. The plumbing shop owner who laughed at this female Veteran AirForce  plumber– because “girls don’t get hired as plumbers”– I was hired by someone to help with their in-house plumbing problems. (Nevermind that I had mostly worked on Japanese plumbing, and as a side-effort, I tried to help my aunt in her older house. Let’s just say, I screwed that up REALLY bad! That’s one of my biggest regrets.) 

I drove heavy machinery in Korea when women still didn’t drive there. I drove a Humvee in the middle-east where women aren’t allowed to drive.

When I am backed into a corner and told I can’t do something just because I’m a girl– watch me do just that.

I don’t deal with that so much anymore, as a military spouse and stay at home mom.

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Now, I’m dealing with a new kind of thing– I’m now the teen girlfriend’s mom. Oh yes. So far her boyfriend has referred to me as not knowing what I’m talking about, and childish. This 18 year old boy that I am allowing my 16 year old daughter to date– with getting-stricter monitoring.

He has some nerve! I am struggling to not take my “childish” attitude and sever his relationship with my daughter!

How do I get it across to my daughter that how he treats me and his own mother will be how he treats her, once they move past all the hormonal ushy-gushy crap?

I am angry that he has the nerve to say things like that about me.

I am concerned that he does not have a relationship with Jesus at all. I want to put a stop to them dating, but at the same time, she is not going to learn important life lessons if I do that.

I am uncomfortable with my daughter dating him at all. Very uncomfortable.

So, the fighter in me has taken to prayer and sobering interaction.

I am accountable to God for my daughter. I will not take that lightly, but I’m not going to give into the temptation to “fight” with her boyfriend. I’m gonna let God fight that battle for me.

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I Once Was Not A Christian

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I have had a lot of experiences in my lifetime. Way too many to write about here. I’ll break it down into two parts: Before Christ and After Christ. I’ll even throw in some Why I CHOSE Christ, for added tangibility.

So, BC:

I was born into a family that loved me, but that love didn’t create a safe, warm, snugly, nurturing environment. We are often hurt the worst by those that love us, and that was certainly the case for me. Do I need to go into details of abuse? Goodness, I hope not, but I’ll touch on a few of the “highlights” of my BC life:

I was sexually, emotionally and mentally abused by my dad. Maybe he treated me better than his dad treated him, but I HIGHLY doubt it because my dad was mentally ill. I don’t mean the catch-phrased quirky kind that seems acceptable, or even coveted by some in our modern society. He was severely mentally ill. I think I can honestly say I’m one of very few who watched their dad try to beat their mom to death as she laid huddled in a fetal-ball beneath him, his fist pounding into her temple. On Mother’s Day. Then there was my dad escaping the mental hospital hundreds of miles away, hitchhiking to try to come back and finish killing her. There was lots of yelling in my house, sometimes my dad even acknowledged I existed and he yelled at me. Once he punched me in the jaw, which made it painful for me to hold my violin for a few weeks.

As a result, I was a pretty screwed-up kid and I nearly died when I was 16 because of my own stupidity.

Let me just say this: I lived in a house of horror because of mental illness as a child. There is NOTHING in Christianity that comes even close to actual mental illness.

Thankfully I got to spend the summers with my grandparents, who were Christians. Things weren’t perfect there, but they were better.

I hated myself for bad decisions I made.

So at 20 I made another decision future me would hate: I married  someone I had convinced myself was “my best friend”. The problem was, I only knew him a short time before we married. The other problem I didn’t realize yet was: we were not equally yoked. He was not a Believer.

Trust me when I tell you that, yes, that absolutely does make a tremendous difference. Not only could I not share my faith with him and grow with him in that, he did not value me as God would help him if he were a Christian.

My ex-husband was abusive to me. Much like my dad, though not exactly to the same degree. But, there was also more aspects to the abuse from him. I was cut off from my family. I was locked-down at home, he had to know where I was and who I was with or talking to at every moment. I had to work and it had to be the graveyard shift.  My earnings had to pay all the bills while he kept his earnings in a separate account and he bought anything he wanted for him. Never for me. He convinced me to get life insurance, but was angry when I was refused because of extensive damage caused by an eating disorder. When I was sick he treated me like I was faking it, wouldn’t let me call in sick to work or go to the doctor until it became emergencies. Once the car he made me drive nearly got me killed, the lug nuts on the tires he had just worked on weren’t tight.

