Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Go Ahead





I've really had to think about this lately.  It's a hard lesson I've been having to learn over the years.  When God blesses me with something, I tend to hold onto it as long as I possibly can.  Sometimes some blessings are temporary though, so when He's taking it back, I refuse to let go until I literally can't hold on to it anymore.  Why does he do that?  Why does he give us something and then takes it away?  Since I'm not God, I don't know why.  I suppose it could be a number of reasons....

I guess when God blesses us with something, we need to hold onto those things loosely.  Accept and be thankful for what he's given us, but when he wants it back, be ready to give it back to him.  Now this doesn't mean he'll ALWAYS take away what he's blessed you with.  But with the ones he does, he has his reasons and for all you know, he may bless you in a different way.  He takes good care of us, even if it sometimes seems like he's spiting us.  He's not spiting us, that's not in his nature and he can't be different from his nature.

Y'all, we need to trust God to take care of us.  Let's be thankful for what he blesses us with, and be willing to give the things he wants back to him.



Secrets and Regrets




Ever have a difficult time forgiving yourself for things?  I have struggled with this since I was a kid - in fact, I can't think of a time where I EVER forgave myself for anything.  That's a pretty big burden to carry for nearly thirty years.  Even for the smallest of stuff I've just never been able to forgive myself for!  On top of that, I tend to think EVERYTHING is my fault - and I have thought that way for as long as I can remember (which my short-term memory might suck, but my long-term memory is okay).  I don't really know how to think any differently....

I don't really know how to help much in this area, since it's something I've been working on for a while.  But what I can tell you is that if God can forgive you, then shouldn't you be able to forgive yourself as well?  We are commanded to forgive others, why would forgiving ourselves be any different?  Not being able to forgive - whether it be with yourself, others, or both, is a very heavy burden honestly.  You become bitter, among other things as well.

So yes, I do have a lot of regrets; but since God forgives me (because Jesus died for me and took God's wrath for me), and I am commanded to forgive, then that means I need to forgive myself as well.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"LORD, help!"

I was reading Psalm 107 this morning, and I couldn't help but notice how many times they cried out "LORD, help!"

Sometimes, our suffering is self-inflicted.  It's not always something someone else said or did; sometimes it's what WE said or did - whether to another person or to ourselves.  I recommend reading the entire chapter, but I just want to point out a few verses here.



Verses 1-2:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.  Has the LORD redeemed you?  Then speak out!  Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.



This is something I really struggle with - even on my good days.  Honestly, I'm a coward.  I get too scared to share about Jesus.  I want to, I really, REALLY want to, but I just get so scared that I seriously freeze up and then beat myself up and cry bitterly over it afterwards.  The only sharing about Jesus I really do is in my blog.  I guess that's a start right?  God is good to us, and he loves us more than we could ever imagine!  How could we not share about his goodness?



Verses 10-16:

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery.  They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High.  That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains.  Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.  For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.



Verses 17-21:

Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins.  They couldn't stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death's door.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.  Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.




Sometimes (maybe even usually) our suffering is self-inflicted.  I don't know about you, but when I really get into these bouts of darkness, I completely shut down.  I isolate myself and wallow in my pain.  It's difficult to get out of bed, and sometimes even to eat.  I just want to curl up in the fetal position and cry, but sometimes the tears won't come.  lately, I've cried so much that the tears just won't fall anymore.  I battle with myself.  I'm so tempted to give into punishing myself, but I keep telling myself not to because I don't want to dishonor God, as well as hurt the people who care about me.

In these moments, I cry out for God to help me.  I want to escape from these emotions and the pain; but when learning to grieve again, I have to allow myself to feel them.  I have to allow myself to feel them and then learn to move on from them.  You can only be in your self-pity for so long until enough is enough!  In those dark times though - whether they are self-inflicted or from other causes, we need to cling to Christ and cry out to him "LORD, help!"  He will rescue us!  He may not take us out of them immediately, but he WILL get us through them.  As much as I hurt right now, I know he is with me.  He will get me through this.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Stars






We all have things that wear us down.  We all go through storms in our lives.  We all have days like Elijah where we just want to throw our hands up and say "I give up!  I'm better off dead, take me now!"  (1 Kings 19:4)  I can't tell you how many times I've actually prayed that, yet here I am, still here.  I still don't really know why I'm still here.  I've gotten a pretty clear message though that suicide isn't the way to go though.  After surviving three suicide attempts, you get a clear message you're probably here for a reason.  What that reason is, I don't know - maybe it's to help others through my blog.

For a long time, I wouldn't allow myself to cry (especially in front of other people).  I'm quite the hypocrite.  When other people cry, I don't see it as a sign of weakness.  But when I cry, I feel like I'm weak; and when I feel weak, I feel like hurting myself (whether it be by cutting, binge-eating, or suicidal ideations).  I realized in therapy though a few months ago that our emotions will eventually come out.  You can't hold them in forever.  I had always thought when someone blew up from holding them in for too long it would always come out as anger towards people; and while that can be true, it can come out through other ways too.  Usually when it comes out for me, I inflict damage to myself, rather than other people.  I realized I needed to allow myself to feel the emotions, rather than run from them - even if that means crying.  I couldn't cry though, even when I wanted to.  It was as if I had lost a piece of my humanity.  It is normal for people to cry.  Internally, I'd cry, but I physically couldn't.  Over the last two months though - I have started crying, even to the point of having crying spells.  I still tell myself (and my husband) that I don't want to feel these emotions, they're too intense for me to handle; but I have to feel them or I'll lash out either at myself or someone else.  We can only bottle things up for so long, until we can't anymore.  I have yet to find a coping skill that will really help me, and if I find it I'll be sure to let y'all know!

God knows what we go through - the good and bad times.  The peaceful times and the chaotic times.  Sometimes that's a comforting thought, and other times we shake our fists asking, "Why are you doing this to me?"  He is always there for us though.  We just need to go to him.  I know that's easier said than done.  I mean, sometimes it seems like he's not there, or like he doesn't even exist!  What do we do during those times?  Well, we say the same thing a man said to Jesus when he asked Jesus to heal his demon-possessed son.




"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"


Mark 9:24




No matter what storms you are going through, he is there - with you.  He's not going to leave you on your own.  Even if everyone left you - you're friends, you're family - everyone, he will NEVER leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  You are precious to him and he loves you more than you could ever imagine.  Trust me, this is a new concept for me too.  I mean I always knew he loved everyone, but I never really thought he loved me.  I thought I was just an annoyance to him because that's what I've been for others for so long - but that's not how he sees us.  He LOVES us!  He LOVES you!  I can't tell you just how much he loves us, because honestly, it's more than we could EVER comprehend!  I can tell you this though, if he can love someone like me, he loves you too.  Put your trust in him and his Word.  He will help you get through your storms.




Friday, October 13, 2017

Prayer Friday, 10/13/2017

I said to the LORD, “You are my God! Listen, O LORD, to my cries for mercy!”
O LORD, I am calling to you. Please hurry! Listen when I cry to you for help! Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering. Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips. Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness....
Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.

