Time out

Today- this new life we are all in now- together and ‘socially distanced’- It’s hard. Each of us is figuring out where we are on our own. We are not all in the same place or of the same mindset. I need to take a time out.

Today-I choose to quarantine myself and my household because of the love that I have for you.

Today- I am frustrated by the people out there that still do not believe that the Corona is a real thing. It’s ‘just a cold’, I have heard. It is ‘natural selection’ and ‘population control’. ‘Only old people die’… ‘It’s just something made up to panic the people.’ I have heard some ridiculous things.

Today- I am grateful for the ‘old people’. I love my old people. My mom and my dad. They’re my old people. My grandparents are gone now, and honestly, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about them through this. Do you have old people? Grandparents? Aunts, uncles? People with heart problems, diabetes, cancer? Immuno-suppressed?  Do you know anyone like that? I do.

 I am grateful to the ones who are wise. The ones who are smart enough to know to have toilet paper and canned goods in their cabinet. The ones who plant gardens and can teach us how to can food and use leftovers and who know how to get by with what we have on hand. The ones with the knowledge and wisdom to get us through whatever comes after this quarantine that half of America is not abiding by. I love old people. They have great stories. They have lived lives, raised children and grandchildren. They have been through recessions and depressions. They have fought the wars that allow us the freedom to not abide by quarantines. They fought the wars that allow us to disregard common sense and turn around and put their lives at risk.

 Thank you to the ‘old people.’ I was taught to respect my elders and to abide by them. It’s the way I was raised. Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know.

Today- I will respect my elders by staying away from them. And everyone else. In the hope that his thing will run its course as quickly as possible. And we can get to figuring out a new normal. And it will be a new normal. Things will not be the same.

Thank you, old people, for the life lessons. I, for one, was listening.

Today- I would appreciate if others respected my wishes and showed their love by NOT coming by. By not going in and out. Thank you for showing me your love in this way. For today. I’ll be happy to see you when the danger has passed.

I have been to the airport twice in the last 10 days, dropping off and picking up and getting everyone where they needed to be. I have been to stores and stocked up like the rest of America. I have potentially been in contact with many, many people from many regions. Because I love you, I ask you to stay away. Because I love your grandparents and don’t want to be the reason you lose them, I will stay in my house. You’re welcome.

Today- I know that I am not the only one who is anxious. I know I am not the only one who is frustrated, bored, hating the smell of Lysol and tired of the dryness left in my hands from all the handwashing.

Today I am trying to take a moment to talk to God when I get frustrated and afraid. Afraid of the future that I have no control over. We can’t be afraid of that. To remind myself of that I talk to God. I ask him to slow me down, I ask him to put His words in my mouth, because I tend to speak before I think sometimes. I ask him to not let me think crazy thoughts about now and the future. I’ve read my Bible. I guess maybe we should have been expecting this. We just didn’t know what it would look like.

Today I know this. He has us. If we talk to Him, listen for Him and obey Him- He will be here and we will find him. Then there is the God willing part- of course- I have to know that if God doesn’t want something that I want, I will not get it and I have to be okay with that. I have to not fight him and still try to get what I want and I have to stop more often and reassess my steps.

Today I know this. Battles are not won by armies of soldiers who think each of them knows best. God’s battles are won by armies of soldiers who are willing to obey and trust in Him. I am willing to do this. I will not argue.

That’s a good thing to do in this quarantine- slow down. It won’t hurt anyone. Spend time with the people in your house, get to know them better. Play games- if you’re lucky you can go out in your yard. Rake, look at flowers, get ready to plant something. Shovel snow- spread it out in the driveway so it melts faster, so you can see grass sooner- whatever- no one says you can’t do these things. Enjoy meals together- by now I’m sure there is enough food in the cabinet- play Playstation or X-Box, do some puzzles. Clean your house, throw things out, rearrange the furniture. Whatever. Do projects you have been putting off. I’m sure you have plenty you can do at home. Quit smoking- go on a diet- do some exercises. All the things you have been putting off until you have time. You have time now. Thank you, God. For this moment in time. I love you.

Thank you

I know some people won’t like what I have to say today-that’s often the case, ha ha. That’s ok some will.  But either way.  It matters not to me. I find I am no longer concerned with what others think of me so much and I thank God for that- I have thought about how much to disclose here- but the whole point of this page is the good, the bad and the ugly. It is all for God’s glory.

I thank God for making my heart free and releasing me from the irons that kept me chained to my past and all the hurt that lived there, the bonds that kept me from feeling His love in my heart. The yoke that choked me and kept me from speaking out in His name. The chains that deafened me and kept my mind so full of noise that I was unable to hear the words He spoke to me.