I wasn’t safe with him. He actually saved my life by divorcing me.

Now I’m thankful he decided he didn’t love me anymore. Not only am I still alive, I am married to a man I am equally yoked with, who really is my best friend and who does value me.

But my divorce was the beginning of my personal rock bottom.

After Christ:

It was at that point I finally began to “own” my relationship with God through Jesus. (Thank God Jesus didn’t return while I self-focused, because after that “blink of an eye”, I would more than likely have been left here.) I got baptized. I began making changes and reading the Bible on my own.

Because I wanted to.

I could feel God healing my life and my heart as I read His Promises.

I went through a tremendous time of grieving the death of my old self. Regret, unforgiveness, shame… God helped me work through each one of those at my own pace. He never gives me more than I can handle as He works His healing, often one-on-one with me, through His Holy Spirit.

My “conversion” did not happen because someone preached a sermon and “guilted” me in to following Jesus and obeying God’s Word.

My life changed as a result of God working in my life. Often without people.

God illuminates His Word.

He teaches me how to be a better human being. He helps me look at people as individuals, not through my own preconceived opinions.

Why I Chose Christ:

Had I continued on my own path, my life would look like the night version of how I am now. It’s like Jesus called out to me through the darkness and despair, and He whispered to me, “I have a better way for you”.

His ways are higher than mine, so much better and healthier. His way is practical. It’s loving and kind. It’s rational. It’s peaceful.

Jesus is the best way. He is the truth. He is the light with no darkness in Him, nothing evil or hateful.

I wish the naysayers would pay attention to the positives Christians demonstrate, because I lived as a non-Christian and was surrounded by non-Christians. It was destructive, mean, harsh, even deadly.

My job as a Christian isn’t to try to convince others that Jesus is the Savior of the world. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job, to do all the hard work of preparing the way of the Lord for people’s hearts and minds to be ready.

My job is to love the Lord my God, and to love my neighbor like I love me. Give them the same benefit of the doubt I give myself. Show the same grace I believe I should be shown.

Some call that cutting people slack…

I just know– I’d personally rather have Jesus than anything this world could ever hold. I have known both– life without Jesus and life with Jesus.

He makes the difference. Not me. Not my choices.

Only Jesus.

God Loves Divorcées

I get it. God hates divorce.

Divorced people also hate divorce. It’s ugly. It’s destructive. It tears apart what God put together. It turns a peaceful union into a war zone.

Moses gave permission for divorce because mens hearts had hardened against their wives. A hardened heart makes way for cruelty and abuse. Moses was protecting the wives by allowing it.

As one who went through a Scriptural divorce– it sucks! It hurt!

Divorce rips apart lives, hearts and families. It destroys reputations, confidence and dreams.

Divorce is Hell on earth. It separates two people who were once bonded together by love and agreement.

Every divorce is different, it happens for different reasons. It’s a deeply personal experience that cuts through the one-flesh union down into the marrow of our spirit. If you have ever had to have a bone marrow biopsy done, then you know how much that cutting hurts the spirit of those split apart by divorce.

Divorce is more destructive and devastating than losing of a loved one to death. It’s cancer to marriage.

Going through a divorce is pain-filled dying yet still living. 

Can we as the Church, the Body of Christ, just stop? Stop judging our wounded family. Stop throwing stones. Stop rejecting. Stop pouring on our salt… Just stop.

Can we just love one another?

Can we just reach out and encourage each other, especially those in our church memberships that we haven’t taken the time to really get to know?

Let’s trade rejecting for compassion. Hatefulness for love. “Tough love” for gentleness, kindness. Anger for patient listening. Judgment for hugs and healing words.

We can do this. We need to do this. We’ve got to stop wounding our wounded.

I hope to see more teaching to couples and congregations about the difficulties of marriage and the solutions God provides through His Word and through praying together. I hope to see less rejecting of divorcées, and more kind and gentle ministries offered compassionately towards them.