I cry out to the LORD; I plead for the LORD’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.
Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low.
Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my plea! Answer me because you are faithful and righteous. Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you.
I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. For the glory of your name, O LORD, preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
Amen.
Portions of Psalms 140, 141, 142, And 143
This is my prayer today....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hope

Over the past couple weeks, I've been in a dark place in my life (which I guess is nothing really all that new for me).  Some days are darker than others, but don't we all have those kinds of days?  Sometimes they can be quite crippling.  I've talked about depression a lot in my blogs.  According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression - being the leading cause of disability (https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/facts-statistics-infographic).  Depression affects SO many people all across the globe!  It's no wonder there are so many suicides (being the third leading cause of death with ages between 10-14 and second leading cause of death with ages between 15-34
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide/index.shtml)!

Depression often seems like an impossible place to escape.  Like we're just going to drown in our pain and sorrows.  Like we're right at the edge of a cliff and something/one could push us off.  It often feels hopeless.  We think "Surely things can't get any worse," then things get worse.  We isolate ourselves and push people away from us.  Why bother anyone with our problems?  It's like you want to be alone, yet at the same time you don't.  You don't want to "trouble" anyone or they won't be able to understand what you're going through.  At the same time though, you want to know someone cares about you.

Even in our darkest of days though, there is hope.



"He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.  Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.  And his name will be the hope of all the world."

- Matthew 12:20-21



Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,  Take my yolk upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yolk is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

- Matthew 11:28-30



"However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them."

- John 6:37



"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

- John 16:33




We have hope - through Jesus.  No matter how hopeless things may seem, we have hope.  He will NEVER reject us.  He will NEVER crush the weak.  He has overcome the world; and we can find rest in him.  What may feel hopeless, we can always have hope.  Sometimes we have to take one day at a time, and sometimes it's just taking one hour at a time.  No matter how hopeless things are, NEVER give up!  Our lives are precious - especially to the one who CREATED us!  Especially to the one who DIED for us!  If you are feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255  It is available 24/7.  It's VERY crucial!  You are worth living, because you were worth dying for.  Jesus died so you don't have to!  When I've been feeling like cutting, I've been writing on my arms "Jesus Loves You!"  I also keep in mind why I don't want to cut.

1)  I don't want to hurt the people who care about me (such as my husband)
2)  I really want my next Celebrate Recovery chip (I've gone nearly two months without cutting)
3)  If I hurt myself I am dishonoring Christ.  I am punishing myself when he already took my punishment for me!


I don't say these things to guilt you or anything.  My hope is that you too, will find hope.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Heartstrings Come Undone




I want to dedicate this entry to my husband.  This song is about the writer (Ryan Clark)'s wife.

"I wrote this song for my wife.  It's about my commitment to her.  The gist of the song is, regardless of our past or whatever may come in the future, I'll be there for her.  And if one of us completely falls apart emotionally, physically, or spiritually, I'll try my best, with the help of God, to keep the foundation of our marriage a strong one."

My husband (Nick) has lived this out in more ways I could list.  He's been so good to me, and is the closest I have ever felt to the love from God (though even Nick's love for me greatly falls short of God's love for me).

I've been through a lot in my life, things that have shaped me in good ways, as well as bad ways.  When I'm feeling unstable, I tend to isolate myself.  I push everyone away from me - including Nick.  If I'm really angry or hurt, when I don't isolate myself, I've been known to lash out at him.  I'll yell at him and say terrible things to him.  People don't see or even know it, but I have a side that can be very cruel.

I'm an abuse victim, but I now realize, I can be abusive myself - not just abusive towards myself, but towards others as well.  I don't mean to be abusive, but I get emotionally abusive without even realizing it.  I'm trying to protect myself, but in the process I'm hurting those who love and care about me.

A friend told me I have no excuse to be abusive, and you know what?  He's right.  I have no excuse to act the way I do - even if it is something I'm working on.  I don't typically unleash my garbage out on people - unless they're people who are close to me.  If I have lashed out on you, I'm very sorry.

Anyway, this blog entry is about Nick.  In the seven years we've been married, eight years of knowing each other, he has never left my side.  I remember while we were dating, I knew he was too good for me.  I knew I didn't deserve him.  Several times I told him he should break up with me, but he refused to.  I have said and done horrible things to him, and yet he never leaves me.  It's something I don't understand.  Many people have left me, yet he never has.  I often ask myself, "Why is he still here with me?"

He's seen my psychotic episodes - some worse than others (I had one recently, but it was mild compared to most of them).  He's woken up in the middle of the night with me when I've had night terrors or hallucinated.  When I was extremely sick earlier this year, he woke up many times in the middle of the night just to get me a drink (I was too weak to get up myself).  He knew before marrying me I had baggage, but I don't think either of us truly realized just how much baggage I came with.  We didn't know I was Schizoaffective (which I have heard can cause abusive behavior).  We had no idea just how "crazy" I am.

A couple years ago, I had two suicide attempts.  It devastated him, yet he stayed with me.  No doubt he was upset with me.  When I had my second massive overdose, I was in the hospital over night before being transferred to the mental health ward.  That night he stayed with me overnight.  Neither of us got much sleep.  He was with me for most of the next day as well.  Even after that, he still didn't leave me.

Nick is always with me, whether I'm emotionally unstable, or even I've really struggled with my faith - including leaving the faith for a short time.  He's always looking out for me, and when people attack me on Facebook, he goes after them.  He's very protective over me.  Even after having left the faith though, he stayed by my side.  He worried about me a lot; he probably spent a lot of time in prayer for me to return to Christ.

I have been trying very hard to let my guard down with him.  It's not easy; I mean, I put walls up with EVERYONE.  I try really hard to trust him.  I am slowly making progress though.



Nick, thank you for staying with me for eight years.  I'm sorry I have not been good to you.  I've been abusive and I am so, so, sorry.  I always thought that if I would end up with a man, he would most likely be abusive towards me - never had I ever imagined that I would be the abuser myself!  I don't deserve you, but I am thankful to have you in my life.  I want to be the best wife I can be for you - with God's help of course.  I've told you before you weren't my dream guy - you're SO much better than my dream guy!  Sometimes when you speak to me, I wonder if God is speaking to me through you.  I never thought there'd ever be a man who could truly love me, especially when I can't even love myself!  You're my best friend and my lover.  You lead me into a greater relationship with Christ.  You're not perfect, but you're pretty darn close to it 😊  I hope one day, I will be as good to you as you are to me.  You have lived out Ephesians 5:25



Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loves the church.



Thank you for always being with me, and for never leaving me.  I love you!  💕💖💘




Monday, October 9, 2017

Prodigal





Ever wondered if you left God, would he take you back if you returned?

This is a struggle I know all to well.  There were several times I almost left the faith, and then at one point  I really did leave.  I felt that God didn't want me anymore.  My reason for leaving was a completely emotional reason - but aren't they usually?  In my experience, EVERY person I knew who left the faith did it for purely emotional reasons.  I'm not saying there are no "logical" reasons, but I think most people who leave, leave for emotional reasons. 

When I left, though it was brief, I was honestly pretty scared.  I felt completely alone.  There was no one who could protect me from any kind of evil in the world.  Sure I had my husband, but he can only protect me from so much because he's human.  There are some things that people can't really protect you from - and there was no way I could protect myself.  I felt absolutely miserable.  This may not be how everyone feels when they leave.  Some people may feel free - like they can do whatever they want!  Normally something like that would probably make a person feel free and pretty good, I did not feel good at all.  Sure I thought, "Well, I guess I can do things now that normally I wouldn't."  My husband was pretty devastated that I had left (he's in ministry).  I think one of the things he was afraid of though was what I would do now that I had more "freedom" to do whatever I wanted.  I had morals though, it's not like I'd have an affair or anything.