All the work I did, or thought I was doing on myself… all the years of counseling and suffering and fighting- constantly at war with myself and everyone around me- never trusting anyone, doubting every thought I had and fully believing, at times, that EVERYONE was out to get me. My own mind delighting in playing tricks on me. I spent sooooo many years wrestling with myself and against the God who would let these things happen to me, who would ALLOW these blows to land on me. Just a girl. Some of my earliest memories were of church, I had always been there for him. How could he let me be hurt? Over and over and over again?

Against my better instincts– against my natural inclinations- I turned away. I turned away because I thought he had forgotten about me, I thought he had no love for me. I knew he was there, but I was now, somehow, unseen. Invisible. He had more important things to worry about. People whose circumstances were worse than mine. I felt invisible to him and that the real me had also become invisible to others. I shrank. I shrank into myself, believing that I was damaged beyond repair. That the ME that was inside my body was now, in some way unworthy. My soul began to shrivel and I became a shell of a person. I stopped saying my prayers at night and I no longer talked to God throughout my day. I was alone, even when surrounded by people. My family, my kids, my husband. But I had never felt more alone. I knew how to smile and make small talk and to get through the day but my insides were hollow. The heart of me was gone. My soul, me, the girl I was, it was all gone.

There is no other that could have broken through. No other who could have reached the depths in which I found myself. Alone in the dark. Buried alive.  No other like the God who saved me.

Thank you, God for giving me a grandbaby, a girl- to remind me of the joy of a girl. In her there was laughter and wonder.

In her I began to see myself and was reminded of who I was. Of who I was meant to become and of the possibilities. That was the beginning for me. My new beginning. Thank you. I cannot even express in words what that did for me, but you know. You know.

Thank you, God, for giving me life long enough to ask your forgiveness.

For my selfishness, for harsh words spoken, that I cannot take back. For not always being there for the people who needed me. For sometimes, seeing that there was a need in someone and still turning my back, instead of pulling myself out of my own pain for a moment. For the times I’ve lied or been dishonest in some way, to myself, to others and most especially, to You. The one who knew anyway. For half truths and white lies. For all of them.

For the times I’ve hurt myself, hurt others and been complicit in others hurting themselves or someone else.

For the damage I did to my body- although I must pay for that forever. It is yours and I selfishly did whatever I wanted with it. I’m sorry. I will forever be sorry for all the wrongs I have done, and there is not enough memory on this computer for me to name them all. (Probably not on Google servers, either, lol)

For all the alcohol consumed, the drugs I’ve consumed, the lost time and moments that these things gave me that I, unfortunately, can never get back. For all the time wasted.

I thank you, God for that day you woke me up and took me away from the drugs.

My boyfriend at the time was in jail, for-surprise, surprise- selling drugs…  I had spent who knows how many days high and awake. I had snorted the last of the meth or coke or whatever it was that day-At that time I would take anything that would keep me awake and out of the dreams and nightmares and flashbacks that invaded sleep every time I closed my eyes-  out of the carpet after spilling it on the floor and called in an order of fried seafood for pick up, I was going to eat and come down. I got to the Mayflower restaurant on that Sunday afternoon-it was filled to the brim with the after-church crowd and I started to get dizzy. Then I broke out in a sweat. I don’t remember hitting the floor. I don’t know how much time passed. I DO remember hearing a voice-as if from a distance, deep and baritone, somebody was praying- ‘Dear God, bless this child’s soul’, a voice asking for mercy on me… Those are the only words I remember and I remember them over and over, although I’m sure he must have said something else…- Opening my eyes, my ears ringing, I could see a large, man in a suit- some preacher I always assumed- kneeling over me and praying for my soul. (When I think of this incident these days, I imagine him as T.D. Jakes, saving my soul, lol…  I remember thinking, “Why are you praying like I’m dead? I’m not dead.” Who knows, maybe I was… He helped me up- they had called an ambulance, I remember saying, “I’m ok, it’s just hot. I got dizzy…” I grabbed my food; I don’t even remember paying for it- I ran out of there in mortification and drove home with my eye on the rearview mirror the entire time. Waiting for the police or an ambulance or something lol. That man saved my life that day.

 It still took me 20 years after that to figure myself out after that though, lol.

 A few months later when that boyfriend was out of jail and he once again punched me in the face, and blackened my eye, I remember something coming into my head-I was staring straight into his eyes, it was like a shutter came down- it was something I could feel- and I remember this voice inside me- it wasn’t mine- it was just there, inside my head and it said, ”Never. Again.” Firmly. Strongly. “No more. Drugs. This is over.” The relationship lasted a few more months, but I never did any more drugs. Well, not those kinds, marijuana has its uses. I didn’t even have a craving. I had no desire. That’s how I know it was God inside me. God speaking. That preacher saved me. My life and just by his asking, my soul. I thank you, God, that he was there when I needed him. Whoever he was…

Thank you for being the Father you are to me and reminding me that all I needed to do was just ask. Thank you, God, for forgiving me.