Come on, Church. We are better than this ugly, hate-filled rejection of those who are hurting and struggling to get the pieces of their lives together, alone.

What Would Jesus Do? What does He expect us to do in His Name?

One Anothering

My husband and I got into an argument early this morning. Which, in all honesty, is an uncommon, even a rare thing for us. We both had had a long night for different reasons, both feeling tired and some stress. He was snippy with me, I was short-fused because of that and the long night… And the collision of our frustrations happened.

I snapped.

Years ago, in a far away land in a different lifetime, I was married to a different man. We fought all the time. He insulted me, called me degrading names, and treated me with such rudeness that my mom, who gets along with everyone and their dog (she’s a dog lover), hated him. He was mean and nasty to me, and I was defensive and fought back. I was a different person back then. Language that could make a sailor proud, a tongue that could tear an enemy to shreds, I held nothing back on him. After our divorce, I decided to make some drastic changes about who I would allow to get that close to me again.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone be verbally abusive, or degrade me again. I deserved better.

This morning, I reached a point I just never get to anymore, and I angrily told him how I was feeling. I expected him to get mad. I thought about how my ex-husband would have reacted when I had gotten to that point with him.

Mean and nasty…

I braced myself, wondering if I needed to gear up for a bigger argument.

He apologized.

We discussed it all rationally.

I apologized.

I forgave him. He forgave me.

We discussed a bit more, looking at the circumstances and reasons for the pressure build up. It started last night when I missed his telling me he had a headache and then I was loud and silly, obnoxiously happy because my character in World of Warcraft could finally fly. He tried to let it go. He snapped at me, I tried to let it go.

Then the long night of little sleep involving a cat scratching him as he accidentally rolled on it, and I was having a rough night as well…

Then more snapping, and I no longer was able to just let it go.

The actual argument lasted maybe a minute, the discussion maybe 5.

Now I am patting myself on the back at a job well done for picking a man who treats me even better than I expected.

John 15:12  (American Standard Bible), “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

He has One Anothered me.

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Depression IS A Thing

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Did you know that King David dealt with Depression? In Psalms 42:5 he wrote: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (NASV) He then wrote it again in Psalms 42:11, and again in Psalms 43:5. It was a recurring issue for him.

Everyone deals with Depression, at some point, in some way, for all kinds of reasons. It’s a dilemma we face caused by different circumstances.

It does not have to be a permanent part of who we are. There are ways to deal with it. There are ways to combat it, and even conquer it. I know, because I have conquered it. More than once in my life. From terrible circumstances in my childhood, to dealing with the rejection of divorce. From joining the military and never quite fitting in, to discovering my mom had cancer while I was stationed in another country. I’ve been temporarily homeless, jobless, and friendless. I suffered near-severe postpartum depression with my first child, before it was a recognized problem with available help. I developed PTSD while deployed in an area with bomb threats. I’ve had my life threatened, even nearly died more than once. I was depressed in my teens and almost died from alcohol poisoning when I was around 16.

I am no stranger to Depression.

I am also no stranger to the fight to overcome it. I have never taken medication for it, but I don’t think negative of those who need or choose to do that. It’s ok. Whatever helps, that is what is important. Take hold of that necessary help.

I have learned there are things that trigger it. Certain words, memories, even people. I have adjusted my life to include a group of those hand-picked by me that I know will stand by me no matter what so that I have that source of necessary encouragement. That is part of walking in freedom from Depression’s debilitating grip.

I have a personal relationship with the greatest Encourager mankind has known, or ever will: Jesus Christ.

I have learned tactics and techniques to pull myself out of the downward spiral. I also have learned not to focus inward so much, to get busy, find an outward focus, become the encourager for others that I often need others to be for me. At times I find out that as I encourage them, I also encourage myself as I remind others of all those positive things depression can tend to overshadow and hide.

Depression is a stealthy force that can render us overwhelmed, unable to cope or do much. But it doesn’t have to remain that way. I was inspired to write this for a couple of reasons.

The first is an important movement started by Jared Padalecki, #AlwaysKeepFighting. I cannot begin to tell you how relief has overcome me to see there is such an amazing place for people to reach out and become a part of!! I fought my battles mostly alone for so long, though when my battles were toughest there was always at least one person I could lean on. I’m inspired to see so many reaching out to one another, as well as to Jared Padalecki himself.