In the parable of the prodigal son, he goes to his father and says "I want my inheritance now!"  In other words, he told his father, "Dad, I want what I would get if you were dead."  Can you imagine if you were a parents and your kid says, "I'd be better off if you were dead!  Give me what I would get before you die!"  In the parable, the father does give his son his inheritance.  At this point, I imagine this kid (okay, maybe a young adult?) feeling pretty smug.  So what does he do?  He travels far away from home and parties of course!  He makes a bunch of friends while throwing his money around.  Probably gets some ladies - one in each arm.  While he's gone, I imagine his father just sitting on his porch every day, waiting for his son to return home.  Maybe one of his servants asks, "Why do you sit here, waiting every day?"  The father answers, "My son will return home.  I want to be here when he comes back home."

Then a famine hits.  The kid has no more money, no more girls, and no more friends.  Everyone has abandoned him and he has nowhere he can go.  Ever feel like that?  Like everyone has left you?  Like no one has a care in the world for you?  The kid starts working on a pig farm so he can survive.  This kid was starving.  Even the food that he fed the pigs looked good enough to eat (which is pretty nasty).  He wasn't allowed to eat the pigs food though of course.  So he thought, "Maybe I should go home.  I can ask my dad if I can work for him as one of his servants.  At least I'll be fed and taken care of."  You know he had to have been pretty desperate to consider facing his father after leaving the way he did and wasting ALL his money.  So he walks home.  As he's walking home, he's probably practicing what he's going to say to his father to make sure it comes out right.  The closer he gets home, he's probably getting more anxious.  "What am I going to do if he rejects me?  What if he won't even allow me to be a servant?"

While his father is sitting on his porch (okay, it doesn't say he's on his porch, it's just an idea), he faintly sees someone heading his way.  He squints a little to see who it is, when he can make out an outline of his son.  Now you may be thinking, "He's going to be pretty pissed off seeing his son after the way he left."  No.  He recognizes his son and is filled with joy!  I imagine he jumps out of his chair and starts laughing, yelling "Woohoo!!  It's him!  It's my son!  He's returned home!"  He RUNS to his son while his son is still far off in the distance.  This is pretty interesting.  It would've been seen then as undignified for a father to run like that, but he doesn't care!  He RUNS to his son!  The kid is probably thinking, "Oh snap, he's running to scold me!"  He starts to say "Uh, dad, I wronged you in such a despicable way.  I don't deserve to be called your son.  Please, hire me as one of your serv-"  He gets cut off.  His father embraces him tightly, kissing his cheek, perhaps even in tears, "My son!  You've come home!"  He yells for one of his servants.  His servant gets there and he says "Hurry and get the best clothes we have for him!  While you're at it, give him a ring and some good shoes!  Oh, and kill the calf we've been fattening!  We are going to celebrate because my son was once dead, but is now alive!  He was once lost, but is now found!"

No matter where you are in your life, no matter what you've done, your Heavenly Father loves you and wants you.  He is waiting for you.  He isn't wanting to condemn anyone to hell.  Despite what some people think, he's not just this Zues-like God who's just waiting to smite people.  In fact, he says quite the opposite!



"Do you think that I would like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD.  Of course not!  I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live."

Ezekiel 8:23



He doesn't like seeing people die!  Not. One. Single. Person.  He doesn't enjoy punishing people.  Where we get this idea that he's just waiting to punish people, I have no idea.  This doesn't mean he doesn't punish though.  A good parent will punish their child when their child does something wrong.  They don't enjoy doing that; so why would anyone think a perfect Father would enjoy doing that?

Anyway, he's waiting for you; and when you turn to him through Jesus, he RUNS to you!  We're not talking about just any father, we're talking about the King!  We're talking about the God who created the galaxy!  He runs to you, and has so much joy that you have come to him (or returned to him like in the story of the prodigal son).  He loves you so much; so, SO MUCH!  He wants to embrace you and kiss you, and say "My son has come to me!" or "My daughter has come to me!"Go to him, he wants you 😁




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pray




How do we pray?



This can be a tough subject believe it or not.  I mean, how do we pray?  Jesus gave us an example:



Our Father, who is in heaven.  How holy is your name!  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done.  On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily needs, and forgive us of our wrong doings, as we forgive those who do wrong against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.



There was a time I was really scared to pray.  It was actually only a few years ago.  I realized just how holy God is, and how unholy and inadequate I really am.  So I would write my prayers down in a notebook instead.  I mean, it's still a way of praying, but for some reason writing them down helped me a lot.  I did this for a couple years.  I write them down sometimes, but not so much anymore.  I've learned that God really does want to hear my prayers.  Whether it's written down, praying in your head, or praying aloud (which I RARELY pray aloud in front of people).  He wants to hear your prayers.  It's a way we can communicate with our Father.  Typically we don't hear his voice auditorally (is that even a real word?), but we do see what he says in his WORD.

If God is our Father, how do we talk to him?  Just like you would talk to anyone else (in my opinion).  He wants to hear what's on your heart.  When I was extremely angry or distressed, sometimes I'd say some words that would be considered VERY disrespectful - especially to someone who's so holy.  I'm known to have a mouth worse than a sailor - especially when I'm very angry.  Luckily, he's a big God and can handle it.  It's not something I would recommend though.  I've been working very hard to bite my tongue now.  God wants to hear what is on your heart.  If you are in pain, tell him!  If you are angry, tell him!  If you are in despair, tell him!  If you're overwhelmed with joy, tell him!

He already knows the desires of your heart, but he wants to hear it from you.  Isn't that what every good parent does?  A good parent may know what their child wants, but would rather hear it come from their child.  A good parent also won't give their child necessarily everything they want though.  Sometimes, the parent has something even better in store for them.  How much more could our heavenly Father want the best for us!

There have been desires I have had for a very long time, and yet I still don't have them.  It hurts, I'm not going to lie.  I often ask God in my tears "Why can't I have this?  Is it so wrong for me to have this?"  Now it doesn't mean he will never give it to me, but I think it's highly unlikely he will.  As much as it hurts though, I know he knows what's best for me.  It may sound cliche, but if I can't have this desire, he's got something better in store for me that I probably have never considered or even thought of!  We have to trust him though.  It's like when a child wants that beanie baby (man I must be old, lol).  They cry and cry, even have a fit right there in the store screaming "I want it!  I want it!"  Meanwhile, the parent has a giant stuffed animal, one just as big as their child, just waiting for them!



Cast all your your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7



Whatever is on your heart, talk to God about it, he cares about you.  He loves you SO much!  Tell him your concerns, your worries, your anger, your pain, and even your joys!  When I'd pray, I used to just tell him what I wanted and my complaints.  But then, I realized I needed to praise him too!  So for a while, I would pray for others, and then praise him.  I wouldn't really pray for myself.  Then I realized, he still wants to hear about my needs too!  So now I've learned to do both.  Sometimes I'll start off by praising him about something, then I'll tell him my needs/wants and my prayers for others.  Then I end it with praising him again.  That's usually how I do it anyway.  It's different for everyone.  Sometimes, I don't start out with praising though.  When I'm in a lot of pain or I'm angry, sometimes I'll start off with "Why are you doing this to me?"  But I ALWAYS end my prayers with praise.  No matter what pain I'm going through, I still praise him because that's what he deserves.  He deserves ALL praise.

