30 Posts Challenge: Follow Up

30 Posts Truth Challenge BadgeHi Guys! Just wanted to share with all of you who came along my journey of posting 30 true aspects about myself that you may not know… the AWARD from our dearest Fatima aka Splendor In Embers! Praise the Lord for using her to challenge me… in many ways!! Wanting to encourage someone I love and care about blessed and encouraged me!

By opening up myself to sharing truths with others, we spoke on these things below:
1. Introducing myself
2. Me and God
3. Me and Writing
4. Me and Anthoni
5. Me and Foster Care, part 1
6. Me and Foster Care, part 2
7. Me and My Fireworks
8. Me and Anxiety, part 1
9. Me and Anxiety, part 2
10. Me and Anxiety, part 3
11. Me and Depression
12. Dying to Self
13. Friday the 13th (A Blessed Day)
14. Designed to Follow
15. How a Devo Becomes A Poem
16. The Devo Poem
17. “Crucify him! Crucify Him!”
18. I Mourn, I Grieve (Edited)
19. What Makes Me Happy
20. River Baptism
21. I Love to Sing Hymns
22. God Speaks, I Listen!
23. Bearing One Another’s Burdens (as a Prayer Warrior)
24. A Friend Loveth at All Times
25. I’m a Very Private Person
26. My Fear of God
27. Ripping Your Heart out
28. My 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience
29. One Last Aspect
30. Challenging You

Along this journey, the Lord used His whispers, His nudges, and His many resources for encouraging me! Lovely A and her Self Care Challenge was a part of those resources! There are others I can’t mention, but you know who you are. Thank You for letting God use you to help me “fly” within God’s gift of life. And what would I do without InnerManTheatre… my patient son for his feedback and tech support (and Anita!).

I praise Him for each of you who took to read  (while patiently waiting for me to learn my way), for reaffirming His whispers (with your likes and follows) to be meant for more than just myself. Your comments allowed God to fill my cup with blessings. And the Awards! So unexpected! All crowns to lay at His feet! God bless you, Lovely A!

My Dearest Fatima, How grateful I am to God for you! For your challenge! For your heart. Please know I am praying for you and your precious family as often as God allows. You’ve always been dear to our family! You ARE family! Thank you for my AWARD!

If you are interested about this Challenge, you might be delightfully surprised to know that you do not have to wait for someone to nominate you, as I have read some of you have for quite some time. You only have to accept and post. See for yourself her 3 rules posted here. Praying for each of you! God loves you! ❤

30 Posts Challenge: #30, Challenging You

Can you believe it, Guys! We made it to 30! Took me long enough, huh! To be honest… I wasn’t so confident I would finish. I can procrastinate, give up, or feel defeated. As you may have read, I was closed off to the world pretty good. I had become so afraid of it. Afraid of living. Those last words were the strongest truth behind doing the challenge.

I was doing an online bible study when I saw Fatima (Splendors in Embers) post her hospital stay after her suicide attempt. I was so concerned for her because I’ve known her since she was in preschool. At first, I was surprised… not just because we didn’t know each other’s personal life like that… but because I was having my own struggle.

I was not in a hospital, but I could not encourage her with lies I was not believing myself at the time, or not willing to LIVE by. I was afraid someone deep in depression would see through anything I post… be further burdened… more encouraged to leave her babies better off without her. And a very selfish part of me, afraid she could expose me… ruin my plans… or talk me out of them without even knowing they were there.

As I did pray for her privately, the Lord led me to do 2 things… 1. Let Fatima know I was praying for her… 2. Let my own therapist know my struggle. With God’s help, I did both. In my struggle, I was avoiding commitment so nothing could hold me back. I knew my faith would not play yoyo with my peace of mind. I was taking my time to be sure.

I began to do Fatima’s challenge using my WordPress to post. With thoughtful prayer I opened my privacy settings on Facebook and WordPress. I told no one so I could close them if need be. When I finished the aspects, I would close everything back. Yet I found myself curious of a self care blog. After I signed up, I realized commitments! But Lovely A had the Lord whispering in her ear… Don’t think of it as commitment.

Before I knew it I had a new friend in Australia, Staffordshire, and Dublin. God’s whispers were heard around the globe, and responded to, and shared. His whispers were no longer just for me. The same thing was happening on my Facebook, my Group page, when I went to church, when I ran into a friend. God used Fatima’s blog. And the patience of someone who listened and kept me from flying. He too had God on His side.

