Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thankfulness

How do you be thankful during a time of distress?


Last year when I went to AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta), I got to meet one of my heroes, Vic Mignogna.  He gave advice during a panel to think of what you're thankful for every day for five minutes.  This week I decided to finally try it.  No matter how down I may feel, I try to take some time to think about what I'm thankful for, for a few minutes.  I think about all the people who support me, especially my husband and my family.  I think about how thankful I am to have pets (one lives with my parents), they're like the babies I'll never be able to have.  I'm thankful to have a merciful God, because as hard as life may seem, it could always be a hell of a lot worse.  I'm thankful for the apartment I live in.  I'm thankful to have food I can eat.  I'm thankful for clean water.  Last night I had a very terrifying dream, and when I woke up I thanked God that it wasn't real; it was just a dream.  As much as I want to escape my life, I'm thankful at the same time that I am still alive.  I know that may sound weird coming from someone who's always suicidal.  It's hard to explain.  I mean, I should be dead after having three suicide attempts, but God saved me from them for a reason.  What that reason is I have no idea.

I'm the most pessimist person out there; it's really difficult for me to think positively because I ALWAYS focus on the negative.  This week though, when I've taken a few minutes during the day to think of what I'm thankful for, it has really helped!  I'm not focusing so much on the negatives in my life.  I'm even more determined to get healthier mentally and physically.  I guess health starts in the mind.  If someone like me can find things to be thankful for, you can too!

Thanks Vic for the advice last year!  It's really been helping me!  I hope you'll be back this year!




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Compassion

What does it mean to have compassion, and what does God's compassion look like?


I've been going through a Bible Study called "The Compassionate Heart of Jesus" on the YouVersion app (when you download it the icon says "Bible").  I've been very suicidal as I'm sure you know, and I've been really fighting the urge to hurt myself.  Sometimes I wonder just how much fight I've got left until I'm pushed off the edge and can't recover from it.  I'm so broken.  I'm the broken toy no one wants to play with anymore.  I seem to be irreparable.  But there was something I read yesterday in my study:


As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.  Two blind men were sitting beside the road.  When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
"Be quiet!" the crowd yelled at them.
But they only shouted louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord," they said, "we want to see!"  Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes.  Instantly they could see!  Then they followed him.

- Matthew 20:29-34



What does this tell us about Jesus?  In other translations it says he had "compassion for them" (I just use the NLT - New Living Translation mostly because it's easier for me to understand).  There are other places where it says he had compassion.


When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were helpless and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd."  - Matthew 9:36

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes."  - Luke 19:41-42


Jesus had (and still has) compassion for the hurting, the sick, the weak, the defenseless, and yes, even those who hurt others.  It got me thinking, if Jesus were here, would he have compassion for me?  I'm so sick (mentally), and my symptoms seem to keep getting worse (we are trying to work on my medication).  Would he have mercy on someone like me?  I talked to my husband about this last night and he said if Jesus were here, he'd just listen, knowing it'd probably be hard for me to trust him because I strongly distrust men.  Then when I'd start to trust him, he'd hold me, reaffirming me of who I am in him and how he sees me.  Maybe he'd heal me, maybe not, but even if he didn't, it would be for my good.  How that would be good I don't know, maybe my mental illnesses are just my thorns in the flesh or something.

There was an event yesterday, where someone I knew attacked one of my family's friends who's been very sick, and while we pray for a miracle, it may not happen (but we still pray and hope!).  This greatly angered me, and it did with a lot of other people too.  This guy has hurt me pretty badly in the past as well - to the point where I became suicidal because he tried to convince me that my dad AND my husband are heretics!  But I didn't let my anger out (though I really wanted to).  Instead, I took pity that he would actually think he's spreading God's light in these attacks, but doesn't realize he's actually spreading darkness instead.  He's more of a legalistic Pharisee than a compassionate follower of Christ.  As those who follow Christ, we are to be a reflection of him.  We won't be perfect reflections, but if Jesus was compassionate, and we are to reflect him, doesn't that mean we should be compassionate too?  Jesus showed us compassion by carrying our sins on his shoulders on the cross, how can we not show compassion to others?