No matter what you're going through, share it will your Father.  He's listening 😁



Friday, October 6, 2017

I'm Sorry

I don't typically write this late.  In fact, I'm usually winding down, getting ready for bed at this time.  While I was taking a shower tonight, I really felt like God was laying something on my heart, and I wanted to write it tonight so I wouldn't forget in the morning.

To all the people I have said unkind words to, especially over the past few years, I want to apologize.  I am not using this as an excuse, but I want to tell you.  One of my weaknesses is that I'm a VERY impressionable person.  I have a very difficult time thinking for myself (though my blog is mostly of my own thoughts).  I hate making my own decisions.  If there's an option for someone to make a decision for me instead, it gives me great relief because then it's not completely my fault for whatever consequences there are.

There is a reason why I tend to stay away from political posts on Facebook now.  It would constantly get me into trouble - trouble that I wasn't and still really can't handle.  I'm not a debater, so most of my posts on Facebook politically-wise, were stuff that I had been told, and believed.  I tend to believe everything people tell me - another weakness I have.  A few years ago, I made a lot of posts on why I believed homosexuality was wrong - but I fear I did not say them with kindness - and I regret that.

I want to make something clear.  I do believe homosexuality is wrong.  I can give you my reasons, but that may be for a future blog (if I haven't written on it already).  I don't hate homosexuals.  Let me repeat that. I do NOT hate homosexuals.  I love them just as much as anyone else.  But I also know a couple years ago, my words and my tone did not convey love.  I want to speak the truth, but I also want to speak it in love - not condemnation.  I was influenced by someone who was really into politics, and their approach wasn't the most loving.  Since I am very impressionable, I followed the same way.  I loved homosexuals then, but it did not appear that way.  With this, I am deeply sorry.

There was another person I'm thinking of in particular.  They were a believer, but he did a lot of cross-dressing.  He really liked me, and seemed comfortable talking with me.  I wasn't sure what to think though.  He would act like he was "one of the girls."  He'd say things like "Let's have girl talk."  I honestly had no idea what to think of this person.  I had talked to a couple people about it, and they had both said this person wasn't someone I was healthy enough to talk to.  One of the people who told me this though, was the one who was influencing me with politics again.  They told me to be really blunt.  I was afraid though, because the way they were telling me to do it was not like me.  I followed what they said though.  I really hurt the guy, and I felt horrible.  I have felt terrible about it ever since, but tried to just push it aside because there's nothing I can do about it now.  So to this particular person, I'm sorry I was not kind to you.

Growing up I was severely bullied, and I realize now, that a couple years ago, in a sense I became a bully myself.  That is a very hard pill to swallow.  I always wanted to be someone who would protect those who couldn't protect themselves.  Instead, I became the attacker instead of the defender.  I am very, very sorry.  I have learned my lesson, and want to speak in love instead of condemnation.  If I condemn others, then I will be condemned as well.  I think of the passage in Scripture (which I have talked about before in a previous blog) about the adulterous woman.  The Pharisees brought her out to Jesus with stones and tried to trap him.  They said "In Moses' law we are to stone this adulterous woman.  What would you say we do?"  He began to write something in the dirt.  They got impatient and told him to say something.  He got up and said, "Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone."  He knelt back down writing in the dirt.  Starting from the oldest to the youngest, they began to leave.  They knew they were not perfect with God.  Every. Single. Pharisee, Left.  Only the woman and Jesus were left.  Jesus asked her "Where are your accusers?  Have not one of them stayed?"
"No sir." the woman answered.  Jesus replied, "Then neither do I.  Go and sin no more."

I don't want to be like the Pharisees.  How can I condemn someone when I have enough things to be condemned for myself?  If Jesus doesn't condemn me, then I shouldn't condemn people either.  If Jesus loves me, I should love others as well.

I am not perfect - far from it!  I want to show Jesus' love to everyone, but I know I will never do this perfectly.  I pray that you will judge him based on WHO he is and WHAT he says, instead of what a faulty person such as myself says or does.  He loves you more than you could ever know.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Strong Tower




So yesterday I wrote a blog on what lights your fire, and now that I think about it, I'm surprised I was able to write it okay because I ended up having a psychotic episode for several hours yesterday.  I was careless and accidentally took the wrong meds - skipping my antipsychotic.  I had delusional thinking and paranoid over the most stupid stuff.  I kept hallucinating.  I kept thinking I saw things moving (like lights) and kept thinking I saw someone standing in front of me, but when I looked up it was gone.  Then I kept feeling like something was tapping me on my head.  Of course, the voices came back too.  I kept hearing someone shouting my name even though I was home alone - there's no way my cat could shout my name!  I put my headphones in my ears and had to keep cranking up the volume, trying to drown out the voices.  It was like this for several hours!  I was an absolute wreck.  I'm terrified to see what all I must've posted on Facebook yesterday 😰

Anyway, there's a song (now that I've calmed down and am a little more sane) that I used to listen to often, I even used to play my bass to it (it was kinda fun for a beginner anyway).  I still like the song, I just hadn't heard it in a while.  When I listened to it this morning, I thought "I should've listened to this yesterday!"  I did listen to another good song though, "Hold Me Now" by Red.  That was comforting some too.

So, "Strong Tower," how this could've helped me I'm sure!  In the midst of our trials, whatever they may be for you (like yesterday it was my psychotic episode), we have a strong tower we can go to.  Here's the chorus:


You are my strong tower
A shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty
Everlasting king
You are my strong tower
Fortress when I'm weak
Your name is true and holy
And your face is all I see


In the words of Han Solo


It is ABSOLUTELY true!  No matter what it is you're going through, we have someone who can protect us, someone who can defend us.



He will cover you with his feathers.  He will shelter you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:4


I had this vision once (yes, I used the "v" word, and I VERY rarely have them) of things going on in a small room (this story would take too long to get into details though so I'll spare you all the details).  There was no way out and I just got on my knees, covering my ears with my hands and keeping my eyes shut in tears.  Jesus comes over to me and kneels down in front of me, and just holds me, telling me how everything is going to be okay.  I just buried my face in his chest as he was protecting me from the things around me.  

Y'all, he does that for us, not just in visions, not just in dreams, he REALLY does that for us!  Even when it seemed like my brain was betraying me yesterday, believe me, I wanted to escape it.  I told my husband if there was ever a time I wanted to get high to escape, it was right then.  But even if I had, it wouldn't change anything.  My problems would still be there in the end.  It's just like cutting or binge eating.  A short, temporary relief, but when the euphoria is done, you're still faced with the same problems that were there before, and perhaps even more so now than before (like having to explain to my husband or my parents why they see where I've cut myself).  

I know I say this often, but we've got to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS!  When we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  He is there and wants to help us in our time of need.  Focus on him.  No matter what problems we have in life, he is BIGGER than them!  I mean think about it, he defeated death!  Jesus literally suffered and died for us - then came back to life!



"No one can take my life from me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what my Father has commanded."

John 10:18


He is a big God, he can help us no matter what we're going through.  Put your focus on him.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Light a Fire





I absolutely LOVE this song.  I couldn't believe I haven't blogged about this song yet!

We all have things we're passionate about.  For me, it's really hard for me to find things I'm passionate about.  Before my first suicide attempt, I had all sorts of dreams of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be in the army, I wanted to be in youth ministry, I wanted to be an animator, I wanted to start a therapeutic farm with rescued animals to help troubled kids, I wanted to be a missionary in Japan, and more than anything - I wanted to be a mom.  These are still dreams I have, but they don't seem plausible for me at this point.  After my first suicide attempt, my personality changed quite a bit.  If you look at photos of me before my suicide attempt, I smile.  I look happy - even if I'm pretending to be.  I at least looked like I had joy.  You look at photos of me now though, that light seems to not be there anymore.  Smiling just feels awkward to me now.  I don't really know how to anymore.  It's not that there's no joy anymore, though that does seem to be buried deep down inside, only sometimes peaking it's way out. 