Having said this long post, I challenge you… to open up… to trust… maybe even take Fatima’s 30 Truth Posts Challenge. You can read here below her 3 rules. https://splendorinembers.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/you-are-challenged-do-the-30-post-truth-challenge/
1. Let her know you’re going to do it.
2. Create 30 Posts in whatever media you choose.
3. Let her know when you finish.

Most importantly I encourage you to open up to someone if you are struggling with your darkness. I know I have been vague with the specific terms, but if you are contemplating giving up you know exactly what I am talking about. There is hope… even if it’s just in another day! The Lord made that one too!

30 Posts Challenge: #29, One Last Aspect

Hey Guys. You’re still with me on the 30 Posts Challenge? 29 posts later? Yes, we still have the one after this, but I have that one planned. The challenge was 30 true aspects about myself. This is one I dodge so well, I almost talked myself out of bogging it. I start a sentence then delete, a paragraph, delete, or just sit, trying to get the nerve to say it.

I’ve struggled with eating since I was 13. Now if I don’t delete it, you will read it.

When I was 13, my dad got called to my school. He was told I never eat, and had an eating disorder. I had no knowledge of it, and when my dad asked, I didn’t take it serious. The school had classmates literally follow me to see if I eat, and if I ate what I did afterwards. One was a friend who told me. They had my dad watching. I didn’t eat.

Our counselor sat me down, but I didn’t understand anorexia. I hated to chew. I didn’t know it then but I had fibromyalgia, and hurt when chewing too tough or too long. I thought eating was boring. It took so much time to eat. I didn’t understand I also had digestive issues, and not eating was making it worse.

They brought in outside counseling who tried to bully me into eating. Bad idea. One counselor called my home saying I was at school on drugs, threatening to kill myself. My mom and dad got so mad they were lied to and scared to death. The school was upset enough that they backed off on outside help.

Instead they had teachers talk to all of us. They said Karen Carpenter had just died from it. I’m glad they did because while I was not anorexic, I was doing anorexic like behaviors. The one that was a “deal breaker” was throwing up. I didn’t like doing that anyway. It made me easily sick, and I struggled with throwing up a lot since I was 3.

I remember warnings on losing teeth, a damaged heart, a ruined digestive system, and more. I was diagnosed with a damaged heart valve at 17, was a high risk pregnancy at 18, had a C-section because my baby kept losing his heart beat, lost a 10 year dental battle to dentures by 30, and began stomach meds at 24 and probably won’t get off them.

I learned later it was some to do with going without food a lot. My dad gave us Pepto-Bismol often to keep our stomachs from hurting. I saw on TV people who had food and missed a meal would be sick. I was afraid to eat then hurt because in my mind I didn’t know hunger, and didn’t want to, especially since people did bad things when they did.

As I started taking meds I got sick, almost passing out in public. That and having gall bladder surgery at 28 got me eating. Physically unable by 35 to walk 5 miles like I use to, swim all day, ride bikes, or work hard caused weight gain. My docs say 80-100 lbs. are meds. The battle’s been so long, my docs who knew me as active are gone, and docs I gain now believe I’ve always been big. One insisted I prove I was EVER small with pics.

SO… now you know.

I’m looking into bariatric surgery, as surrender that without physical activity it’s highly unlikely I’ll get it off, or may gain more. I’m afraid of diabetes, liver disease, and complicating my spinal issues. I’m afraid of being at the mercy of others, especially as an obese patient. If life is going to take me out because I can’t be active, I get tempted to think it’s best not to take part now. That is the Lord’s call. I do not want to give up. In praying about it, that is why I consider it…. to save my life.

30 Posts Challenge: #28, My 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience

Hi Guys. Did you survive your solar eclipse day… lol? I know you have your story to tell. So many people were doing different things, and had different kinds of reactions to their experience… or lack of. It’s hard to believe it was just yesterday. Well, except for all of the traffic trying to head home.

A few months back, ads and news reports were saying there was coming a solar eclipse. Later people were panicking because the special glasses were running out of supply. People were making lavish plans in areas for 100% total eclipse… meaning the moon would cover the entire sun with an outer glow perfectly encircling the moon. This could make one go blind or have permanent eye damage. Scientist were saying cameras weren’t safe. It would destroy them. There were ways to view… i.e. welding glasses, etc.