Jesus has compassion for everyone.  I mean think about it, those who hurt others, what could they have gone through to make them do such things?  With this being said, for me, no matter how angry I might feel (there's nothing wrong with FEELING angry, even Jesus got angry!), I will have compassion even for those who hurt others.

So what does that mean for me now?  Well, I can't help if I feel suicidal, but what I can do is not give into it.  I've promised people that I'm not even going to consider it as an option, and I meant it and still do mean it.  I need to ask God for strength to get through this difficult time in my life.  Only He can truly save me from myself.  He gave me life for a reason.  He kept me away from death for a reason.  What that reason is I still have not figured it out, but if I'm still here, there's still a reason for me to be here.  If God has me here for a reason, then I can't try to end the story before the Author has given it an ending.  That day will come one day, but it's not my decision as to when or even how.  So I need to keep pressing forward, and keep enduring until that day comes.



Thursday, May 11, 2017

It's Not Funny

So for a while now I've seen several people making fun of 13 Reasons Why.  Stuff like:

Hannah: Can I use your pencil?
Person: No
Hannah: Welcome to your tape


This is NOT funny and I'm going to explain why.


Suicide is a VERY serious matter, being third leading cause of death from 13-25 year olds.  As someone who is often very suicidal (and have attempted three times and almost several others), this is a real struggle.  Every day it's on my mind and I have to fight it.  There are those who know people who have committed suicide as well, and they have to live daily wondering if they could've done anything to stop them, or even if it's their fault for them killing themselves.  It is something they never recover from.  So to joke around something so devastating is not funny.

Psychiatrists have all been saying 13 Reasons Why is going to cause more problems than good.  The goal for the series was to prevent suicides, but it can actually have to opposite effect because of the final episode where you see her kill herself.  I know it did that for me.  I am slowly recovering from that (it made my PTSD skyrocket).  To joke about this is not funny.

I think people who make these sort of jokes don't understand suicide - what goes on in the mind of someone who's suicidal, or what those who have lost someone to suicide have to go through.  My husband watched most of 13 Reasons Why with me, except for the last episode because he had his podcast he was doing, so I watched it by myself - something I regret doing.  I had no idea they were going to show her do it, and if I had, I never would've watched it.  Sometimes I wish my husband watched it with me so he'd understand how that's been affecting me, but at the same time, I know it'd be really bad for him to see it since he's caught me with two suicide attempts.  I wouldn't recommend my parents watching it either because they found me eight hours after my first attempt.  I have friends who have lost people to suicide and I tell them not to watch it too because I know it would be too painful for them to watch it.  People who struggle with suicide I tell them not to watch it, because it can trigger something in them to actually go through with it.

Making jokes about the show is really making jokes of those who struggle with suicide.  If they think people are making their suffering a joke can cause them to go through with it just as much as someone who would've watched that episode.  It's not something to joke about.  It's not funny.  Try to understand what a person goes through that leads them to that point.  Try to understand what they're going through.  It has to be really bad if they are thinking about killing themselves.  Talk to people who have lost someone to suicide.  Try to understand what they're going through.  It's something they live with for the rest of their lives.  As for me, I will probably struggle with feeling suicidal for the rest of my life.  I just have to determine that it's not an option no matter how I feel.  But not everyone is at that point, and for all I know, it can get to the point one of these days where I just can't fight it anymore.  But I have people who support me so they can give me the strength to keep fighting.  God is also on my side, so He gives me strength as well.  But not everyone has that support.  Not everyone has that hope and feel like suicide is the only way that will end their unbearable pain.  To even consider suicide means they are going through extreme suffering.  They can be really struggling and you wouldn't even know it.  It often comes as a shock to those who find out someone they knew or cared about tried to commit suicide.  Two of my brother's friends committed suicide, and one of them I knew very well.  Suicide is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.