Anyway....

There is one thing I do have a passion for, and you may see it from time to time in my blogs.  I have a passion for it, but I'm afraid of it too.  So what is it?  Well, it's a couple things - and they're complicated for me too.

1)  I love helping people.  I have mixed feelings about people.  After everything I've been through with people, deep down there's a feeling of disgust towards people.  I prefer animals for a reason after all.  When animals attack people, it's instinct.  Most likely they are either trying to protect themselves, or if they're a mama they're trying to protect their babies.  People on the other hand, they have evil intentions.  They hurt you to do just that - to hurt you.  They're not necessarily trying to protect themselves or their families.  As Alfred in the Dark Knight once said, "Some people just want to watch the world burn."  I fear people.  At the same time though, I love people.  I hate watching them suffer.  When I see someone suffering with something, I immediately start trying to think of what I can do to help.  Sometimes there's nothing I can really do but just be there for them and pray.  I know I can't be the savior of the world, but I do want to show them WHO the Savior of the world is.  Which brings us to point two.

2)  I love Jesus.  I want to serve him with all I have and into eternity.  He's saved my butt a number of times, and I'm sure other times I may not even be aware of!  He is my Savior in a very deep, literal sense.  He didn't just save me spiritually, which don't get me wrong is HUGE!  Spiritual salvation I would say is the most important salvation.  But he has saved me in other ways too - ways that would take another blog entry and would be quite long.  He is my Rescuer in so many ways.  There's no one else I'd want to serve.  I often get afraid though.  I ask God "Please give me an opportunity to share the Good News today with someone!"  But then I chicken when I get the chance, and walk away ashamed and even in tears.  I keep thinking "What if I say/do something wrong?  What if I don't present him in a truthful way?  What if they look badly at him?"  I also have selfish ones too, "What if they don't like me?  What if they see me like Christians who have hurt them?  What if they think I'm stuck-up?"  "What If's" can kill a person.  One of the reasons I'm so open in this blog about my struggles is people tend to think Christians are "stuck up" or act like their lives are perfect.  Trust me, I get it, that kind of appearance drives me insane!  I'm raw in my struggles on here to show them I'm just as broken as everyone else.  There's no "holier than thou" with me.  I have as much garbage in my life as everyone else - I just happen to talk about mine.  No Christian has it all put together, even if they appear that way.  We're ALL just as broken as everyone else - we just happen to know someone who will one day make us new. 

So what do I do with all this?

Well, I have a heart for people, and I have a fire in me lit for Jesus.  I get scared talking about Jesus, but sometimes when they bring the topic up with me, I get REALLY excited.  Suddenly my fears go out the door!  There are a lot of people lost in darkness - and they don't even realize it.  Some times they do, I did.  We can be so rebellious towards God.  I was consumed in darkness.  Now that I have the light in me though, I want to share Him with the world!  I want to show people that they're not alone.  I want to show them that Jesus loves them more than they could ever imagine or comprehend.  I want to show them that there is hope in Jesus.  I want to show them the grace and love of God. 

I haven't really figured out how to implement both of these.  I guess I just start with my blog right?

Y'all we have a powerful God that if he wanted to he could wipe everything out of existence with just the tip of his finger!  He could do it and honestly, he'd have every right to do so.  But he's also a merciful God.  He wants you to go to him and ask for forgiveness.  He wants to call you his child, and a good parent won't just cast their child away.

When people see me, I don't want them to see me - I want them to see Him.  I'm not a perfect reflection of Jesus.  Ha!  I'm nowhere even close to being a perfect reflection!  But even in my imperfections, even in my failures, he can still use me for his glory.  I mean that's really the point in our lives - to bring Him glory.  I don't want to watch the world reject someone who loves them SO much!  Only recently I realized that Jesus really does love me, and it's made some pretty big changes with me.  If the world really knew just how loved they are by the creator of the galaxy, it would change them!  Even the hardest of hearts would melt if they truly knew Jesus loves them.  That is my passion - to show a world full of darkness that there is light, and this light will never go out.  This light will remain for eternity.  This light will never leave them.  My passion is to spread the Good News.  I haven't figured out how other than in my blogs, and it's something I know God will eventually reveal to me.

So let me ask you:  What lights the fire in you?



Monday, October 2, 2017

Fighting For You




Ever feel like you're in a battle all alone?  Like you're fighting so hard but you can hardly even breathe?  You're so beaten and bruised and you see no light on the horizon?  Life has crushed you to the point you're ready to just give up?  Life sucks, but guess what, we're not fighting alone!  There is a bright light on the horizon that is brighter than the sun itself!


"The LORD Himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm."

Exodus 14:14


God will fight for us!  Jesus knows what it's like to hurt. He knows what it's like being abandoned.  He knows what it's like to be alone.  Yes, Jesus is God, but He's also human.  God incarnate!  Since Jesus is human, that means He has emotions too.  He feels joy, but He also feels pain.  He is fighting for us!  He is fighting the forces of evil you don't see.  He is fighting for your soul and your life!  He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  You are never truly alone.  The thought of that used to scare me honestly.  I mean, that means He sees the things I don't want him to see!  But now, it's comforting.  Even though he sees all my mistakes, he still loves me regardless.  He knows I'll never be perfect in this life, not even close!  But he loves me still.  He will fight for you, just be still and be calm.  Put your trust in the one who made you and sees you as more precious than diamonds, jewels, and even the stars!  He loves you more than there are grains of sand!  He loves you more than there are stars in the sky!  You have been written on his heart before you were even a thought.  As Jesus was hanging on the cross, YOU were on his mind!  He was born to die - to die for YOU!  To rescue YOU!  NEVER GIVE UP!  You are precious in his eyes!  Look to the one who created the galaxy!  He can heal your broken heart.  He can pick you up when you've fallen.  When you have wandered away from him, he will find you.  He pursues you in such a way that you could not understand.  He will NEVER give up on you!



Monday, September 25, 2017

A Tender Heart

What does it mean to have a tender heart?


When you've been hurt a lot, you tend to build walls and harden your heart.  When you can't trust anyone, you build walls.  It's a defense mechanism.  Sometimes we just want to be safe.  We get so tired of giving our heart away to people and then have it stepped on and crushed afterwards.  It's a terrible feeling, and so then you say "I won't do that next time."  So you learn to stop trusting people.  You start to harden your heart so you are not hurt like that again.

But not trusting anyone is a VERY lonely feeling.  I get it, sometimes it's nice to be alone.  But to feel alone all the time doesn't feel good at all.  We're social creatures, we weren't meant to be alone.  You want to reach out.  You want someone you can really trust.  You want someone who really cares about you.  Maybe, you just want someone to talk to, or someone who will listen to you.

We weren't made to have hardened hearts.  God gives us a heart of flesh, not stone (Ezekiel 36:26).  Are we going to get hurt sometimes?  Of course, there's no way to avoid getting hurt.  But having a tender heart also means you care for others.  You have compassion for others.  You have empathy for others.