Your forgiveness and the weight that was lifted off my heart by that one act have made it possible for me to begin forgiving others. I have forgiven others. And with your forgiveness of me and my forgiveness of those who hurt me, I am now made free. I cannot thank you enough for that.

I am now free to follow you, to praise you and to speak to others of your goodness. I am free to follow the path you set for me before I was born, whatever that may be, whatever direction it takes me, it will be better than any I could have carved out on my own.

Thank you to God who loves me, for teaching me how to love. Better. Purely. With trust. Softly. With actions instead of words.

Thank you to God who is patient with me and for teaching me patience. Thank you for constantly reminding me that my time is not like your time. Your time is an eternity, mine is a blip. I need to remind myself of this every time things don’t happen as quickly as I would like them to. Which is more often than I would like, lol.

Thank you to God who listens to me and who has taught me how to be quiet and still and listen for his voice. Thank you, God, for giving me the discernment to tell your voice from all the others in my head and around me. Thank you for always being there to let me talk things through. In the end you always give me the answer I need, even if it’s not always the answer I want. Thank you for the times I went with your answer, instead of pushing through with my own. Thank you, God, that when I did push through on my own, that you kept me safe and put me in the place you had intended anyway, in the long run.

Thank you, God, for giving me a husband strong enough to let me go when I needed to go, both times this last year. For letting me go to the children. They are the important ones, they are our future. Thank you, God for making me brave enough to really go through with it (both times), even when most people thought I had finally lost what was left of my mind. Maybe I halfway thought that. Ha,ha. But I didn’t let it stop me and I attribute that to You. Thank you, God for giving me the courage to follow your plans for me.

When I was frozen, with my body clenched in fear and confusion, you were everywhere I needed you, just when I needed you. I thank you for all the reminders that you were right there beside me. That you calmed me through the word of a stranger, a song on the radio or a verse on my phone. I thank you for making my soul open to feel your Spirit.

I thank you, God, for daring me to do some of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done in this last year and I thank you for giving me the faith to blindly follow. I will trust you have great things in mind for this coming year. I know now that all things work together for the good.

When we are young- when we are children- we are less afraid to be different. We are ourselves the only way we know how to be. That is why children belly laugh and smell all the flowers and love kittens and puppies and other animals ‘to death’ with big hugs and drooling kisses. It is why they touch everything just to see if it soft, hard, fluffy or prickly.

Then one day you notice that others don’t talk like you, dress like you, act like you and the desire to be different than we are made takes hold.

We change the way we talk, our accents, our words… We change our style to be more ‘professional’, casual, metro, punk, goth, whatever, just to be like others… We grow our hair out although we prefer it short or shave our beards after we longingly shape and care for them and spend months growing them out. We stop talking about dreams and beliefs that aren’t like others because we don’t want them to think we are ‘weird’.

The push to be like others tends to come from outside you- but it feels like a pressure crushing your insides. There is no daring in conforming- but there is danger.  Danger to our hearts, our minds and our souls… you can lose yourself trying to be what you are not called to be.

Speaking out for God can get you mocked, called names like ‘sheep’, ‘Jesus Freaks’, or worse- to me , anyway- the ‘ Christians’- with a sneer, people will say it like they are spitting something nasty out of their mouths. I am no longer afraid to be called any of those things. I’m sure some people could come up with worse. Am I the sheep or is it the guy who does things because ‘everyone else does it’? I would be happy to be called one of God’s sheep. Just sayin’… I gave up the idea of being popular quite a long time ago. In exchange for being true to myself. I’ve found it’s the only way to be that works for me.

I thank God that my soul is free and no longer shackled and submissive to the sub- standard conventionalities that have become the norm in society.  I thank God for making me brave enough and strong enough to buck these same conventionalities and set out on my own to discover what he has in mind for me.

I thank God that my heart and soul are now free from the shackles of my past and I wake in the morning with songs and praises in my mind and on my lips.

I thank you, God, for my 40 years wandering in the wilderness. It took from when I was 8 to 48 to trust in you again. That’s a long time but you never gave up on me. You are my everlasting Father. I thank you for the lessons and the perspectives of the down and battered that you have allowed me to gain. I thank you for the hurts and the recoveries. I am a sinner and I have been sinned against. I have been absolved and I have forgiven. I am available, use me as you see fit. I trust in you.

I thank you God, most of all, for bringing me home. Back to where my heart and soul are free to sing. To the place where a stranger prayed over a broken girl. Thank you God, for bringing me home. And for reminding me, that in the end, we are all God’s children, we are equal in your eyes.