The second reason for this writing inspiration is because of a recent letter gone viral over Facebook. The writer is Bekah Miles. In her letter she asked, “…why aren’t we having a conversation about it?” It’s a good question, an important question. We should be having a conversation about it so we can move past it. So people know there are others who care, who understand, who identify, and even some who have moved past it into content and happy lives.

The thing I’ve learned that has stuck with me the most is: It’s only temporary. It does pass. Circumstances change. Things that caused me to feel depressed have lost their hold or have been forgotten over time.

So, let’s talk.

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So What?

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This is what my insides feel like every time I try to write my story. Gut-wrenched. I describe that feeling to my husband as killer moths flapping around in my tummy.

Every time I tell a portion of my story it feels like someone reached inside of me and yanked a piece of me out.

 

I wasn’t supposed to tell. But I did, and cops were called. I wasn’t supposed to talk to anyone about it, but I did. I had to. It was destroying me from the inside-out to not try to get someone to hear me. Then the worry and fear of having told would try to destroy me from the inside-out. I told someone, and then the one who hurt me, who tried to intimidate me to stay silent, tried to take his own life. Part of me grieved and blamed myself. Part of me wouldn’t miss him, would be relieved.. Which then kicked-off a worry-guilt-hatred cycle.

All that turmoil I felt for years, so many years ago, comes right back when I am writing my story. It’s agonizing and spirit-crushing to remember, to admit it all in writing.

I was molested as a child.

I was raped as an adult.

I was emotionally and verbally beat-up both as a child and as an adult.

But I’m not anymore.

I’m not anymore…

The feelings, as I recall things and relive them in my memories, they are tumultuous.

I’ve convinced myself what has happened in my life, all I have survived, is nothing special. Everyone goes through traumatic things at some point. And then as I tell someone something I realize– I have a unique story to tell because so many things have happened to me.  And I lived through them, and passed through to the other side where things are instead normal.

It will take me awhile to write my story, because there is so much to it, and very little is easy to pass on to others. Part of me goes in to all I write and share.

Please be patient. Please stay with me, even if it takes awhile. What God has done through every experience is nothing short of miraculous.

Exposed

I hate my past.

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I hate the parts of my personal story that involve my past. I don’t like who I was, I don’t like what I lived through. I abhor my reactions and choices. I despise where I had no choice or that I had no one to help me, to comfort me, or just talk with.

Yeah, I hate my past.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to get my book written. I hate reliving it. I hate thinking about it. I hate how when I am in a group of people and I just want to fit into the conversation, I feel compelled to share my experiences so I can identify with others. And I hate how vulnerable and

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I often feel when I tell something deeply personal.

Who really wants to hear about the horror experiences of my childhood and teens, and for what reasons do they want to hear about them?

Who cares? About me?

I loathe feeling like other people think I’m competing in storytelling. I hate how it just feels normal to me that I have gone through so many things, and then I see that look of shock on the face of someone I’ve opened up to- then I realize, my life has been anything but normal.

It’s like a thorn in my side.

The parts I don’t hate about my past are when God shines through, as a warm, magnanimous Light, as if He has given my heart the most loving hug.

Healing me, bringing completeness to my injured, abused soul.

Exposure reveals the miracles and even the heart of God throughout my life.

Hating my past has helped me to love and appreciate God. Living my life, I’ve learned there is no one more trustworthy and faithful than God.

What’s In An Opinion?

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I have always liked people.

Anyone who really knows me, knows it’s kind of my nature to try to put others before myself. Sometimes I’m clumsy about it, often I appear to just be trying too hard. OK– yeah, I try too hard.  Always I just want others to know they are important, that they matter. If no one ever tells them that, well, I want them to know they matter to me.

But.

There are times when the harsh cruelty of others knocks the wind out of me and I temporarily lose sight of my heart’s main focus. Maybe it’s like a spotlight on certain behaviors and treatment of me, and everything else dims while my mind works to process it. It’s unfamiliar territory for me. Sometimes it takes days, even weeks, before I realize what’s happened. I’m slow to react. I’ve never understood how anyone can decide they don’t like me, as a person, just because I view life differently than they do. It catches me off-guard when someone positions themselves as though they are above me just because they don’t like what I believe or I do.