I'll admit, there have been times where I actually asked God to harden my heart, weird right?  Like He's really going to do that!  I don't ask for that anymore though.  I realize that with love comes pain.  You can't love others, but not feel any pain at the same time.  If I want to help other people, I have to have a tender heart.  If I want to show people the love of God, I have to have a tender heart.  Jesus had a tender heart while he walked on the earth.  If Jesus had a tender heart, shouldn't we as followers of Christ have tender hearts as well?  You know he had a tender heart because he had compassion for people.  He loved them more than anyone ever could love them.  I mean think about it, he died for all of us because he loved us.  His heart melted like wax (Psalm 22:14).  If this is the heart of Jesus, then we as followers of Christ need to have a heart like that as well.




Saturday, September 23, 2017

The End of the World

Well, it's September 23, 2017, supposedly the day Jesus comes back.  No matter how many times the predictions are wrong, people are still trying to predict when Jesus is coming back.  I find this absolutely insane to be honest.  In the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36:




"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven, or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows."




Jesus himself doesn't even know when he's coming back!  How the heck does a person know when he's coming back, but he, himself doesn't even know when he's coming back?  How arrogant must we be to think we could know such information that he doesn't even know!  During Biblical times, if someone was found to be a false prophet, they'd be stoned to death!  Yet today we see many people telling false prophecies and they don't even apologize for it.  Instead, they make a ton of money and best sellers (John Hagee anyone?)!  You have no idea how much this ticks me off, and dare I even say, it makes God angry too?  If you want to be famous and have a ton of money, you just have to make a false prediction of when Jesus is coming back (or when you're being "raptured (I do not believe in the rapture btw)") and people will donate you money and you'll have a best-seller right there!  If God is going to give you a message, it will NOT go against his Word.  I don't talk about my dreams much because they're very personal to me.  If I have a dream that I believe came from God (which is rare), I believe it's from him because the message coincides with Scripture.  If I had a dream where God told me Jesus was coming back January 29, 2039 (I just put in random numbers, lol), that would not be a dream from God because Jesus said not even he knows when he's coming back!  Anything that contradicts Scripture is not from God, no matter how strongly you may feel it is.

I've had "end of the world" dreams, but I know that's all they are, just dreams.  You may say, "Well, Allie, you don't have the gift of prophecy that's why!"  I don't have to have the gift of prophecy, nor be a scholar to know that these dreams aren't from God.  It's plain and simple.  Can dreams have messages?  Sure, but ones that predict the end of the world?  Nope.

Even though it's HIGHLY doubtful that Jesus will be coming back today, that doesn't mean we should be foolish either.  I think we should live our life every day as if Jesus is going to return that day.  He may come back then, or he may come back another day, we just don't know when he'll be back.

I know I often feel torn when it comes to the subject of Jesus coming back.  I mean, I want him to come back, I want to be with him after all, and I want the world to see him for who he really is - a king!  But at the same time, I know there are a lot of people in this world, people I even know, who are going to have it really rough when he comes back (and that's to put it VERY lightly).

So what do we do in the meantime?  First, we pray about it.  We pray and ask God to help us live a holy life here.  We also ask him to give us the courage to speak about Jesus to others.  This is very difficult, believe me I know.  Even though I enjoy talking about him, I get very nervous about it too.  I'm often plagued with thoughts like "What if I turn them further away from God?  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if I present him in a way that isn't true?"  Do you have these thoughts as well?  It can be a bit crippling.  So ask God to give you the courage to speak up, and the wisdom for the right words and attitude to say them.

I have met people in ministry who really had no business being in ministry.  You have to have more than a heart for God to be in ministry.  You have to have a heart for people as well.  There is a lot of darkness in the world, and there are a lot of people trapped in that darkness.  If you're in ministry, you have to have the desire to want to rescue those people from the darkness.  Of course, only God can truly rescue them - but he can use you to help them get into the light - HIS light, not your light.  That's the thing about ministry, it's not about you, it's about him!  It doesn't matter what kind of ministry you're in, it is to bring him glory and to bring people to him.  



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Suffering Pt 2

Not too long ago I wrote an entry on suffering - or rather what our response to suffering should be.  I will admit, lately I've been wallowing in self-pity.  Why does that keep happening to me?  Why haven't I learned from my previous experiences that this will keep happening if I don't change?  Circumstances seem to keep repeating over and over again like this cycle that never ends and it is destroying me.  I want to end the cycle, but I can't figure out how.  Sometimes I wonder if God is really listening to my cries and sees my tears.  I get so tired of the same issue occurring over and over again.  Even though I know there are those who suffer more than me, I still think to myself, "It can't get any worse than this!"  Of course, when I hear about other people suffering, it ends up humbling me.  I realize then, even more so, that there is suffering greater than what I go through.

Last night I went to a Ratio Christi event at Kennesaw State University on the Problem of Evil.  The speaker used a video example of my friend, Nabeel Qureshi, one of his final sermons.  In case you didn't know.  He was diagnosed last year with stage four stomach cancer.  He went through a lot of suffering with this and died this past Saturday (09/16/2017).  One of his final sermons he said that he could not find any worse suffering than to be crucified by the people he came to save.  This hit me like a ton of bricks!  I mean really consider what he's saying here.

The whole reason Jesus was born, was to die.  He came to save people from their wickedness.  He came to save those in prisons of darkness.



The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

Isaiah 61:1



In order to do that though, Jesus had to suffer.




He was despised and rejected -- a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief."

Isaiah 53:3



Then he took our punishment.  He was beaten to a pulp.  Flogged to the point his organs were probably exposed.  He was nailed to a cross in his wrists and feet.  He basically drowned to death from fluid filling up in his lungs (that's why blood AND water came out after the guard stabbed him in the side to check if he was really dead).  We get the word "excruciating" from the word crucifixion.  It was a very shameful way of dying.

I remember earlier this year, I was extremely sick and we weren't sure what was wrong with me (we still don't know completely what was wrong with me then).  They always have a difficult time finding my veins in my arms (they were trying to put an IV in my arm).  I asked them why they didn't just put the IV in my arm where the veins are most prominent (like in the wrist area), and they said it would be WAY too painful, and they used the word excruciating.  It made me think about how painful it must've been for Jesus to be nailed in his wrists.  If a needle would be too painful (which btw, I absolutely HATE needles), can you even imagine a nail?  We're not talking little tacks for nails, we're talking 4-5 inches going through your wrists and feet!  Jesus went through all of this - to save the very people crucifying him - ALL of US!  That's right, WE crucified him.

No matter what kind of suffering we may be going through (and by no means am I diminishing your suffering), it cannot compare to the excruciating, painful, shameful, humiliating, death of Jesus.  Everyone has their own wars they go through, but we cannot fight them on our own or we will lose the war in the end.  Jesus understands our suffering because he's been there!




We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.  Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.

Hebrews 12:2





Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fat-Acceptance Movement

This entry might be a bit more political than what I usually write, but we'll see how it goes.

