Thursday, August 31, 2017

Go and Sin No More

I'll admit, I'm not perfect.  Sometimes (more like most of the time) I screw up, and some days I screw up more than other days.  I was really beating myself up a couple days ago for something stupid I did (I don't feel ready to talk about it yet).  That night, my husband asked me what I wanted us to read before going to bed and I told him something about forgiveness and mercy.  All day I kept thinking how disappointed Jesus must be with me.  We read the story of the adulterous woman.

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8:1-11

"Go and sin no more...."  ALL of us screw up on a daily basis.  We can try all we like but we're still going to screw up and have failures.  But Jesus doesn't look badly at us when we mess up.  Here this woman had been caught in adultery.  While that may not be that big of a deal today (unless you're a big figure like in politics) in the US, it was a HUGE deal back then.  Getting caught in adultery meant the death penalty - being stoned to death.  No that does not mean being "stoned" as in drugs (I hate that I have to point that out but I know some people will make a joke about that), it means people were literally throwing rocks at the person.  We're not talking little pebbles rocks, we're talking about big rocks!

Anyway, I think a lot of us can relate to the woman.  Even if it isn't adultery, we all have screw ups (sin) we do, many times on a daily basis even.  We ALL deserve the death penalty (even what you may think are the small stuff).  BUT, Jesus has mercy and compassion on us.  He knows we screw up ALL the time!  He took our punishment though, He got our death penalty instead of us.  But if we are His followers, we don't have to have that punishment.  God has every right to punish us.  He laid out how we are supposed to live our lives and we break those rules ALL the time!  I think one of the reasons He laid out so many rules was because He wanted to show us that we can't be "good" on our own.  We need Him!

When the Accuser (Satan) tries to beat us to the ground with all of the crap we've done in our lives, Jesus steps in and says "I took their punishment for them.  They belong to me."  We don't have to punish ourselves (which I know for myself I tend to do a lot).

"Go and sin no more...."  What does this mean?  We can't stop sinning all-together, as long as we are breathing we will always screw up.  God knows we can't go without sinning, dare I say we can't be perfect for even a day?  So what does He mean by this?  He means "Don't do it again."  It's like one time as a little kid, I saw the movie "Titanic" with some friends.  My parents had told me not to watch it, but I did anyway (I really was too young to watch it).  After I watched it, I felt really guilty.  When I went home, I told my parents and I think they knew I was feeling really bad for watching it.  So they said "Don't do it again."  Jesus knows we will sin again, He's just saying to not do it again.

I think a lot of times we take advantage of God's grace for us.  We think "Well, He's going to forgive me anyway, so I can do what I want!"  You are taking advantage of His grace that way!  Jesus didn't die just so you could just keep living your life the way you want to!  He did it to break the bondage that you have in your life!  Imagine you're married for a moment, and your spouse has a one night stand.  They tell you and it  breaks your heart, but it only happened once right?  It was a mistake!  Surely they won't do it again!  So you forgive them and say "Don't do it again."  Your spouse then thinks, "Well, they forgave me and didn't leave me."  Next thing you know the one night stand turns into two, three, seven, and so on.  Your spouse took advantage of your grace for them!  It'd really hurt wouldn't it?  It'd really piss you off wouldn't it?  You don't want to be taken advantage of, so why the heck would you want to take advantage of God's grace?  Let's honor His grace and Jesus' sacrifice by doing our best to turn away from whatever sin it is we are living, and thank God for His grace and to help us live our lives without taking advantage of Him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Never Beyond Repair

If you have read my previous blogs, you know that I often feel so broken, I'll never be repaired.  People have tried to fix me, and they've failed miserably and often give up on me - as if I'm some broken toy and when they can't fix me, I'm thrown into the garbage.  Even if people can't fix us though, does that mean we can't be repaired?  Are our hearts always going to be broken?  In this life we will have many struggles and brokenness.  We won't be fully repaired until the day we are with Jesus.  People can't fix us, we sure as hell can't fix ourselves, so who can?


He CAN repair us!

I'm very broken, my heart seems un-repairable, but He is slowly putting the pieces back together.  He is making me whole.  He is making me new.  Am I still going to have struggles?  Of course!  Am I going to have screw ups and failures?  Definitely!  But He is changing me.  I am learning how Jesus views me.  I'm not going to lie, it's difficult.  When you've looked at yourself poorly for more than two decades, it's a difficult habit to break.  But I am slowly seeing that He sees me differently than I see myself.  He sees me as worth dying for.  I'm not some annoying leech that will suck him dry (many people see me as a leech - I've been called one several times).  He wants me to go to Him.

He wants you to go to Him too :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Call to Anguish

David Wilkerson is a pastor I really enjoy listening to.  This is an excerpt from his sermon "A Call to Anguish."  This is an important message for the people in the Church (as in Christians as a whole).  If you want to listen to the entire sermon you can on YouTube, it's nearly an hour long.  Anyway, let's begin.

When you think of people - whether it's a family member, friend, or someone you just met.  What about people you just walk by in the street or in the grocery store?  When you think of people who don't follow Christ, what do you think?

There was a church we used to go to for about a year, and when we were at a Bible study there, a woman said "I'm just waiting for Jesus to come back!  My family are all Christians, my kids are all Christians, we're just waiting for Jesus to come back."  This greatly angered me.  "That's great your family are all believers, but what about the rest of the world?  Do they not matter?"

Then you've got people who follow preachers like Joel Osteen.  So many believers want to just hear ear-tickling sermons that make them "feel good."  They don't care about sermons that would convict them.  They don't want to hear sermons that will point out how broken and screwed up they are.

Going to church for a lot of people is just something they do, it's not because they want to learn about God, it's for a good time.  It's so we can be included in a community.  They want to feel good and only hear how much God loves them, instead of hearing things that convict them.  They'd rather hear how God forgives them, than hear how they should stop that affair, or that addiction, or whatever sin it is.  Hell, I don't want to hear how bad my addictions are.  I don't want to hear that my addictions cause God grief.  But it's important to be reminded of it.  I would rather hear that I'm doing something wrong, than be told that God isn't bothered by my screw ups.

We, followers of Christ, should be weeping for the lost - inside and outside the Church.  It should cause us great pain to think of the people who think they are following Christ, but in reality don't really care.

I used to ask God to give me a heart like David, since he was a man after God's heart.  Now though, I ask God to give me a heart like Jesus.  This is a pretty dangerous prayer I think.  If we have a heart like Jesus, the things that give Him pain will give you pain.  What breaks His heart, will break your heart.  I can tell you, people who don't care about changing breaks His heart.  We should be in anguish with what's going on in the Church!  We should be in pain that the Church is no longer interested in showing the truth to people, but just to make people feel good!

We, the Church, need to get our act straight.  I know the church tends to go from one extreme to another.  Either they're saying everyone is going to hell like Westboro Baptist, or everything is all about love like Joel Osteen.  We need the middle ground.  God is love, but He also has things that anger Him.  We can't have one and ignore the other.  We need to pray for the Church to preach what matters to God.