My son asked me, “If that time is so dangerous it can kill camera lenses, is it safe for us to be out there even with protective glasses?” We watched from the porch (away from the sun). My brother let his security cameras record. When I told him of the warning, he simply replied, “I’ve got spares.” He wasn’t missing footage… lol. This is one of his pics.

nays se

As time drew near, we began watching NASA footage online. My son went to make it reflect to the ground. It worked enough to be exciting to cast something happening in the skies to the ground, but it was a white dot on cardboard. Just as the eclipse was drawing near its end, our neighbor drove in. He pulled out his old welding helmet. He offered us each a turn to look. It was such a difference!

Before putting on the helmet, the sky had a hue as if dusk was setting in. Even the crickets were singing loudly. After putting on the helmet and looking up, everything was black except the sun ring around the moon! How incredible was that! It was so brief, but it was like God saying, “Here. Have a peek at my wonders. It is pretty amazing!”

This was extra meaningful to me as I asked God earlier that morning (4:30am) if there was a friend we had to look into His sky… with a telescope. I get amazed at God’s beauty. It was dark, but I could easily see God! And God being His personal loving self,  answered a prayer in a way I would have never expected. Thank you, Neighbor! God bless you!

Soon it was all over. People in many places were upset because of cloud coverage, or simply let down from what they were expecting. Personally, I think science makes it out bigger than what it is to get people’s attention, but end up disappointing them far worse. So that’s my 2017 Solar Experience (later dubbed on the news as the Great American Solar Eclipse). My stepdad slept through the whole thing. What’s yours?

30 Posts Challenge: #27, Ripping Your Heart Out

It’s hard ripping your heart out when you believe you have found love… the love of your life. When the only reason you are walking away is because God tells you this is not the one. If there were not that reason, everything would be perfect. At least that’s what you think… because the world is telling you so. Your heart is telling you it is. But Christ, who is your first love insists it’s not love He has chosen for you. There is nothing wrong with this person as a friend, but the love that draws you in is not of God.

The Lord says clearly, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV. You have believed in Christ so long, you no longer recognize words that deceive. Confusion sets in because the one who is sending these mixed messages is Satan himself. By the time you hear James 2:19 warning “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”, Satan no longer bothers with you. Your heart is so filled with a false sense of love that you don’t even realize you are waist high in quicksand.

This love… why is it so wrong? Especially when it is so strong? This person is not a bad person. You know God loves them. You know He died for them. You’ve heard them say God told them to be good to you before they lose you. Why is God asking you to rip your heart out? to rip theirs out? what if there is never love again? Christ has such little room in your heart with you pushing Him out with each plea to live in this fairytale that is misery in disguise… for both of you… when it is not what God wants. You are so persuaded by the world’s idea of love and the overwhelming consensus that this is the one for you that you do not remember that if Christ is not in it, then it is not of God, and is not love. If you had listened to God in the beginning, you would not be confused. You would not have another soul wrapped up in the same false hope.

Suddenly, as your head is just about to go under, you see a hand and recognize it to be yours. What has gotten your attention was the feel of a rope. Your first Love is throwing you a lifeline, trying to save you from your self destruction. The little bit of Christ still in your heart reaches out for the rope. Christ pulls it, even with you looking back. He holds you as you cry. He know what it’s like to know love and lose it… and by His grace He just rescued her. He lets her know He understands her need for love, to be wanted, to be thought of as special, to have someone be protective, and to feel that love make them smile. He promises there will be love again. Even if He is that Love. Christ shows you the loss of love was worth the sacrifice, just like He thought you were on cavalry.

30 Posts Challenge: #26, My Fear of God

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10 KJV. God tells us the wisest thing we can do is fear Him, and He promises that knowledge of the Holy One will be understanding. It is not a tyrannical fear of someone who wants our first born thrown into a fire. It is a reverent fear in recognition of His omnipotent sovereignty.

I love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and body. I humbly fear Him as He rightly deserves. Having said that, I must be honest that I struggle with unhealthy and unfair fear of Him at times. Sometimes I believe it comes from our church preaching fire and brimstone, making me afraid that Satan was waiting to push me in the lake of fire. On top of this my mom would tell us Satan or God was coming in the night because of whatever we did to make her mad. But Jude 1:22-23 tell us “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” God deemed I needed both.