There is a movement growing in the US called the "Fat Acceptance Movement."  I get where they're coming from.  A lot of people who are on the heavy side are often looked down on in society.  They're made fun of for being large and called lazy.  I remember being made fun of for my weight growing up.  I was called fat, "fluffy", even a whale for my weight.  I was also made fun of for the way I'd eat.  I wasn't even fat back then.  Sure I was on the chunky side, but for most of my life I thought I was fat, until eventually I just gave up trying to get healthy (even when I was healthy) and just allowed myself to get where I am now.  I get it, I really do.  People, especially girls, are bombarded with images of thin models and beautiful celebrities all the time.  Girls are always comparing themselves to other girls, trust me, I know - I am one after all.  All girls want to look pretty, I don't care how tomboyish they may be, they want to look good.  Often times people will treat a large person as if they're less than human.  As a large woman, I do see some people look at me with disgust.  It's humiliating and degrading.  I get it.  Fat-shaming is a TERRIBLE thing and should be stopped immediately.  BUT there is a movement out there which I do believe is lethal - the fat acceptance movement.

How is this lethal?

When a large woman is told all sizes are beautiful and there is nothing unhealthy about being large is deadly - literally.  There are A LOT of health problems that come with being large.  At 284 lbs I can tell you, I have A LOT of health problems, and I know it's not just me.  A large amount of fat can cause problems on your joints (I have arthritis in both of my knees - I'm only 27 years old!).  You are at risk of diabetes (I'm pre-diabetic).  You are at risk of a heart attack and heart disease.  I mean think about it.  The more weight you have to carry (like at my weight, I weigh as much as two grown adults), the harder your heart has to work to pump blood in your body.  I am constantly afraid my heart is going to just stop because it's had to work too hard.  There are many other health problems too, such as even a stroke.

Don't get me wrong, no one, and I mean NO ONE should be called ugly for being fat.  A person should NEVER be called ugly whether they are fat or not.  I know there are people who are thinking "Don't say the f (fat) word!"  Look, we need to call it what it is.  As someone who is fat, I know we need to call it what it is - fat and unhealthy.  Weighing the same amount as two grown adults is fat.  You know what?  I'm not offended with the fat word because I know that's the truth.  If you are morbidly obese (which I am), you need to accept it for what it is.  BUT, don't leave it there.

Now, just because someone is fat, it doesn't necessarily mean they're lazy.  They could be very active in fact.  They just happen to have an eating/binge problem.  For me, I'm addicted to eating, which my therapist actually said I have an eating disorder.  It does not make me lazy (though I could be a little more active), it means I have an eating problem - that if not dealt with could literally kill me.  I was called a pig and a polar bear not too long ago, though it didn't bother me.  I know I'm fat, and I know it's something I have to work on, and I am working on it.  Last fall I was at 296 lbs, and the reason it's been taking me so long to lose more weight is because I keep getting sick.  I also have a poor diet in general, and I am working on that too.

If your BMI is off the medical charts (like mine), you need to lose weight.  Talk with a doctor to see how much a healthy weight should be for you (trust me, they know the body A LOT better than you do).  At my height (5'7") I should weigh around 140-150 lbs (that's a 130 lb difference!).  I have a LONG ways to go, but if I'm going to care about my body not for how it looks, but for my health, I need to commit to it.

Your body is a temple, treat it like so.  Take care of your body.  I imagine a temple, and all the binge-eating I do and unhealthy food I eat (including portion sizes) are prostitutes I'm allowing in my temple!  It's time to kick those prostitutes out!  A temple is holy, treat your body as such.

If your feelings are hurt, I'm sorry, but I really am coming to you out of love, even if it doesn't seem like it.  It's out of love because you shouldn't allow anyone to abuse you - including abuse from yourself.  There's a difference between accepting yourself in a healthy way and accepting yourself in an unhealthy way.  The healthy way would be to accept the way you were created to be.



I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14



The way God made you is beautiful, you were created in His image.  But when you don't take care of your body in a healthy manner, you are abusing the beautiful person He made you as.

I know it's not easy getting healthy.  As someone on A LOT of medications, it can make it more difficult.  A lot of medications can actually make you gain weight.  But that just means you need to work harder and be more determined to get healthy than maybe an average person.  You CAN do it - with God's help and with the support from others.  You don't have to do this alone.  Accepting the problem is probably the biggest hurdle.  The next thing to do is follow out a plan.  For example, I weigh myself on Wednesdays and Sundays, and instead of focusing on the losing 130 lbs goal, I focus on losing five lbs at a time.  Then do it!  Have smaller portions.  Eat healthier foods.  Exercise.  We can do this!



Monday, September 18, 2017

Nabeel Qureshi




Two days ago, I got the news that Nabeel Qureshi had passed away.  He had a year-long battle with stage four stomach cancer.  He never gave up though, he fought until the very end.  Not once did he point the finger at God and say "YOU did this to me!  This is YOUR fault!"  Not once did he renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.  People know him most as a Muslim who converted to Christianity and from his book "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus."  He was doctor turned apologist (someone who defends the faith).  He was a very close friend of my parents, and he was my friend too.

I've known him since I was in sixth grade - 14 years.  My dad (who's also an apologist) had this team who'd meet at our house called the "Dream Team."  He was one of the people who came over for the Dream Team.  That's how I first knew him, well, I guess met him.  I wasn't really involved in my dad's Dream Team and quite honestly, I didn't care about apologetics, lol.  Anyway, after we moved to another state, I didn't really see him until high school when he came to visit my parents.

I remember this one particular time, I had just gotten done with a horseback riding lesson (I think 10th grade).  He and my dad came to pick me up.  We were around 10-20 miles away from the house I think (though to be honest, I really have no idea, lol).  My dad knew how much I couldn't stand puns.  So guess what happened from the drive between the barn and the house?  Between Nabeel and my dad, it was pun after pun after pun.  I was so mad about it; though now, I laugh when I think back to that memory.

There was another memory I'm fond of too.  Right after graduating high school (about two months after), I had my first suicide attempt.  I was put on an anti-psychotic (Risperdal).  I did't know it was for temporary use, the doctor never told me!  Anyway, it caused nasty tremors in my hands.  It made it difficult to type on the computer, and especially eating with a spoon or fork.  I went to an apologetics conference in Charlotte, NC with my dad - to see my boyfriend (now husband, who once again, is an apologist) at the time.  My dad was going to let me do the PowerPoint for him in one of his sessions, but the tremors were so bad, he had to have someone else do them for me.  I saw Nabeel there and asked him (since he had been a doctor) what could be causing them.  He told me it was my medication and that the kind I was on was meant for temporary use.  He was right!  We went to my dr and told him what was happening and he took me off that medication.  It took a while, but the tremors did eventually stop.

For years I've wanted to do missions work (I did some in middle and high school and really enjoyed helping people, while also spreading the Gospel at the same time).  I've wanted to do that in Japan, but I also had a time where I thought about doing that in the Middle East too (I think only he and my husband knew that though).  I talked to him some about that through Facebook.  I talked to his wife Michelle on Facebook some too about being in the military and exercise I think (honestly it can be difficult for me to remember things after my first suicide attempt).

These are the main memories I have.  I'm sure I have some other ones, but I do have memory issues.  Some days my memory seems to be getting better, other days it seems to be getting worse.  Lately it's been the latter.

His death has been difficult for me to process.  I keep thinking "He's going to come out with another vlog and he's going to say how God healed him!"  But he's not.  There will be no more vlogs.  There will be no more updates.  There will be no miraculous healing, or will there?  He's not healed like how we all pleaded with God to be; BUT he IS healed.  He is no longer sick.  He is no longer in pain.  He is no longer suffering.  He is in the very presence of Christ!  We are sad that we no longer get to experience him alive in this life, but we are not like those who have no hope.