We should be weeping for the lost.  It should cause us great pain that there are people who are lost and whether intentionally or not, are refusing Christ.  Pray for them, that the Lord will soften their hearts.  Pray that they'll listen to His voice.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

One More Light

I really like this song: it's by one of my favorite artists and deals with suicide I think.  I just wish he had listened to his own lyrics.  While the song does make me feel sad for that very reason, I think the lyrics have a good message.  When I found out he had ended his life, I promised myself that I would listen to this song and not follow in his footsteps.  Instead, I would remind myself to keep going.  I recommend you listen to the song and read the lyrics.

Anyway, (I know I do cover suicide a lot in this blog) there are a number of reasons why someone chooses to end their life.  For me, it's very strange how things are with me.  When I'm to the point that I want to end my life, I'm in so much pain and feel like the world would be better off without me.  That's normal, it's the "Better Off Dead" thinking.  But right before I've actually attempted (I'm hoping I don't encourage anyone to do this), and during, I feel numb and apathetic - as if nothing really matters anymore.  While feeling numb does feel good when you're overwhelmed with emotions, this kind of numbness doesn't feel good at all.  It's not the same kind of numbness I get as when I get my fixes (whether it's my cutting or when I binge).  Like I said, it's a numbness that makes you feel like nothing really matters anymore.  It's a VERY dangerous numbness.

Even if you attempt and survive, the people around you are never the same.  After surviving three attempts, I can tell they don't see me the same way as before.  They don't trust me anymore - and I know they have a good reason for it; but it still hurts.  People feel like they're walking on eggshells all the time around you because they're afraid they could trigger you to hurt yourself.  They often wonder if they were the reason why you tried to kill yourself.  Some people will even leave you because they just can't handle it anymore.  My husband can't even look at an ambulance or a hospital the same way as before because he remembers when I was rushed to the hospital in my second attempt.  When you attempt something and survive, you can end up changing your life in bad ways as well.  You can permanently damage organs and other things in your body.  I was lucky to only get a minor brain injury; but I could in the future have kidney issues.  Your relationships will never be the same.  Your personality may be even change (I know mine did).  I know for myself, after I made my first attempt the thought of suicide is in my mind ALL the time - even when I'm not feeling suicidal.  I mean, I thought about it before my attempt, but not as often as I have after the first attempt.  It really changes your life in a negative way.

But there is HOPE!

Whether you are in a lot of pain right now, having Better off Dead thinking, or are feeling apathetic, there is hope to get out of the mess!  It'll take work though, but anything worthwhile in life takes work.  First off, you need to realize you have value.  This is something I still working on in myself.  It's difficult for some of us to not see any value in ourselves - that's why we feel like we're better off dead.  But I'm here to tell you, you ARE valuable!  You think the world would be better off without you?  IT WON'T BE!!!!  Your life is precious!  You are worth living!  Even if you don't see a way to get through things and just want to throw your hands up and give up, you CAN get through it - imagine how much you will have grown as a person to get through it!  You can even help people who are going through it!  "Well Allie, I don't care about anyone or anything anymore."  You may feel that way, but in reality, you do care.  Why else would you think the world would be better off without you?  YOU MATTER!!!!!  Anyone who tells you that you have no value is a liar - even if that person is yourself.

The other thing you need to do is cling to Jesus.  I think we often feel like we have to get through life on our own.  Sometimes we put Jesus in this little box that we only take out to play with when we feel like we really need Him.  But we need to have Him in our life ALL the time!  I'm telling you, you won't survive without Him when you're in the better off dead mindset.  Cling to Jesus, in your tears cry out to Him - He listens, really!  I know it often feels like He's not there.  We feel so alone; like no one understands what we're going through.  But I'm here to tell you, you are NEVER alone!  I've stated many times throughout this blog, and it happens to be one of my favorite verses this year:

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

He was a man of sorrows.  He understands our pain.  Been rejected?  He gets it.  Been betrayed?  Been there and got the t-shirt.  He KNOWS whatever pain you're going through and wants to be there for you.  You've got to let Him though.  He won't force Himself - it has to be YOUR decision.  He is bigger than any problem you are going through.  Don't listen to the lies of the enemy.  He seeks to destroy you, not build you up (John 10:10).  But Jesus wants to build you up in His image.  Cling to Him, and He will hold you and never let you go.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stand My Ground

This year has been a unique one for sure.  I have talked with so many people who are depressed and suicidal (mostly online).  There have been more suicides that I've heard this year in my area too.  There have been over 20 suicides in my state alone this year.  Two artists I grew up listening to also killed themselves - a couple months apart.  Suicide is something that affects me deeply - it might be because I've been there myself; feeling like there is no hope left.  Feeling like I'm a problem to everyone around me.  Being in that dark place that I can't seem to be able to escape.  But there IS hope!

Jesus doesn't see us as problems.  He knows we HAVE problems, everyone has them.  He knows our anguish.  He knows our deep pains.  He knows the darkness inside us.  You feel like you're drowning, but He is our rescuer!  He is our lifeguard!  Even if you've given up hope of ever recovering, He HASN'T and WON'T give up on you!

I was talking with a friend yesterday who's very depressed.  They said the the devil was attacking them because of social problems and loneliness.  They have very dark thoughts and are often caught inside their mind.  Even if the devil attacks us, we need to remember that our God is STRONGER and GREATER than the devil and our problems.  No matter how hopeless the situation may be, there is ALWAYS hope.  We have to STAND OUR GROUND and not let the enemy defeat us - even if the enemy is ourselves.  Do NOT give up!

Someone who struggled a lot with depression once said that inside their mind has a lot of darkness and they can't stay in in their mind by themselves for very long.  This is SO true - or at least it is for me.  Our mind's can be VERY dark - our thoughts can hurt us more than anything else if we let them.  If we isolate ourselves (which I will admit I do often), the only thoughts we really listen to are our own.  Our thoughts can be our worst critics!  So what do you do in that situation?  You rely on what people who care about you think about you.  You may think "I'm such a loser," when those who care about you say you're not.  I have a lot of darkness in me, even when I'm not depressed, I still think of suicide often, and if I stay in my head for very long it takes me to dark places I need to not go in.

 Recently I was looking back at my old blog entries and I'll admit, it took me to some dark places.  I always tried to include hope in my entries, but some of the struggles I had brought back painful memories (such as abuse I was going through).  I had to not give into those thoughts though.  I reflected on how far I've come since then.  I reflected on how Jesus has helped me recover since then.  It's been a tough recovery for sure.  There have been many times where I almost hurt myself in multiple ways.  It was just last year I almost tried to hang myself.  I actually broke a glass once (I think earlier this year) because I was going to cut myself.  I am not one without struggles.  We all have our battles, we all have our demons we have to fight on a DAILY basis; but I can tell you, there IS hope!  No matter how hopeless things may appear, there is always hope in getting through it.  We do not fight these battles alone!  Even if you feel alone, you're not.  There aren't very many people that I personally know who have had all the issues I've had (though don't get me wrong, I am in NO WAY saying I suffer more than anyone else.  I know my struggles are child's play compared to other people), and it can feel very lonely when there aren't people who can relate to your struggles.  But we're not alone!  Jesus understands our despair.  Isaiah 53 says He was a "man of sorrows."  Indeed, He did know great sorrow.  There are a number of places in the Gospels where He wept.  The shortest verse in the Bible is literally "Jesus wept."