I used to think that I need to explain myself. But recently it suddenly struck me: I don’t owe anyone any explanations. Their opinions do not make them superior to me, no matter how much they believe they are.

Just like with anyone, all I have ever wanted was to be known outside of judgement. Could those who look down on me live my experiences and end up as I am now? When I look back over my life, I am so surprised by the success I have become. Not famous, not special, not super talented or even kind of known.

I am loved. I have a handful of people in my life I can count on. I have a husband who has, for whatever reason, decided to stick by me, even through times I consider worst. I am not at my best. My ex-husband abandoned me at a time when I was not at my best. This man, he stands by me. And he actually likes me. I am well aware that I do not deserve him. I don’t believe I have ever been so grateful for anyone. Not only does he know me, he knows my story. If it wasn’t enough for me to tell it to him, he’s heard things first hand from my dad and mom. There is not another person who knows me as well as my husband.

And he still loves me.

My relationship with my mom has gone through some repairs, and it’s stronger I think, now, than ever in my life. We talked through some major things, and we learned so much that we both just didn’t know about some horrible life events and circumstances. I have her permission to write about my childhood traumas, now that my dad has passed on.

Reliving those things I have forced to the back of my memory, that’s what has held me back. I cringe at the thought of reliving so many things.

Since my dad’s passing, I have felt this new freedom to miss him. There is no more frantic fear of what he will say or do. No more added reasons to need to release forgiveness to him. No reasons to work through hatred or hurt. It’s all in a neat tidy package now ready for me to deal with, with no added pressure or painful experiences.

I’ve spent years writing circles around things, because I didn’t want to upset my parents or else I just haven’t wanted to look at what’s in the middle of the circle. It’s time to dive in.

How did I get to this rabbit hole from the beginning of this blog post? I’m recognizing a common link. I loved my dad, I always had this lingering hope we’d someday, somehow, have a healthy relationship. But, because of how he often treated me, I have let others look at me through the same horrible opinions my dad saw me through. I have had myself convinced that others have a right to question me or treat me as though I’m an idiot.

I  have nothing to prove or explain, and I have nothing to fear now by talking about my past.

I’ll be moving forward as I look backward and share some very hard times. I’m hoping there will be some who will travel the journey of my life with me. Going through it alone once was enough. I’d love and appreciate some company this time around.

 

 

 

9/11: 13 Years Later

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My daughter asked me what today’s date is, and as I glanced at my calendar and told her, the date slapped me across my consciousness. September 11. Wow. So much significance in that date, and yet, this year for the first time, it caught me off my guard.

13 years ago, when our country was attacked by terrorists who have declared a holy war against our nation, I was out of the US. I watched the entire thing unfold, as plane after plane hit, from a long distance, over the news. I did the only thing I could think of doing: logged in to the chat rooms over Yahoo, to see if anyone online was needing someone to talk with, to prayer with or for them, to just be there to keep them from feeling alone. It was shocking to see the chatrooms almost empty. Even the mockers of Christianity were silent, absent from their self-appointed posts.

I waited around online, and eventually someone logged on. They didn’t know about the planes, the fallen towers, the heroes and the many missing and dead. I don’t think they believed me when I told them. Until they turned on the news. Then, they logged out.

For one day time online seemed to stand still. The busyness of the primitive versions of our now sophisticated social media was abandoned, forgotten. I doubt social media will ever again see such abandon and neglect. I prayed for 2 or 3 people on that day (it was night for me). I don’t remember the prayers, or the names/id’s of the people. But, I remember being grateful that I was able to just do something to help anyone. I felt so helpless, being so far away. I cried and prayed a lot that night, all by myself.

I still cry on September 11.

Yet, this year, I didn’t remember to think about the day as the anniversary approached. I let myself get caught up in daily cares and life.

I didn’t forget.

I just didn’t pay attention. I didn’t prepare myself for the flood of memories.

I’m letting the memories start to slip away.

9/11 2012 was another reminder of murderous hatred towards our nation. People died. Regardless of political beliefs and whatnot, no one can dispute that our Ambassador did not deserve to die. So horribly.