And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died, so you will not grieve like those with no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14



We have hope - hope that we will see Nabeel again.  He will have a joy that we can't even imagine right now - no, he HAS joy that we can't even imagine right now!  We miss him now, but one day we will see him again.  We mourn for our loss of him, but one day we will be reunited with him.  In the words of Jesus:



"I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying."

John 11:25




Saturday, September 9, 2017

Who Suffers Greater?

It's easy for us to compare ourselves with others.  We often compare ourselves with everything.  "I bet they have more money than me."  "She's so much prettier than me."  "He always gets the girls."  Do these sound familiar to you?  I know I'm constantly comparing myself with others - and I do that with everything!  But what about this question:  Who suffers greater?  I have a lot of issues, but I always compare myself and think "They suffer more than I do."  Yes, there are people who do suffer more than me, but this isn't really what you or I should think; rather what we should be asking ourselves is "What am I go to do about my suffering?" It's not so much about what we go through, but what we're going to do about it.

Now you may say "There's nothing I can do about my suffering!"  I get that, I really do.  Maybe you have that debilitating disease that you can't find a cure for.  Maybe you're about to lose your home.  Maybe you lost a child.  I'm not going to tell you that you're not suffering.  Things may seem hopeless, but there's ALWAYS hope!  Some of my mental illnesses I can't take any medications for (my ADHD, Depression, and severe anxiety).  Meds for ADHD cause worse hallucinations for people who already struggle with hallucinations.  I can't take any anti-depressants because they make me even more suicidal, and I can't be treated for it with ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) because I have a brain injury.  As for my severe anxiety, I take too many meds already so no one will give me anything for it.  Even my meds to treat my hallucinations doesn't always work.  There are times I still hallucinate.  There are times I still hear voices.  There are times I get delusional or paranoid still.  Meds don't fix everything.  Sometimes there are things we just have to live with.

But there are people I look at and think "Who am I to complain about my problems?  They have things FAR worse than me!"  I do this a lot honestly.  They easily become inspirations for me too.  If they can keep going I should too!

We all have our own battles we have to go through.  It doesn't matter who has things worse than us.  What matters is what we do with it.  I can spend all day complaining about my problems.  I can spend all day thinking "They have it worse than me, what the heck am I doing with my life?"  Or, I can focus on Jesus to get me through my battles.  It's not easy.  Trust me, I know it's not easy.  When I get really down, it's hard to remind myself that Jesus really does love me.  Just last week, I felt really suicidal.  I locked myself in the closet to keep myself safe.  But even then, I thought of different ways to do it.  I begged God in my tears "Have mercy on me!  Spare my life!  I don't want to die by my own hands!"  Eventually I asked my husband to remind me of how God thinks of me.  After that I started feeling a bit better (at least enough to not go through any suicidal attempts).  In our battles, cling to the feet of Jesus and don't let go!

Jacob got in a fight (I don't mean a fight with words, but a physical fight) with the angel of the LORD (which some believe to be Jesus) and told the angel that he would not let go until he was blessed (Genesis 32:22-31).  Cling to Jesus in your struggles and don't let him go.  He WILL rescue you in your time of need.  He will never let you go through your battles alone.  He is always with you.  Cling to Him.



Friday, September 8, 2017

It's Not Enough





No matter who we are or what we do, we cannot make it in this life without Christ.  Our lives are empty without Him.  There a lot of people who have a lot of money who even think their lives are empty.  They got the car they dreamed of, they got the house they always wanted, they got enough money to do more than provide for themselves for the rest of their lives, they have a family, and yet, they still feel empty.  We can turn to a lot of stuff other than Christ, and often times that's what leads to addictions (that's how it was for me anyway).  No matter what we turn to though, it's not enough to fill us.

The answer to fill us is so simple, yet we avoid it at all costs.  We'd rather turn to smaller, temporary joys, than turn to the One who gives us infinite joy.  Why is that?  I think sometimes it's because we're afraid.  There are a number of reasons why we may be afraid to turn to Him.  Maybe you're afraid that He's going to want you to do things that seem too difficult.  Maybe you're afraid that He's just a bunch of rules and if you break one His wrath will come upon you.  Maybe it's pride and you just think you can do better without Him.  Or maybe, and this one is personally with me, we feel inadequate and unworthy for His help.  "Oh there are people who need His help more than I do.  My problems are tiny compared to theirs.  Why would He help someone like me?"

The truth is, we really are inadequate and unworthy of Him.  We are constantly working against Him.  We think we can control our lives better than He can.  We'd rather be our own rescuer, or dare I even say, we'd rather be our own god!  If that's how you think, I've got news for you - you can't rescue yourself in life.  Take the hurricane that recently hit Texas.  There was a lot of flooding, and people who got caught in the flooding needed to be rescued.  What would happen if they tried to save themselves in the current instead of waiting for help?  They'd get swept away!  When there's massive flooding, you can't save yourself, you have to wait for help to reach you!  It's like that in life as well.  If we - imperfect people, try to rescue our imperfect selves, we will fail.  We will be swept away in the current of life.  Why do you think there are so many suicides around the world?  They try to save themselves and when they can't, they give up.  They see no rescuer.  They see no light in the darkness.

There is good news though.  We DO have a rescuer!  We DO have a light in the darkness!  Cry out to your rescuer!  He WILL rescue you!  Now, He may do it in a way you don't want Him to.  He may tell you the path you're wanting to go is not a good one.  Maybe it's that job you've always wanted and He says "This is not the right job for you."  Maybe it's that relationship (any relationship), and He says "You need to cut ties off with them, they will do you more harm than good."  I know that last one has happened with me.  Some people caused so much stress for me that I had to cut ties off with them (if you are reading this, you are probably not one of them).  This was really hard for me, I'm the type who doesn't leave people - people leave me though.  I'd rather not give up on people.  As much as I distrust people, and as much as I tend to see the worst in people, I really do try to give them the benefit of a doubt.  I guess that's why I've been in abusive relationships.  Anyway, if we call out to Jesus, He WILL rescue us.  He WILL rescue us!  Sometimes it's not immediate, but He will go through it with you.  When you fall, He will pick you back up.  He will help you finish the race.  We are not enough, but He is!

(This second video is the same song as the top one, but it's the frontman of Papa Roach singing the song at a church Easter service - personally I like this version more)


Thursday, September 7, 2017

It Is Well




This is one of my favorite worship songs.  This reminds me that when we go through trials, Christ is still with us and is powerful enough to bring us through those trials.  No matter what those trials may be, big or small trials, He is there to help you get through them.  I know these past couple weeks have been taking a tole on me mentally.  I keep trying to tell myself though that Jesus is with me no matter what.  He loves me more than anyone else can.  He will help me get through them, even if the results aren't ones I want.  He will use my brokenness to bring glory to Himself.  He will turn my troubles into something beautiful.  I don't claim to suffer more than anyone else - indeed, there are those who suffer far more than I do.  I hope that whoever is reading this, if you are suffering with anything, know that
1)  You are NOT alone
2)  Jesus will get you through it
Just rely on Him.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Cling to Him.  Trust Him that He will get you through whatever trials you are going through.  He loves YOU more than you could ever comprehend.

Last week, after going eight months without cutting, I gave in.  Yesterday, I wrote and drew on my arm and hand (trying to help myself cope I guess).  Near where I had cut on my arm, I wrote in red ink "JESUS LOVES YOU!"  I'm hoping that if I still feel like cutting again, I'll see that and remember that He will get me through it.  I also wrote on my hand "IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL".  If I start to feel hopeless, I hope I will look at that.