He knows our anguish.  He knows our hopelessness.  He knows our fears.  He knows our loneliness.  He actually cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Is that ever your cry?  Do you ever feel like God has turned His back on you?  I know for myself, there have been times where I've been ready to rip my hair out and I fall on my arthritic knees and in my tears just cry out "Where are you?  Why aren't you helping me?  Why have you forsaken me?"  Sometimes I wish I had no struggles (though who hasn't wished that?).  I would rather be some puppet than someone with free will.  Ask Nick, I hate making decisions for myself!  I would rather someone else make them for me because I don't want to suffer the consequences of whatever choice I choose.  You know what though?  Our experiences help us grow as people.  If we didn't have them, we wouldn't be human - we'd be robots.  Our struggles shape us into stronger people.

Whether it's the darkness in your mind or the devil is attacking you, you have to stand your ground.  You are literally fighting for your life!  This is an internal war that no one else can fight for you.  People can help, but they can only help so much.  They can't go inside your mind (which the image of that, that comes in mind is the Magic School Bus - can't you imagine Ms. Frizzle going inside your mind?) and fight for you.  They can pray for you, they can support you, they can give you advice, but the only one who can truly fight these battles is YOU.  But you're not alone.  Jesus fights them with us!  In your deep anguish, cling to His feet - He will not let you down.  That doesn't mean things will go away immediately.  They may even go on for the rest of your life!  But He gives you the strength to keep going.  So don't give up!  Keep fighting!

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Dream that Changed Me

I've been thinking about sharing a dream I had a couple years ago, but wasn't sure about sharing it because one:  It's very personal and special to me.  Two:  I'm afraid people will think I'm bragging or thinking I'm someone special or something.  That's not true though.  I am sharing this to bring Jesus glory.

Two years ago, I left Christianity.  I had been a believer since I was fourteen and while I was going through abuse by a minister, I did a lot of cutting; as well as two suicide attempts.  Whenever I cut, God feels far away from me.  I thought God didn't want me anymore, which is a VERY lonely feeling.  Nick (who is also in ministry) was distraught that I had left.  I told him if God really wanted me, He would come for me.  Nick talked with one of his friends about it and he told Nick I wouldn't be gone for very long.  I kid you not, three days later, I had a dream.  This is the dream:

I was in an attic, and the only light was coming from a window.  I was in chains and there were these giant demonic bugs (looked kinda like roaches) holding the chains.  Suddenly, Jesus showed up in front of me.  I started saying horrible stuff to him (I don't remember what they were but I remember they were absolutely terrible).  I started crying and in my tears I uttered "....Help me please...."  Jesus took out a sword and cut the chains.  The chains broke and the bugs (which I believe were demons) left.  I embraced Jesus, thanking him.  He then told me I had a mission, but he didn't tell me what it was.  As I would be walking down the streets, I saw the bugs around other people.  I got rid of the bugs in Jesus name whenever I came across them.  In the end, Jesus showed up again with a bunch of angels.  These angels were HUGE!!!!  Had to be at least 16 feet tall (though I'm not good with measuring)!  I went to Jesus and hugged him again, and he smiled and told me I did a good job.

After I had this dream, I realized Jesus had come for me - just like I said he would if he really wanted me.  I came back to Christianity, and have been one (again) ever since.  I've had my rough patches, and only recently have I really learned just how deep Jesus' love for me is, and even that, I truly don't know just how deep it is.  His love is deeper than we can ever imagine!  He loves you more than you could ever know.  He wants you.  He wants to rescue you, just let him :)

Fake Angels

I was looking back at my previous blog entries to see how I've improved since I started.  Some of them brought back old emotions I had been feeling.  I've talked before about abuse, and around the beginning of my blog for a while I was being abused.  I didn't outright say it because honestly, I didn't realize I was being abused.  All of the signs were there and I didn't recognize it.  While I was not innocent in the matter, this person (who also happened to be a minister) would blame me for everything and insult me.  Everything was always my fault.  He even publicly shamed me!  I wanted to leave the abuse, but I was always reeled back in.  That's how abuse is.  You want to leave, but then you think "Maybe things will be different," "Maybe I/they've changed."  They act like they really care about you, but in reality - you're nothing to them.  You might as well be garbage to them.  This particular person saw me as a project.  He thought he could fix me, but when he realized he couldn't, he ditched me.  He even told my husband "I wish I never tried to help her."  I did everything I could to try to please him, because I had felt like I had already failed my dad, I didn't want to fail another father figure to me.  But that's what happened, he caused me to feel like I had failed another father.  He was quite strange.  He would send me "love songs" and I told him he shouldn't, then he'd be like "Oh no you should send those to Nick!"  It was quite awkward, yet his wife accused me of trying to make the relationship sexual?  Smh.  I felt like the only way I could truly escape it all was to kill myself.  My attempts (yes, more than one attempt) all failed though.  There's a reason why God saved me from them, but I haven't figured out why yet.  Just before Nick and I moved to get away from this guy and his family, I wanted Nick to leave on good terms with them (since they were good friends).  Well, he tried, and my mom tried to help too, but it did not go well.  I wasn't supposed to know what he and his wife said, but I snuck onto Nick's computer to read the e-mail - it broke me so badly I couldn't read it all.  They made so many false accusations of me.  They said I didn't have Autism, I didn't have a brain injury, that I was manipulating Nick when I'd cry, that everything was my fault, and that I tried to make the relationship sexual.  I'm sure they made other accusations in the email but I couldn't read it all.  You know what the worst part is?  He never got in trouble for how he treated me - not even a slap on the hand.  So now he can possibly abuse others.

It's been a difficult road trying to recover from the abuse.  He was the fourth person I've been in an abusive relationship with.  Last year, just after moving, I had to go to the hospital for a week because I was so suicidal.  I had to miss out on a lot of stuff at church because the worship would trigger me (since he was a music minister).  Even my favorite worship song was too triggering for me!  His voice would continue to play in my head.  But I've come a long ways since then.  I hardly hear his voice in my head, his face rarely comes to mind, and I'm able to listen to nearly all the worship songs that were triggering before now.  I've also come to forgive him (and his wife) for how I was treated.  Nick had a hard time forgiving them too, maybe even a more difficult time than for me.  He hated them, but now he pities them.

Things have gotten better between my dad and me since then, and I think it's because I realized I needed to see God as my Father.  I was able to see that "human" fathers are just as fallible as I am, so I could give more grace.  No person is perfect except for Jesus.  My dad even defended me when this minister publicly shamed me!

I've come a long ways since then, but I still have a lot to improve on.  No matter how alone I have felt in my struggles, I know I'm truly not alone.  So many people have abandoned me for a number of reasons, but I know Christ will never abandon me - even if everyone else were to.  While my abuser saw me as a mistake, Jesus NEVER sees me as a mistake.  Do I make mistakes?  Of course!  Everyone does!  But my very existence is not a mistake, just as your very existence is not a mistake.  We were created for a reason.  I'm still trying to find out mine, but I'm sure some day I will find out - in HIS timing though.  So I guess I need to just be patient (which is very difficult).

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It Broke His Heart

When we think of God, I think we often think He's this distant being in the sky who has no real emotions except for anger.  That He's just going to judge us and send us to hell if we're not "good" enough.  There are even debates whether God even has emotions.  I believe that He does have emotions and a lot more than just anger.  Jesus was/is God and He had many different emotions!  He got angry, He got sad, He got happy, you see it all throughout the Gospels.  But we're not going to focus on Jesus in this entry.  In this one, we're focusing on God the Father.  Does He have emotions like the rest of us do?