The men protecting him did not deserve to die and be abandoned by their own country’s leadership.

I forgot to remind myself to remember.

I’m ashamed, and sad.

I can’t let myself forget to remember, again. Those people did not just die in vain. They do not deserve to be forgotten. My daily life is not more important than the death they experienced in service for my country and essentially my protection.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Sean Smith.

Tyrone Woods.

Glen Doherty.

They deserve to be remembered by name.

Embracing Pain and Fear

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It’s on my heart to share this, and given recent events in the Middle East, I can see that in some respects, it could be a timely message for some.

As an American, I’d say–in our modern American culture, there seems to be a strong growing trend to avoid pain and suffering. We’re a first world nation, we should expect to have comfort and some luxuries, isn’t that the mindset we have all just accepted as normal, healthy living?

We tell ourselves we deserve it.

I think this has, in some ways, weakened some of our resolve and even work ethics.

In today’s America we often expect to be well paid for a job we put minimal effort into doing well. We complain about working, about customers, about our bosses, about not getting paid enough–so little contentment with so much expectation and even an overreaching of an attitude of entitlement of money, healthcare, cell phones or the latest electronic device, of getting everything we want and having every convenience possible, with as little effort as possible.

Us moms, we often give in to the temptation of having a pain-free birth. I gave in with our 4th baby, but I felt like I had somehow cheated. I’m not saying I think that’s wrong, but it seems like it could be a symptom of pain avoidance.

My first 3 births were natural, no pain killers at all. Our second child came so quickly, there was no time to even have an IV put in.

Through childbirth, I learned how to embrace the pain of the contractions, to use that pain to know when to help my baby come out into the world. I bonded with my babies, I struggled and strove to help them. The pain wasn’t something I feared, but something I embraced, I used it to accomplish purpose.

During the labor of my 3rd baby, God spoke to me through the pain.

He told me no one could touch my soul because it’s safe with Him. No matter what happens to my body, my soul can never be touched, harmed, or stolen.

With the recent growing number of killings of Christians, this is something He has reminded me of, to share and have others meditate on.

Pain is fleeting. Salvation is Eternal. Our soul is safe when we give it to God through belief on Christ Jesus. As a result, I know deep within, I Never have to be afraid of any pain. I know that God will avenge me for anyone who hurts me, because I belong to Him.

I know that God will avenge every Christian murdered by those who have set themselves up as enemies of The Most High God. We may not see how He does it, but their souls will never have the comfort, peace, rest or safety that the souls of those they murdered will have for ALL of Eternity.

God’s judgment is coming for those who dare to touch the ones He has claimed as His own.

I have no fear, because I know Who I belong to. And, if I stumble into fearfulness, God reminds me that it’s His perfect love that casts that out. I don’t have to succumb to it, to let it take over my reactions, my emotions or my actions and words. I don’t have to let it take control, I am not helpless because I have Help.

I have read and heard quite a few interpretations of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo–from prosperity encouragements, to commitment, to God’s faithfulness to us. But, what I get out of that account is that no matter what–no matter the pain, no matter if God chose not to intervene or help them–No Matter What, they would remain faithful to God. Because they knew Who they belonged to. No amount of pain, or manipulation, or fear-inducing circumstances could make them turn their backs to God.

He chose to help them. I have no doubt if He hadn’t, they would have died in that furnace still completely faithful to God. Because they knew He knows the end from the beginning. He knows the reasons He does, or does not do things.

Do you know Who you belong to? Do you believe on Him so deeply, that no amount of pain or suffering will manipulate you into relenting and turning away?

We need to pray that those being killed for belonging to Him through Jesus know Who they belong to. We need to pray that God will intervene, that Jesus will return, and that this persecution will be stopped. Only the return of Jesus is going to stop it.

When we obey the command to pray for peace in Jerusalem, we are praying for Jesus to come back and intervene on behalf of those who are suffering because of His Name.

Return, Lord Jesus, return quickly!

When we Christians unite, the power of God is manifest through our agreement in prayer, through our worship of God, and that is what causes fear in our enemies. That is why they kill, because Satan knows and wants to stop God’s power from flowing through His body–The Church, The Bride of Christ.