There is also the fear of losing someone or something I love. I lost my first hero, my granddad, when I was 8. He saved my life when I fell out of a car, but I could not save his. Shortly after his death, my siblings and I were put into foster care. I tried to figure out what I did wrong to my granddad, my dad, my mom, and God to make them mad. It seemed ever time I got close to someone they either died, moved, or were simply gone. I used to think God got mad if I loved someone more than Him.

I believe God used those times to teach me to love Him above all others because He gave me those who loved me and that I loved. Secondly, He taught me to cherish time with anyone, whether a friend, family, or lover, or whether for an hour or years, by thanking Him for those persons. As I became thankful, it seemed I had a season of gain in love, friendships, and a growing family. Our dysfunctional family became a healthy family.

But then losses started coming… often… and personal. The more people you know and love, the more people you have to lose. It’s just the cost of living… at least that what depression tells me. My God tells me it is His blessing to have loved… and what feels like loss… is gain. I’m the one losing. My loved one has gained new life… eternal life. I would never drag them back into this wretched and evil life, just to worry about them experiencing death again because “I” suffer.

The losses pour the poison of depression into my wounds. The grief chokes at my hope. But I know someone who knows my loss. He lost His Son to save my life, and the lives of family & friends. He watched His Son die a cruel death, and be mocked as He suffered. Yes, He resurrected His Son. But His Son suffered His own loss of friends & family.

We often forget about God suffering, watching His Son die. We don’t count it the same for a God we do not know, to suffer cruelty and heartache, to watch His only Son die! We forget Jesus wept as His friend Lazarus lay in the grave. Yes, Jesus did resurrect Lazarus. But there is one other death that gets overlooked that was cruel and heartless.

When I have cried to Jesus about my Lazarus not coming back (my baby brother Charlie who was killed at 37), He reminds me of His beloved Cousin John the Baptist who was beheaded because of a jealous woman, a prideful and lustful man, and a temptress of a daughter. John’s head was served on a platter as a party favor in a room of laughing people. He was NOT resurrected. Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:8 both say, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” So my Jesus knows exactly how I feel to have lost beloved family in a cruel way, where someone stood and laughed as he laid dead, the same someone who played a role in his death. But I know Jesus will look after my brother as His Father looked after John till He got home!

I know this doesn’t really address the fear in the way I can struggle with it. But there are a few things that scripture tells me that I cling to when my depression or anxiety, and sometimes both try to choke the life and hope out of me.
1. Satan is the Father of Confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” – 1 Corinthians 4:13 KJV
2. Jesus knew what anxiety felt like when HE took on human flesh to experience what we experience. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – Luke 22:44 KJV
3. My lack of understanding everything is not God failing to keep His promise. He allows me to understand Holy things about Him… which includes His awareness of my tendency to fear. All over His word He says Fear not, Be not afraid.
4. Lastly, trusting in the love and grace of my Savior Jesus Christ, the one who has felt and understands anxiety, loss, grief, fear… brings me a whole new promise from God. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 KJV. When I fear because I don’t understand everything about my God and His will, the love of Christ will give me peace beyond all understanding. I believe this because I’m blessed to experience it every day of my life. It’s hard to explain, but even in “feeling” fear or hopelessness, I do still have His peace!

 

Things That Need to Be Said

Friends, as you know I have been doing the 30 Posts Challenge and am almost to 30. And you also know I have been saying let me know if you want me to post on something. It is has been interesting to see what others want to know, and just interesting to see what I actually know… lol.

A friend has asked me to talk on my fear of God, fear of losing people/things, and not being perfect. Truth be told, I avoid things like this and any thing I know will not come out positive and cheerful because I struggle with depression. I sometimes fear it looks bad on God. I want to be encouraging and uplifting.

Today was an extremely thought provoking day. To share it with you is not all roses, but sometimes encouragement comes from being honest with one another. There are things that need to be said, for me anyway. I hope to do that with you here in a little bit.

I will be praying for God’s wisdom and guidance. If you will pray with me… any time, I would appreciate and ask God to bless each one who prays with me.

P.S. Below is what were the Things That Need to Be Said.
My Fear of God
Thanks for keeping me accountable, and for the prayers.