In the beginning of Genesis 6, we see that people are doing a lot of evil things (though it doesn't list all of what they're doing, we just know it's evil).  Their actions are evil, and their thoughts are evil.  We see that the "sons of God" were getting women pregnant as well.  What are the sons of God?  There's debate on what/who they were, but the popular belief is that they were fallen angels - the Nephilim.  The stuff people were doing was so bad, that it actually broke God's heart, and He regretted ever creating people.

So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth.  It broke his heart.

Genesis 6:6

It broke his heart.....

People broke His heart......

God isn't this emotionless being in the sky who's job is to just judge people.  His heart broke.  We see it in Jesus as well.  His heart broke, He had compassion, He even wept!  How can we say God has no emotions?  Of course He does!  WE break His heart.  When we turn to other things than Him, we break His heart.  When we hurt others, it breaks His heart.  When we, ourselves, are hurt, it breaks His heart.  The evil in our hearts breaks His heart.

God made us to be in perfect union with Him.  We've really screwed up on that one though - so we have to wait until after we've died or He comes back for that to happen.  We were made perfect in His image.  But there is A LOT of evil in the world, and that includes evil people.  

His heart breaks, not just for people, but that also includes you and me.  His heart breaks for you.  His heart breaks for me.  His heart breaks for Joe Shmoe and Jane Doe.  His heart breaks for each and every one of us.  When we hurt, He hurts too.  Take comfort that He is a God who feels for us.  Take comfort that He loves you so much, that His heart breaks for you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Speaking in Tongues and the End of the World

Okay, I'm going to be stepping on some toes here.  I've got two topics for this entry.

First:  When is Jesus coming back?

Answer:  Please STOP making predictions of when He's coming back!  If you're making predictions, you obviously have not read what Jesus Himself said:

"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."

Matthew 24:36

Y'all, not even Jesus Himself knew when, only the Father!  If Jesus didn't even know when His own return was going to be, how the hell do you know?  Sorry, but sounds like arrogance to me.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, the real topic I wanted to focus on:  speaking in tongues.  I've got a real bone to pick with people about this, and I'm going to try to be nice about it.  How people define speaking in tongues today is not how it was in the Biblical times.  When you see someone speaking in tongues today (or the popular belief in it) they are rambling unknown words and, let's be real here okay?  Jibberish.  No one has any idea what that person is saying!  1 Corinthians 14:33 says:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.  As in all the churches of the saints.

If God is not a God of confusion, why would the "language of the angels" confuse those who are listening?  You know who is the master of confusion though?  Satan.  If you're going to claim to speak in tongues and it's in an unknown language to everyone around you, be careful because you may speaking in the opposite language (though I lean more on the side of jibberish).

The whole speaking in tongues thing really got to me for a while.  Here I've been a follower of Christ for over a decade, and I've NEVER been able to speak in tongues.  I knew other Christians who did, and they'd say "Just pray and ask God to give you the gift of speaking in tongues."  I did for a long time and nope, never got it.  This made me question my own salvation.  If I'm asking God to help me speak a language only the Holy Spirit knows, and yet I still can't, what does that make me?  I now know the answer and the answer is today's definition of speaking in tongues is not the same as in Scripture.

This doesn't mean speaking in tongues has died out though.  I heard a story once of a friend of my parents who went to Turkey (I think on a missions trip).  He didn't know Turkish, yet when he started praying for a guy there, the guy was like "How were you able to pray in my language?"  This friend didn't know Turkish, yet somehow he was able to speak it!  THIS is what speaking in tongues in the Bible really is.

You look at where it first started:  Pentecost.  When the apostles started speaking in tongues, it wasn't some unknown language no one knew about.  No, they were speaking in languages they didn't know, but the people who heard them understood what they were saying.  They were speaking KNOWN languages by those who heard them.  This is what true speaking in tongues is.  Nowhere in Scripture do you see speaking in tongues being how it is defined today.  Remember:  God is not a God of confusion.  If no one knows what you are saying, you are NOT speaking in tongues.

Monday, August 21, 2017


I have an addictive personality and I tend to move from one addiction to another.  I went from porn, to cutting, to eating.  In a sense, you could even say I have a drug problem since I've had two massive drug overdoses.  I could EASILY get addicted to the heavy stuff like drugs and alcohol.  The reason I'm not is my husband has all my meds locked up, and I have acid reflux so that rules out alcohol.

No matter what your addiction is, it is hard to break free.  Addictions take you to a place of euphoria in a sense.  When I cut, endorphins are released which gives me that "feel good" feeling, then it numbs the emotional pain.  I'm not going to lie, it really does feel good - in the moment.  Once that euphoria is over though, you're back to where you were before - same issues, same pains, same brokenness.  What if there was something out there though?

Enter Jesus.

I know, you saw this one coming didn't you, lol!  Just hear me out okay?  We have this empty hole we are constantly trying to fill.  We fill it with all sorts of crap: drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.  Do they really fill that hole though, or are you constantly needing more and more to fill it?  Eventually, your life revolves around that addiction 24/7 - waiting for your next fix.  I think about food every waking moment, and sometimes even in my sleep!  Hell I've even hallucinated food!  It's miserable because I never feel full - physically and mentally.  I constantly need more and more food.  My stomach is a bottomless pit (though my thighs and chicken wings aren't).  There's a hole inside me though that can never be filled.  What if, I relied on Jesus to fill it though?

I'm not saying it's easy to switch from your addiction to being content in Jesus, I'd be lying if I said that.  No, it's hard as hell to change!  The only one who can truly fill that hole though is Jesus.  He gives you rest.  He gives you peace unlike any fix could give you.  Sometimes there are moments where you are overwhelmed with joy, but then those emotions die down.  Don't be dependent on those highs - they don't last.  But the truth is still there.  The truth is He can set you free from your addiction.  It'll take work, patience, and trust.  You'll need to keep going to Him and ask Him to help you get through each and every day.  No one is perfect at this, I'm still learning  myself.  But I can tell you this, He is BIGGER than your addiction and can heal you not only from your addiction, but also the deep rooted problems that brought you to that addiction in the first place.  He can heal you!  You need to just let Him and depend on Him.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A New Beginning

I've got to tell you, this has been one hell of a week.  In case you haven't read any of my previous blogs, I'll try to summarize some of the issues I've gone through in a couple paragraphs.  Please understand, I do not claim to suffer more than anyone else, nor do I consider myself better than anyone else.  This is just my story.

I went through a lot of bullying growing up, and have also been in four abusive relationships - 3 emotionally abusive and one sexual abuse (one of my abusers was a minister btw).  I have A LOT of mental illnesses and struggle with addictions.  I've struggled with my faith for years, feeling like God doesn't want me, and I have no purpose.  I have survived three suicide attempts.  That may be the shortest summary I've ever had of my struggles, lol XD  If you want to read more in detail, check out my other entries.  Nearly all my life I have hated myself.

Enter this week.

To summarize it, I have a friend whom I've been very worried about.  My heart breaks for them tremendously.  They feel all alone in their struggles and I so desperately want to tell them "You're not alone!  Even if everyone left you, Christ is with you!"