We are part of something so much greater than we are just in ourselves.

Satan is using people who believe his lies to try to stop God from working through us. He will not succeed, we know that from The Revelation of John.

But, where 2 or 3 are gathered, He is in our midst. When we have faith, we can tell a mountain to move, and it will.

Do we ever challenge our own faith?

Paul had a thorn in his side that God chose not to remove. There is debate of what that thorn was, but what I understand is–Paul chose to continue to faithfully serve God with that thorn unremoved. He didn’t complain. He didn’t yell at God. He didn’t quit. He didn’t rebuke it.

Paul focused on God, not on the thorn.

Our faith and our commitment need to grow up. We need to put off the American part of ourselves and embrace the Eternal, like putting off our old selves to put on the new. Ephesians 4:22-32 Colossians 3:1-4

We can’t, after all, take America with us, and America can’t keep our souls safe Eternally.

Only the One True God can do that.

The Truth About My Mom-In-Law

The strengths of my mother-in-law stand out so clearly for me. She has been a wonderful example of being strong, courageous and faithful.

 

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Sensitive

Traditional

Righteous

Observant

Noteworthy

Gentle

 

Concise

Outspoken

Unrelenting

Respectable

Amazing

Giving

Encouraging

Overjoyed

Unique

Smart

 

Fabulous

Ardent

Intuitive

Thoughtful

Hard-working

Fruitful

Unwavering

Loving

My Mom Is One Of A Kind

The things I learned from my mom are perseverance, strength, wisdom and loyalty.

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My mom is:

Practical

Economically minded

Resourceful

Supportive

Effective

Valuable

Excellent

Rational

Authentic

Needed

Courteous

Encouraging

 

Strong-willed

Tenacious

Realistic

Engaging

Necessary

Generous

Thoughtful

Humorous

 

Wise

Intentional

Selfless

Daring

Outgoing

Magnanimous

 

Logical

Original

Yielded to God

Ambitious

Love-able

Truthful

Young at heart

 

My mom is beautiful.

Before and After: A Matter of Perspective

Here is my dad David was able to get a picture tod

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been 2 months since my dad’s passing, wow, to the day. My timing isn’t planned, just lucky coincidence.

This picture accurately represents something unexpected for me.

My dad is smiling here. He was happy because my husband was able to visit him.

When my dad was alive, it wasn’t his smile I remembered, or his comforting shoulder hug when he walked up next to me after not having seen me for a long time.  It wasn’t the twinkle of kindness and love in his eyes when he looked at me during my short visits so far and few between the passing time. It wasn’t his jokes, or the happy tone behind all he said.

The thought of my dad when he was still alive wasn’t anything warm and fuzzy.  It was sadness that he was in hospital or nursing home care. It was frustration that so much of a normal relationship with him had been stolen from me because of mental illness (also PTSD misdiagnosed and neglected) and his “guinea-pig” status with the VA. It was anger that he was so unpredictable, I never knew what to expect when I was able to visit him. My mom claims he had no “filter”, what I know as practicing self-control and taming the tongue. The last time I saw him when he wasn’t being kept alive by machines breathing for him, he told my husband some really awful things, stuff he said he was confessing to concerning me. There are so many holes in my childhood memory, some of what he said I  can’t even verify.

He was moved around so often by the VA that I rarely knew where he was, and he did not always have access to a phone for me to call him. My mom stopped remembering to tell me he had been moved, it became part of her normal life. And, the truth is, I often cringed at the thought of talking with him on the phone. What would I say? What would his frame of mind be?

The most surprising aspect of his passing is that all those fears and negative emotions have just sort of evaporated away. I am finally free to feel the good feelings when I think of him now. My guard can be let down, I don’t have to defend myself, or prepare for the worst. I don’t have to remind myself of the bad things.

I never once wished him dead- well, after I forgave him, that is. So, there is no guilt to deal with now. Life circumstances kept my family and I far away from him, so again, no guilt about any of that. It was out of my control.

I can let the little girl I once was think about my dad and remember what I loved most about him.  No more guard, no more self-defense, no more cringing as I think of him.

My heart is free to remember safely now.