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!

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