Now, I'm not a very optimistic person, quite the opposite really.  I'm probably the most pessimistic person you'd ever meet.  To me, the world is burning and destroying itself with no hope things will get better until Jesus comes back - and even that will bring a terror unlike any other.  But I try to be more positive, especially around people who really need it.  So I've tried to be more positive with this friend, but sometimes I really am not good at it.  I've had a big burden laid on my shoulders, and I wasn't sure how to handle it.  But I felt God tell me "You're not carrying this alone.  I'm carrying it with you."  This was the start of a week I had no idea was going to come.

This friend knows my husband (who's in  ministry) and I are Christians, and out of the blue, they asked us about the Bible!  We talked with them for hours and when my husband went to take out their trash, they asked me "You don't really believe this stuff do you?"  I answered "Yea, I do.  If there was no God or He didn't care, I would't be alive today because I'd be dead after my first suicide attempt."  I explained to them that life is like a chalkboard: everything we've done wrong is written on it.  But when we turn to Jesus, He doesn't clean the board, He breaks it and says "It's done!"  I swear, my friend looked like they were going to cry.

Then for my birthday I got an encouraging video from one of my heroes, Vic Mignogna.  He's been there for me when I've been at my lowest points.  He told me to never throw in the towel, and that God is bigger than my depression and struggles.  That each sunrise brings new opportunities, and I need more sunrises (in other words, I need to not give up).

Things were going really well, then my friend and I got in a big blow out.  You see, a big part of my Autism is I don't understand social stuff.  When I'm nervous, I laugh.  I can't look people in the eyes or I start to laugh.  I say a lot of stupid stuff, so I try to be quiet and listen.  Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what to say, so I'm quiet.  If it's something serious going on, I try not to look at the person because I don't want to start laughing.  Anyway, I got in a lot of trouble, and I didn't know what to do.  I went to bed in tears because I felt like I had failed - not just my friend, but God as well.  Here God was using me to reach my friend, and I failed.

The next day we tried to sort things out.  I asked them what they want to do from here and they said they could live without us being friends.  I answered if that was really what they wanted, and started to cry as I was heading out the door.  But then they said that wasn't what they wanted to do.  We both really care about each other, we just need to give each other more grace and try to understand that we communicate differently, and the grass is always greener on the other side.

The next day, we were talking with them again and they were asking more questions about the Bible.  They also wanted us to pray.  As we started praying, my friend started praying as well!  They even prayed for me - right after having such a big fight, and then proceeded to say "I love you God."  I swear, I nearly broke down right there.  It was incredible!

Something you need to know about me though is I can be quite a hypocrite (aren't we all though?).  One of my favorite Tombstone quotes from Doc Holiday comes near the end "My hypocrisy knows no bounds."  Man do I know that for sure!  Anyway, one area I'm very hypocritical is I believe that Jesus came to save everyone - except for me.  I mean yea, He saved me, but, I'm just some annoying insect that won't go away.  That one day He's going to roll His eyes and be like "Oh great, I have to deal with her now."  I mean the reason I left Christianity two years ago (though briefly) was because I felt like He didn't want me anymore - that He just "puts up with me" like so many other people have.  I projected my own self-hatred on to Him.  Last night though, something amazing happened.  All week has been something amazing, but last night, something happened.  I was just listening to music when a picture I had seen a million times from one of my favorite manga books popped in my head.  It's a picture of Jesus carrying His cross, struggling to breathe.  Blood dripping down His face from the thorns puncturing His head.  I had seen that image a million times, but for some reason, when that picture came to mind, I thought "Oh my god....He really does love me!"  It just clicked.  I'm NOT some annoying gnat that won't go away.  He REALLY loves me just like He loves everyone else!  I physically couldn't cry, but my heart wept - not in sadness, but an emotion I hadn't really felt in a long time - joy (though to clarify, joy isn't really an emotion, that's happiness.  Joy is a state of being I think).

He really loves me.....

How I have struggled with that concept for so long....and it's taken me over a decade to realize it!  Now, I really don't have any excuse to hate myself.  I have no excuse to self-harm or binge.  I have no excuse to throw in the towel and kill myself.  He loves me, and I am here for a purpose.  If I weren't, I wouldn't be alive still.

Even yesterday I got to talking to someone about Jesus because of my most recent art piece that went with the Isaiah 53:3 verse  (He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.)!  They asked what it was and I got to explain to them about how it relates to Jesus.

I've always seen myself as a failure.  I'd ask God "Please give me an opportunity to share the Good News to someone!"  I kid you not, every time the opportunity came, I chickened out and said nothing.  Now, it's different - He's given me opportunities and I'm going for it!  This is not on my own strength, I'm paranoid of EVERYTHING!  No, He gives me the strength to share.

Anyway, I feel like this is a new beginning for me.  I've been working on building a new foundation on my faith because the one I had was crumbling.  The new foundation is this:  God IS love (don't confuse it with love is God, they are completely different)!  If God is love, then not only does He love everyone, but that includes me too!  He does WANT me!  It's such an incredible feeling, and even though I know the emotions will eventually die down, the truth remains the same: God loves me, just as much as everyone else.

So if you are doubting that Christ loves you, don't anymore.  If He loves someone like me, He LOVES you too!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Skinned Up Knees and Open Wounds

Yesterday was my first day volunteering at a horse farm.  I absolutely LOVE horses!  I used to ride, but haven't been around horses in several years.  I had forgotten about the proper attire for a farm.  I wore loose shorts and sneakers that were falling apart.  While I was feeding some of the horses in the pasture, I slipped and fell on some rocks.  I skinned up my knees pretty badly.  I tried to work despite them being in pain, but I didn't last long.  I started feeling sick and I think the heat was getting to me too (it was around 90 degrees).  I felt really bad leaving after only an hour, but the woman I was working for was cool about it and wants me to come back!  Of course, I told her once I get the proper clothes and shoes I'll be coming back.

This morning as I thought about it, I started thinking how often we try to ignore our pains in life on our own, and then it bites us in the ass later?  We try to not think about our pain and just push on with no help from anyone.  I know I've done that before.  Something is eating at me and I try to distract myself from it - even if it works temporarily though, it still comes back.  Now, I know distracting can be a useful coping skill, and yea, sometimes it works.  But there are some things in life that we have to deal with, even if we don't want to.  We can turn to all sorts of things - drugs, alcohol, sex, self-harm, eating disorders, etc.  They work temporarily, but our pain always comes right back to haunt us.  It's like pain killers.  They work in the moment, but several hours later the pain comes right back.  So to make the pain go away we take more and more pain killers - sometimes depending on them too much and get addicted to them.  We try to numb the pain, we try to distract ourselves from the pain, but we don't always deal with the core problem of the pain.

Sometimes we don't always know what the core pain is - that's when therapy helps.  Therapy is good don't get me wrong, hell I've been in therapy since 6th grade!  But what about turning our pain over to God?  What if, we went to God and said, "I can't do this on my own anymore!  I need your help!  Rescue me from this pain and use it for YOUR glory, not mine!"  Sometimes our pain is like skinned up knees, while other times our pain is like a gashed open wound.  What if we allowed God to heal our wounds?  I'm not saying don't do anything to treat those wounds, if you need it then go for it!  But what if the deep rooted pain is something else - something spiritual?