So please, don't make jokes about 13 Reasons Why, it can really hurt people like me when you do so. It hurts when it seems like people are making fun of my struggles.  You wouldn't make fun of someone with cancer.  So why make fun of someone with mental health illnesses - to the point where they try and even succeed taking their own lives?  Please stop making the jokes, it hurts and is not funny.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Awaken Me






A lot of things have been happening lately (I know I probably say that in a lot of my blogs - though I don't typically blog every day so that may be why, lol).  I've been really working on bettering myself. I'm exercising and trying to eat healthier food.  I've tried broccoli in pasta, my husband and I both tried watermelon, and I've got Ezekiel Bread.  I also tried coconut milk.  I haven't really started liking anything healthy yet, but some things have been tolerable.  Anyway, as you may have seen in my latest entries, I've decided suicide isn't an option anymore.  Do I still feel suicidal?  Yes, but I've made a choice to not give into it.  Why just yesterday I felt like hurting myself, but I chose not to.  Instead, I decided to clean the kitchen (which honestly REALLY needed to get cleaned).  I cleaned while listening to some worship songs.  Since I was home alone, I was able to sing along with them (I'm very self-conscious in case you haven't figured that out yet, lol).  There are things though that seem to be trying to prevent me from getting better though.  It's as if some force is trying to pull me back.  But I'm not giving up.  I'm going to fight for my life and if I die, I die trying.  I've been getting into my Bible more too (I use an app called YouVersion and you can check out different Bible Studies/Devotionals).

Last night I had a dream, and I woke up nearly in tears.  I don't really know where it came from, maybe it's from the studies I've been doing, or maybe even because I recently saw the Case for Christ movie, but it really moved me.  In my dream, how do I put this....I saw the crucifixion of Jesus.  I saw him be flogged, drag his cross up Golgotha, and be crucified.  It wasn't in complete details, it was like, a compilation of photos flashing across a screen.  Very strange, but very moving at the same time.  Again, I don't know where this dream came from.  All I know is when I woke up, I really felt the love of God.  It seems like whenever I have a dream about Jesus, I always wake up nearly in tears.  These dreams don't happen often, I usually have really horrific dreams.  In some ways, this one was pretty horrific too.  To watch someone be tortured and brutally murdered is no easy feat.  Sometimes (for me anyway) it's okay to watch it in a movie because I know it's fake (if it's based on a true story that's completely different).  But watching someone actually go through it is hard to stomach.  Even though the dream was more like snapshots, it was real for me.  I prayed for like an hour, and I couldn't get back to sleep so I just got up and decided to blog about it.

When I have dreams about God (like I said, they're very rare for me), I hold them very close to my heart.  Sometimes I wonder if God gave me those dreams.  It's not something I go around bragging about; I actually don't talk about them very often.  They're very personal to me.  This blog isn't really about those dreams though.  It's more about what Jesus went through for us.




When the Romans would flog someone, sometimes they'd die right there.  It was brutal.  They would whip someone exposing organs, and I'm sure arteries as well.  People would lose A LOT of blood.  Jesus was no exception to this.  If you want to read more on this, go here.  After Jesus was flogged, he had to carry his cross up a mountain (Golgotha - place of the skull).  As if he wasn't weak already, they forced him to carry his own cross.  He was so weak, that someone had to help him carry his cross up Golgotha.  The cross was somewhere between 75-300 lbs.  Imagine trying to carry that, and on top of that having severe puncture wounds.  I can barely even lift 15 lbs dumbbells!




But many were amazed when they saw him.  His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

- Isaiah 52:14


Once Jesus got up Golgotha, they crucified him.  We get the term "excruciating" from crucifixion because it was so painful.  They hammered nails into his wrists and feet.  The nails were made of iron and 7-9 inches long.  In order to breathe, you'd have to pull yourself up using your arms to inhale, and then back down with your feet to exhale.  Fluids would fill your lungs, slowly suffocating you.  Now imagine doing this for hours.  After Jesus died, a soldier stuck a spear in his side, and water and blood came out.  This shows that fluid had filled his lungs.


You may be thinking, "If he were God, he could've gotten down from the cross on his own!  He could've prevented the whole thing from happening!"  Yes, he could have, but he chose not to.  You know why?  Love.  Love kept him on the cross.  He could've just said, "I'm done with this people!  They don't deserve to be saved!"  If he did do that, he'd be completely justified in doing so.  If he really wanted to give up on us, he could've and who could blame him?  Our society is slowly destroying itself!  We're adulterers, we're murderers, we're thieves, we're liars, we don't deserve love.  But he gives it to us anyway.  He says "YOU are worth saving."  Instead of damning us forever for our screw ups, we can be saved!  Since he died and three days later resurrected, he defeated death!



Oh death, where is your victory?  Oh death, where is your sting?

- 1 Corinthians 15:55



He reaches out to you, giving you the gift of himself.  He was tortured for you, killed for you, and resurrected for you.  He defeated death for you.  It's your choice whether to accept that gift or not.  It's for all people.  It's for all the people who know they don't have everything together.  It's for those who are broken in spirit.  He gives this gift to everyone, he doesn't keep it from anyone.  It doesn't matter what terrible deed you've done, he still gives it to you.  It's not like he HAS to give it away, he CHOOSES to give it away.  You just have to accept the gift.  I'm not going to tell you all your problems will go away - I'd be lying.  Dare I even say your life may be even more difficult than it was before?  But let me tell you this, it's completely worth it!  Our pain in this life may seem like forever, but compared to being with Christ forever, our pain here is but for a minute.



Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

- Psalm 30:5



It's your choice.  He won't force you, he gave you free will for a reason after all.

"I'll do it when I feel better."  There's no time for that!  We are but a breath away!  We don't control when we live nor when we die.  If you wait, it may be too late.  If you die before accepting his gift, you won't be able to accept it.  You will never know the love of God.  Please, accept this wonderful gift from him, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Case for Christ

My husband and I watched "The Case for Christ" movie last night and it was very good, my husband even said it was the best Christian movie he's ever seen!  So what was the movie about?

It's based on the book under the same title as the movie.  You follow the story of Lee Strobel, an author and writer for the Chicago Tribune.  He finds out his wife Leslie became a Christian, and Lee doesn't understand why.  They were Atheists and prided on following reason.  Lee decides to go out and prove Christianity wrong so he could have "his wife back."

I recommend people watch this movie, including those who believe you can't have reason and be a follower of Christ at the same time.  Lee was a skeptic and had many of the same skepticism as many other people.  Was there a mass hallucination when people thought they had seen Jesus resurrected?  Perhaps Jesus didn't actually die.  If you have skepticism of whether Christianity is true or not, I recommend this movie (I haven't actually read the book, I might read it some time).  The book is a major best-seller so I'm sure it's good.  I've actually met Lee before, great guy!  Anyway, I don't want to give out too much detail about the movie and spoil it.  I know for myself, the questions he had I've had before in my life too.  I know there are probably a lot of people who don't want to see it because they think it's just Christian propaganda.  I'm here to tell you that's not the case.  It's also not a movie where you feel like you're being preached to.  I know for myself, I don't like movies where it feels like I'm being preached to.  I know that may sound odd to hear, but seriously, who wants to be preached to?  "What's the difference between being preached to and hearing a sermon at a church?  Isn't that the same thing?"  No, it's not, but that's a whole other topic.

In the movie, Lee interviews a lot of experts, including theologians, historians, psychiatrists, and even medical doctors, all of whom are very well known in their fields (in other words, he didn't just interview random people in the fields, he sought after major experts).  If you are a skeptic, I highly recommend this movie - not to convince you of my beliefs, but to see for yourself what the evidence is.  If you choose not to believe Christianity, I'm not going to force it on you.  That's not what Christianity is about - to force one belief over the other.  Do I believe Christianity is true?  Yes.  Do I want others to become believers?  Of course!  But again, I'm not going to force it on you.  You have to come to that conclusion on your own.  I'm still going to love you regardless.  So don't look at the title of the movie/book thinking it's just propaganda.  It's really not.  It tackles real questions people have.  Real issues people have with Christianity.  So if you believe you're a person of reason, go see this movie.  After all, what have you got to lose?  If Christianity is false, you've got nothing to lose right?  So check it out :)