I have a lot of wounds and a lot of scars from my past.  Often times these scars open back up and I relive the trauma all over again.  I didn't know how to rely on God for help.  It's not an easy thing to do for sure.  How can we trust someone we can't see or hear their voice?  How can we trust someone who seems so distant or sometimes even doubt they even exist?  How can we trust someone, when the conversation seems one-sided?  It's tough, I'm not going to lie to you about it.

Sometimes we don't want to bother others with our issues.  We just carry them ourselves.  This was me.  Yes, I'm open about my issues - though more open in this blog than in person.  But I don't trust people to help take care of me; so I carry them by myself.  The burdens are too great for us to carry on our own though.  We weren't meant to be on our own!  I'm raw in this blog in hopes I can help others who either struggle, or those who need to understand these struggles.  We can't live life and deal with our problems by ourselves.  We need people, and most of all, we need Christ.

So how do we trust God with our burdens?  We ask Him.  That's it.  I know, easier said than done.  It's taken me over a decade to figure this out.  Sure I asked Him, but my actions and my heart didn't show it.  I'd ask Him to help me, but I didn't really trust Him or believe He could really help me.  There are some areas I still have doubts about that, and you know what?  That's something I have to work on.  God has been really opening my eyes lately to who He really is and how distorted my views of Him are.  That is why as you may have read in my previous entry my foundation has been crumbling.  But it's being built on better foundation that won't break so easily.  God LOVES us, and I mean REALLY loves us.  So we should trust Him right?  We're not going to perfectly - just like we don't trust others perfectly.  Just talk to Him, tell Him your struggles, your pains, and really believe He will get you through it.  Believe that He will heal your deep wounds if you let Him.  He won't force Himself, YOU have to give it to Him and trust Him to do something amazing with it - something you'd never imagine!  I know He's done that for me.  Through my struggles, through my pain, He has used them to help others.  He has used them to bring Himself glory.  That's really what it's about.  To bring Him glory in everything we do, and He can use our struggles, our pains, and even our screw-ups to bring glory to Himself.  He can heal us!  We have to let Him though.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

For the Love of God!

I want to be honest with y'all about something.  My worldview has been shaken.  Don't get me wrong, what I write on here I do believe - I'm not lying in my entries; but I do struggle with something you may not know about.

The love of God.

My views are pretty bad.  Like, I believe He has unconditional love for everyone - except for me.  I'M the exception.  I mean, I believe He loves me, just not the same as everyone else.  Pretty stupid right?  Why would I even think this?  I honestly don't know, and for a week now God has been showing me some pretty amazing things that I can't get into completely (but my last couple entries do explain some of them).  I'm realizing that my foundation on what I believe about Jesus is actually really weak and is crumbling.  A friend told me to read Romans 8:38-39:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears today or our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow!  Nothing can separate us from God's love.  No matter how much we may fail, no matter how much we screw up, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God!  In the words of Jesus:

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from me."

John 10:28

No one can snatch us from His hands...

Once He has us, He is NEVER letting go and no one can take us away from Him!  Isn't that incredible?!

I often feel like a complete failure, and indeed, I do fail often - we all do!  None of us are perfect.  Yet Jesus loves us still - no matter what failures we have.

Nothing can separate us from God's love....

That is so powerful!  The love people give us is often fleeting and temporary.  Once they've gotten something from us, they throw us away like yesterday's garbage (okay, not everyone does that, but a lot of people do).  But God isn't like that.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

God's love endures forever.  It never leaves.  It's never here one moment and gone the next.  No, it's FOREVER!  Do you know how incredible that is?  He will never abandon us like so many people do.  His love is never fleeting.  His love is forever!  It's like a worship song I absolutely love, "Furious."  The chorus says:

His love is deep, His love is wide and it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong and it's furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild and it's waking hearts to life

It's so true!  His love is deeper than the Mariana Trench in the ocean!  His love is wider than universe!  His love endures forever and is powerful.

So what's holding you back from accepting the love of God?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Last week when my anxiety was at it's peak, I was listening to this song to help calm me.  Whether it's anxiety or some other kind of fear, I think this is a really great song to listen to.

What fears do you have?  Mine are heights, spiders (and any bug that can hurt you), supernatural/demonic stuff, and abandonment.  I have MAJOR abandonment issues.  I guess that's probably why I go crazy when a friend leaves me - especially when we're close.  I also worry a lot about people.  When I see someone making poor choices, or someone who's suffering, I really wrestle with God about it.  I'm also afraid of being in front of a lot of people.  I mean, when I've done some acting in school, I really enjoyed it - but I was also someone else.  I wasn't acting as myself, so if anyone was going to judge me, they'd be judging the character instead of me.

A few years ago at an apologetics event at a church in Knoxville, TN, I gave a presentation on a personal account of the problem of evil.  I was absolutely terrified and felt so awkward being up there.  I had slides to go with my presentation (that also featured some of my own artwork) and it wasn't working correctly.  So I had to go off my notes.  I even tried to make a joke and no one understood it!  After I finished I was like "Never again am I doing something like this again!"

I have a fear of failure, especially when it comes to failing God.  I often feel like a failure, and am crippled when I feel like I've failed God in something.  I mean, there are going to be times that we're going to fail at things; there are going to be times that we're going to fail God.  We're not perfect, and God knows we're not perfect.  We are going to fail sometimes.  I fail on a daily basis, and I may beat myself up for it, but really, I need to just learn from my mistakes instead of beating myself up for it.

The LORD is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid?  The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Psalm 27:1

We truly have nothing to be afraid of.  I mean, I'm afraid of everything, and I mean that in a literal sense.  I've always been a very fearful person.  PTSD causes a person to be in either FIGHT or FLIGHT mode, and I'm DEFINITELY in FLIGHT mode - all the time.  Take my fear of spiders - I can't even watch Charlotte's Web because there's a spider in it!  Don't even get me started on Arachnophobia (thank God I've never watched that movie)!  I don't even know why I'm terrified of them!  All I know is when I see one I run away and pretty much burst into tears.  My fear of spiders is so bad, that in 9th grade in the science classroom, there was a dead spider in a jar, and it was a big one.  Someone who knew I was terrified of spiders grabbed the jar and stuck it right in my face!  I literally ran all the way to the other end of the classroom, hid underneath the teacher's desk and curled up in a fetal position in tears.  The teacher had to coax me out I was so scared.

Anyway, if we are protected by the Almighty God of the universe, the creator of all things, why should we be afraid?  Even the demons are afraid of Him!  There's a story that the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked on an island and was bit by a venomous snake.  God protected him though, and the venom didn't affect him!  The islanders were so amazed that they thought Paul might've been a god.  Now I'm not saying go out and be a moron and try to beat death at his own game.  But if God can protect Paul from a venomous snake, even better, if God can defeat death itself, then what do we have to be afraid of?  In Christ, we truly have nothing to be afraid of.  So let's stand strong and fearless!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Broken but Not Forgotten

Recently, there have been some changes going on with me.  Things I couldn't understand are making light.

I'm so broken, shattered in a million pieces.  The broken toy no one wants to play with and is beyond repairable, so I'm thrown into the fire.  There is a darkness inside me that consumes me.  I'm drowning, and no lifeguard to save me.  I gasp for air but there is none there.  Most days He feels a million miles away from me.

I am broken, but not forgotten.