Saturday, April 29, 2017

To the Child I'll Never Have

Dear Child,


I think of you often.  I've dreamed of you ever since I was a little kid.  I lay at night in tears knowing I'll never get to meet you.  You're what I've always wanted, but could never have.  I have dreams of you.  Some nights I dream of carrying you.  Some nights I dream of giving birth to you.  Some nights I dream of your beautiful face, laughing, and playing, saying "I love you mommy!"  I know it's best this way though.  As much as it pains me to know I'll never get to meet you, I know it's best this way because I know you would hurt greatly.  You could inherit my Autism, and potentially be bullied most if not all of your life.  Society doesn't accept people like us, and growing up that way was very hard on me.  You could inherit my depression, something so crippling, and the possibility that you could have it worse than me makes my heart ache.  I got it worse than everyone else in my family, who's to say you won't get it worse than me?  You're life would constantly be in jeopardy to yourself.  If you hurt yourself, I don't think I could ever forgive myself.  You could inherit my schizophrenia.  The world would see you as mad and crazy.  The world would be merciless to you.  You wouldn't be able to tell what's real in life, and what isn't.  You would constantly be in fear.  This is no way for a child to live. I wouldn't even want my enemies to suffer what I suffer, so how could I let my own child suffer through them?

I've written letters to you in the past.  When there was a guy I thought I'd end up being married to, I would write letters to you telling you how your daddy and I met and how much we'd love you.  Now that I have married a good man, your daddy, now I know there's no chance of meeting you.  You deserve better than what I could ever give you.  I know that no parent is perfect, but you would be so humiliated with me being your mother.  When I flip out because of my paranoia or my hallucinations, you would be so humiliated.  Imagine if one day you have friends over, and I flip out, you would probably hate me and never forgive me.  Kids would make fun of you for having a "psychotic mother."  Your daddy and I struggle a lot with money.  I'd want to give you the best life you could have, not worry about if you'd have enough food to eat.  Your mommy can't work, and your daddy would have to make $30-35k a year AT LEAST in order for just the two of us to survive without your grandparents helping us.  How could you live a good life with us, when we could possibly become homeless?

All I've ever wanted was to meet you, and to take care of you.  I want to raise you to help those who can't help themselves, and I want to raise you in the ways of the Lord.  I want you to bring hope to those who have none left.  Even if the world can't see you as real, you're very real to me.  You've always been real to me.  There have been times I've tried to forget about you, knowing I can never have you.  But you always come back, and the pain gets worse every time, knowing you'll only be real in my dreams.  I've been told "You can be the aunt all the kids want to be around!"  But that's not enough for me.  I don't want just the good in having a child, I want the bad too!  I want to be there when you stumble.  I want to be there even when you say you hate me.  I want to be there even to change your diaper (which believe me, is no easy feat for your mommy and daddy)!  When someone breaks your heart, I want to be there for you.  When you are feeling hopeless, I want to be there for you and tell you, "I know what you're going through, I've been there, and there is hope at the end of the tunnel; no matter how bad things get."  I want to show you and the world that "through God, ALL things are possible."  It's possible for you to prove everyone wrong about you.  You don't have to conform to what everyone thinks or wants you to be.  You can be the beautiful man or woman God created you to be.  Despite all the odds, you can have true happiness and true peace.  Believe me, it's very difficult, and it's something I still have to learn myself.

I love you so much, the only person who loves you more than your mommy and daddy is Jesus.  Since I love you so much, I know I can't be selfish.  I can't just want you for myself.  I don't want you to suffer the way I've suffered, if not even more than I have suffered.  As Rocky Balboa once said, "It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently."  Though there is hope in Jesus Christ.  Through Him we can conquer the things that cripple us.  Your mommy and daddy would be there for you and support you all the way, but again, I can't be selfish knowing how much you'd suffer because of your mommy.

Your mommy will always love you, even if you only exist in my dreams....