God has been making it very clear for nearly a week to me that He sees me differently than I thought He did.  He's used others, as well as some circumstances, to show me that while I am broken, He has not forgotten me.  He has not forgotten my anguish.  He has not forgotten my inner demons that haunt me.  He has seen my unseen tears.  He's seen the blood that flows out of my arms when I can't handle things.  He's seen my dark thoughts that I can't get rid of.  He's heard my cries for help on my knees.  My spirit is shattered.

I am broken, but He has not forgotten me.

I always thought I'm useless.  Every time God has given me an opportunity to tell the Good News to someone, I have failed.  I chicken out.  I just sit on my ass all day long doing nothing but being stuck in the darkness of my mind.  Why would He ever use anyone like me?  How could He ever use someone like me?  I'm an absolute failure and a mess.  I'm just a waste of oxygen.  I'm worth more dead than alive.

I am broken, but He has not forgotten me.

I've always thought that one day when I go to heaven, Jesus is going to see me and think, "Greeeeat, she's here, now I have to deal with her for eternity!"  Of course, rolling his eyes.  What if He's not really like that though?  A friend told me recently that when I go to heaven, Jesus will run to me, hug me, and won't stop kissing me.  This doesn't make sense to me.  Why me, the screw up?  The person who drains everyone around me?  The person who's too afraid to share about Him other than on my blog?  The person who has a deep darkness inside my soul?

"So he returned home to his father.  And while he was still a long ways off, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him."

Luke 15:20

In the past, I had a deep hatred for Him.  Two years ago, I left Him because I thought He didn't want me anymore.  The darkness inside me tears me apart.  My heart was dead, with maggots feeding on my soul as I was dying.  Do you have any idea how painful it is to think the God of the universe, the Savior of the world, doesn't want you anymore?  It's an unimaginably heartbreaking feeling one could have.  Yet, He still pursued me, and brought me back three days later.  I had died inside, but He resurrected me.  He saw me - the failure, the mess, the traitor, the broken, and ran to me with open arms.  I am realizing no matter how much self-hatred I have for myself, no matter all the shame I carry daily, He doesn't feel the same way about me.  He loves me in such a way that I can't understand nor even begin to imagine.  It's a deep love that no person, no animal - nothing can have for a person, nonetheless a person such as I.

I am broken, but He is healing me.  The scars are fading.  The beast inside me is dying.  As I drown in my sorrow, He pulls me out of the water.  As I'm gasping for air, He gives me oxygen.  His light is piercing the darkness that engulfs me.  I was a prisoner to the darkness of my mind, but He has broken the chains and opened the door to the truth - His truth.  He's not far away and never has been, He's always been with me.  I carried not only my burdens, but the world's burdens on my shoulders.  I didn't know how to get rid of the luggage, so I carried it for so many years on my own.  But now I know I can't continue to do that anymore, so I gave it to Him.  I trusted Him to take care of them and me.  Now I have a peace that I haven't had in a long time - His peace.

I am still broken, but He is putting me back together into something amazing!  A creation even greater than I was originally.  He is making me whole - in His image.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Story

I don't share my story on how I came to Christ often, I'm always afraid people won't believe me (there are even other Christians who don't believe parts of it).  Whenever someone does however ask me, it gives me great joy in telling someone how Christ rescued and continues to rescue me from the pits of darkness.

Growing up, I got bullied A LOT, so severely that I got PTSD from it (no joke, a psychiatrist seriously diagnosed me with PTSD when I told him about the bullying).  Almost all of my life I was bullied.  I'd get bullied for the most stupid things too.

I grew up in a Christian home; my parents being in ministry.  I went to Sunday School at church every week.  I didn't really care about Jesus though, or at least, not like I do today.  Sure I said "the prayer" when I was little, but I didn't really know what it meant.  I just did it because my parents and church told me about it, and when you're four years old you think your parents are the coolest people, lol.

I was homeschooled from 1st grade-6th grade.  I goofed around a lot and was pretty lonely.  My friends all went to public or private school and when they'd get home from school, they had to do homework.  I wanted to go to a school, so I basically refused to do my work.  For the second half of 6th grade, I was put into public school.  It wasn't the worst experience, but it wasn't what I had thought it'd be like.  7th grade came and the bullying got REALLY bad.  Over the summer I had developed a skin condition called HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa).  It's very painful and would make me walk weird when it'd flare up.  I got called all sorts of names: gay, fat, whale, gorilla (because of how I walked when I was in pain), and more.  I was sexually harassed in school, and one kid even threatened to kill my family and me.  At this point, I hated people, including God - no, especially God.  Kids were cruel to me.  I couldn't even walk the dog around the neighborhood sometimes because they'd start yelling "GORILLA!!" at me.  I remember one day I came home in tears after walking the dog.  My dad had a "dream team" he made for Apologetics (defending the faith).  They were having a meeting and one of the guys there said, "Do you want me to walk the dog with you?"  I said no, but he was quite intimidating (It was David Wood).

Anyway, I hated people, because they hurt me so badly.   I hated God even more though because he allowed all this to happen to me.  I wanted nothing to do with Him.  He was just screwing with my life because He wanted to be entertained.  He didn't really care about me.  I was suicidal, but had not yet made any real attempts.  I almost tried to stab myself in my chest once, but I heard a voice tell me "It's not time yet."  I didn't want to listen to that voice, my thoughts were "My life is my life, I choose whether I want to live or die."  A foolish thought for sure.  But for whatever reason, I listened to that voice.  There were times I'd just tell God to f**k off and get away from me.  I'd shake my fist at the sky and flip the bird.  I had a very strong hatred for God.  I was confused though.  There was a part of me that wanted to believe He really cared, but to me, the evidence didn't really show it.

In the second half of 7th grade, my parents pulled me out of school since the bullying got so bad.  So I was homeschooled for the second half.  Even though I hated God and people, I loved going to my youth group at church.  For some reason, I felt safe there, and people were different there.  They actually seemed to care about me, and to this day I'm thankful for them.  In the summer of going into 8th grade, I went on my first missions trip to I believe somewhere in northern Virginia (I lived in VA Beach at the time).  It was called the Jeremiah Project.  We were divided into small groups (there were other churches there at the same time).  I was the "devo girl" (devotionals girl) for my small group.  I remember reading on the first day Psalm 139.

Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
 You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel

    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say

    even before I say it, Lord.
 You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
 I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there;

    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
 If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them;

    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

This verse started to soften my hard, cold, heart.  Maybe, just maybe, God wasn't who I thought He was.  Maybe He did care.  I wasn't completely convinced though.  Then the last night we were there (I think it was a week long), in the worship service we sang "He Knows My Name" (not the one by Francesca Battistelli).  I didn't hear a voice auditorally, but in my heart, I felt God speak to me.  I know that's hard to understand, someone speaking to your heart?  I honestly don't really know how to explain it.  I'm a very "feelings" oriented person, which can be a double-edged sword.  I guess it's kinda like the saying to "listen to your heart."  That's the closest I can really explain it.  I felt God speak to me, and He said, "I love you, no matter what you do or say, I will always love you.  You've gone through a difficult time, but I want to help you.  Just believe."  God wasn't who I had thought He was.  He really did care, just like in Psalm 139 (which is of course, my most favorite verse now).  I spent all night that night praying, and I gave my life to Christ.  I wasn't going to live life on my own, I wanted Him to take care of my life.

When I got home from the missions trip, I was a new person.  I used to be addicted to porn, and when I decided I would follow Christ, I got rid of it.  I told my parents I had been looking at it for a few years and I was able to get past the security put on my computer.  So we got the computer out of my room and I wasn't on it for a year (except for school).

In 8th grade, I started going to a Christian school that most of my friends from youth group went to.  It was by far a MUCH better experience than the other school I went to.  I had to move to Atlanta, GA four days before Christmas though due to my dad's job.  That was a very difficult move for me, and if I hadn't come to Christ, it probably would've been even more difficult.  When we were looking at a new school for me to go to, my brother and I got rejected at the first choice.  Keep in mind, I was 14 years old (so my brother was 10 at the time) and had just moved.  We also didn't know I had Autism yet either.  Anyway, the school rejected us, calling us disrespectful because we didn't have a firm handshake, slouched in our seats, and didn't make eye contact.  We ended up going to difference schools then.

Kids at the new school I went to bullied me too (not as badly as the public school I had gone to prior).  I had been baptized in the end of 8th grade, it wasn't something I had to do, but I wanted to.  I felt like God was telling me it was time.  In 9th grade, the bullying got worse.  I felt like I had no friends because my closest friend at the time didn't get along with me anymore.  Some bad stuff happened I'm not going to get into.  I was a new Christian, yet some of the kids called me "Super Christian" as an insult.  I didn't understand it because I felt like I was just like everyone else - nothing special about me.  It was hurtful at the time, but when I think back on it now, it kinda makes me chuckle.  Super Christian?  What is that even supposed to mean?  I loved Christ so that makes me a Super Christian?  I was afraid the bullying was going to get as bad as the public school I went to prior so I left.  I was homeschooled from the end of 9th grade through 10th grade.  In 10th grade is also when I started cutting.  When 11th grade was coming up, I felt like God wanted me to go back to public school.  I was like "Hell no!  I'm not going back there again!  I hated you back then, why do you want me to go back?"  I fought with him for weeks, but then I started to realize if that was where God wanted me to go, then I needed to listen to Him.  I told my parents and they said "There's no way we're putting you back into public school!"  Eventually though, they felt like it was okay for me go back.  So I went to a public charter school for 11th-12th grade.

I wasn't really sure why God wanted me to go there, but I wanted to follow whatever He told me to do.  For the most part, it was the best school I had ever been to.  I think most of us were outcasts in some way, which helped us get along pretty well.  There were times of course where things got bad.  The first day of 11th grade, I was sexually abused by a senior.  Some people don't believe me because, well, he was gay.  I still can't make sense of it to this day, but it really did happen.  Other than that though, it was a pretty good school.  I learned some things about people there too.  Homosexuality disgusted me (I didn't know at the time that I struggled with some bisexuality).  I couldn't really understand why people would go for the same sex.  When I went to this school, I was exposed to quite a bit of them.  I felt like God told me "See?  I love them too."  If God loves them, shouldn't I as well?  Homosexuality doesn't really gross me out anymore like it used to, though I honestly can't handle watching gay sex scenes in movies (MILK - I couldn't even watch the entire movie).  Sometimes, people would ask me about my faith, and I always really enjoyed talking about Jesus whenever I could.  I'm not the type who tries to push my beliefs down a person's throat.  If they want to talk about it, they'll bring it up with me.  Sometimes some of the teachers would test me to see how I'd respond to some stuff that was against my faith.  But I remained calm and answered the best I could with love.  We also found out I had Autism at this school.

Right after graduating high school (which I still don't know how that was even possible), I had an online boyfriend.  He was the first guy to ever make me feel beautiful.  He was my dream guy too, how lucky was that!  I should've seen signs now that I look back that he really didn't care about me.  He just wanted to see how far he could go with a girl and I guess I happened to be his first victim.  I did things I regret still, but I was so desperate to be loved, so I gave in to things.  Our relationship ended really ugly though.  This affected me so badly, I made my first suicide attempt.  I wrote a goodbye note and everything.  As I laid on my bed expecting death to come at any moment, I asked God to forgive me.  I wasn't sure where I was going to go after I died.  Some say heaven, others say hell.  It scared me to think I could be going to hell, but there wasn't really anything I could do at that point but ask God for forgiveness and hope that he'd spare me from the pits of hell.  No one found me until 8 hours later.  God protected me though.  I should've either died or my liver and kidneys should've been severely damaged.  The only physical damage I got though was a minor brain injury.  I guess God did spare me after all.  I wasn't able to go back to college or drive though because of my brain injury.

When I got out of the hospital, I met a guy who was the complete OPPOSITE of what I wanted in a guy.  But he was different.  He legit cared about me.  I ended up falling in love with him and even married him (seven years).  He was BETTER than my dream guy!  He brought me closer to God as well.

Skip ahead to two years ago, things got really bad again.  There was a guy I really looked up to, like a father.  He was a minister, what could go wrong with that right?  WRONG!  He was abusive towards me and I fell hook, line, and sink.  Like my previous abuses I went through (I've been in four abusive relationships), he made me feel like everything was my fault.  I was always the person in the wrong.  He'd hurt me (not physically) and I'd want to leave, but he'd always bring me crawling back.  It got so bad that I tried to kill myself, not once, but twice in just a few months apart.  I went to the Crisis Stabilization Unit three times.  Things got so bad we had to move.  Before we moved though, I was really struggling with my faith.  It's often I struggle with my faith, but this time was the end of it.  I left Christianity, and it devastated my husband (Nick is in ministry).  I told him if God really wanted me, He'd come for me.  When Nick talked to a friend about it, his friend said I wouldn't be like that for long.  I kid you not, THREE days later I came back to Christ.  He came to me in a dream, and I realized He really did want me and love me.  My cutting got worse that year too though.  I got to the point where I was cutting AT LEAST three times a week.  This minister's wife btw accused me of trying to make the relationship sexual, when it NEVER was!  She defended her husband and it was just a bad situation period.  We had to move to get away from everything.

Now I'm back in Atlanta, GA.  I still struggle with suicide and cutting.  My emotions tend to be stronger than "normal" people.  When my emotions get overwhelming, I tend to cut to feel numb.  My cutting is getting better now though.  I still struggle with the urges, but for the most part, I choose not to do it.  I've had close calls, but I still didn't do it.  I've met people who really do care about me.  I'm not as alone as I had been in the past.  But I've realized even if everyone left me (which a lot of people have), I still truly wouldn't be alone.  All throughout my life God has proven Himself to me over and over again.  He has shown mercy and compassion for me so much.  My love for Him continues to grow more and more each and every day.  I can't help it, after everything He's done for me, I can't help but love Him.  I have desires now that I never would've imagined I'd have (which I may talk about another time).  I want to serve Him in every way I possibly can.  I fail more often than I succeed, but He gives me grace to keep trying.

I've always struggled with God's forgiveness, but I have learned that life is like a chalkboard.  Everything we do wrong gets written on the chalkboard.  When we come to Jesus though, he doesn't clean the board, he breaks it and says "It's done!"  This means no matter what, He will forgive you, just ask Him.

Anyway, that's my VERY long story, and even then I left bits and pieces out because it would be even longer.  I hope my story gives you encouragement.  God will never leave you nor forsake you.