Love,

Mommy




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rise




I know, I'm using a lot of Skillet songs (I've always liked Skillet, but lately I've been really feeling these songs).


I've seen a lot of videos and posts on Facebook that Christianity is a 'dying" religion.  What they fail to realize is there are a lot of "Underground Christians."  Not all believers are outspoken about it.  Some sit on the sidelines.  Others are in areas where they can be arrested and even killed for their faith in Christ.  There are many underground churches that are thriving.  It seems like the places where Christians are truly being persecuted, Christianity is thriving.  Places like the US and in Europe, places that we're not really persecuted for our faith seems to be where there are more people leaving the faith.  I believe the reason is because they have a faith of infancy.  What I mean by this is they've never truly had to grow up in their faith.  They have a Sunday School faith.  They don't truly seek to know God for who He really is, they just go to church because that's just what they do.  They're expected to do that.  They don't stand up for what they believe.  If they're confronted about their faith they don't really know what they believe, therefore they don't know how to defend it.

Take Adam and Eve.  The serpent (Satan) was able to tempt Eve into eating the fruit because she thought God had said she couldn't even go near the fruit, when all He said was to not eat it.  She didn't understand what God had told her.  How could she not give into what the serpent said if her information was wrong?

Countries like China, or those in the Middle East, Christianity has been growing rapidly.  Why is this?  I believe it's because they really know what they believe in.  Their faith is so radical, so strong, that they are willing to be tortured and even killed for it.  In the US, we just worry that we'll look bad.  We worry that people won't like us.  We're worried of embarrassment.  People in the Middle East though, they are literally risking their lives for even having a Bible!  If we didn't have a Sunday School faith and truly knew what we believed in, willing to risk everything for it, we would be different!

When Christianity was in its infant stage (in other words, was just starting), believers were being persecuted.  They were losing their jobs, their families, their homes, and their very lives.  Christianity was outlawed.  The government, no, the world, tried to kill Christianity - but instead of killing it, it grew rapidly!  People were being thrown into the colosseum to be shredded by animals alive, people were being skinned and boiled alive, they were being crucified, they were literally being killed for their faith in Christ!  Instead of killing the faith though, it grew!  They knew exactly what they believed in and were willing to be tortured and killed for it.  Here in the US, we're afraid of inconvenience.  How pathetic we are!

It's time to RISE up!  Let's start a revolution!  Instead of sitting on the sidelines, let's get out there are show people the love of God and share the Good News!  Now I'm not talking about bullhorns and signs condemning people.  That's the OPPOSITE of what we should do!  Do you really think that is what will bring people to Christ?  I know exactly what they'll think, "If that's what Christians are like, I don't want anything to do with their God."  Trust me, I've seen this happen!  It greatly angers me when people who claim to be Christians do this!  We are not to be OF the world, but we are IN the world.  I once knew a person who said, "I'm just waiting for Jesus to come back.  My family and my kids are all saved so I'm just waiting for Jesus to come back."  Really?  What about all the other people in the world?  It's okay if your family is going to be with Jesus, but screw the rest of the world!  This ticks me off just as much as those who are constantly condemning people to hell.  We need to go to them in love.  Instead of going to a PRIDE parade yelling how they're all going to hell, tell them "Jesus loves you."  Some people feel unloved by everyone in the world, and to hear that there is someone who actually loves them can make a huge difference in their lives.

When Jesus walked the earth, do you know who he was the toughest on?  The religious people who were causing people to stray away.  The religious people who acted like they had everything together.  He called them vipers and whitewashed tombs!  The sinners though, the adulterers, the cheaters (like tax collectors), the sick (including the demon possessed), the beggars, the people who were despised, he was gentle to.  How much more gentle should we be to others?  This doesn't mean you support their every choice or lifestyle.  Many of my friends know where I stand on issues, and we are still friends because there is a mutual understanding that we love each other.

Stop sitting on the sidelines, and stop condemning the world.  Let's start a revolution of REAL love!  Not sexual love, but TRUE love!  Go to the world and share the Good News!