Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guidance, Grace, and Guts

The end of another month, meaning bills are due again/still. Faith is a constant pursuit. Sometimes hourly, I must pray God for the courage to focus on today and not ‘how am I going to survive this month?’ The enemy tries convincing me my ‘honeymoon’ is over, time for reality to strike. I refuse to believe him.

A friend of mine has gone from a perfect credit score with 401K, retirements, financial cushion… the American dream, to now she has no retirement, no 401k, unemployed, losing her house, and currently has 2 strangers from Craigslist renting rooms in her house.

I reminded her how hopeless my situation once was, $150,000 student loans with interest quickly accruing, no income, etc.. I reminded her how, at least for today, I still have a car, roof over my head, food to eat, COBRA… PLUS my student loans will be waived due to being on total Disability… never mind not fighting severe depression for the first time since middle school!

The moral of the blog entry – Focus on what you can do today!! Ask God for guidance, grace, and guts, and DO IT. Keep pressing on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DETAILS!

Believe it or not, I am having trouble coming up with something to blog about today. Having a lot of deep, personal thoughts that are not coherent enough to share… so let me just tell what I have learned in BSF and my Beth Moore study:

Throughout Exodus (actually the entire Bible), God repeatedly says something will happen so that “you will know I am God” or “that they will know that I am God.” He really emphasizes wanting people to know Him, so if we are living for God, I am thinking I need to be more purposeful in making Him known.

The second revelation is more of a conviction. I tend to ‘bundle’ my prayers, such as ‘forgive me for my sins’ or ‘God, watch over Mark, Jacqueline, Manda, and Alex…”. As I have been dissecting Exodus and Leviticus, I realize God is into details. He detailed exact measurements for building the temple, and specific animal sacrifices for certain sins… I am realizing I need to be more specific in my prayers to Him, naming my sins such as pride, gluttony, etc.. After all, since He knows the exact number of hairs on our head, I think it is safe to say He likes details.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Whining, Not Winning

I am missing my ex more now than I did over a year ago when we parted! How typical, to want to know what my options are before I let go of sin. All this time, I thought I could go back to him. Now that I see things have really changed, I am missing him, missing ‘us’.

Rob thinks maybe I am afraid I will never find that ‘love’ again. I believe I am afraid to love again, which is why I only feel comfortable being friends with safe, unavailable men. The bottom line... just as I don’t understand how I have such amazing friends, I don’t understand how I can find someone who loves me again.

There. I said it. I admit it.

As for my ex, I know no matter how I tried, we couldn’t be the way we were. I am too committed to my union with Christ. He is my first priority where all my loyalty and devotion lay. This much be what it feels like to be in a committed marriage.

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Things About Me

1. I swallow gum every time I chew it.
2. I quit my job in June 2008, yet am (for the most part), paid up on my bills.
3. I was a vegetarian in college and plan to go back to not eating meat.
4. When it comes to my writing, I am a perfectionist.
5. I don't understand why my friends are soooo good to me, especially people from my church.
6. My best friends are male, and I have twice as many male friends than female friends.
7. I'd love to be a secluded monk/nun somewhere in the mountains, away from people.
8. I LOVE golden retrievers.
9. I am proud to be a FSU alumni.
10. People think I am 'religious', when I'm not. I just have an intimate relationship with Jesus.
11. I could be an agoraphobic recluse.
12. Emily Dickinson is someone I'd love to know.
13. My 'ideal' men are Keanu Reeves, Matt Lauer, and Dr. Drew Pinsky.
14. I STILL get homesick for Tallahassee.
15. I worked at the Osceola Courthouse as a Deputy Clerk for 5 years.
16. I was on MTV - in the Tiffany video "I Think We're Alone Now".
17. I HATE talking on the phone and rarely do so.
18. I have a love/hate relationship with MAC.
19. I think I am having a mid-life crisis and am counting down to my 40th birthday this year.
20. I grew up on boats and I really miss boating.
21. Sometimes I really want to be married... but it doesn't last long.
22. I can type faster than the general population.
23. I dated a guy who was on America's Most Wanted (didn't know at the time).
24. I LOVE my niece in a way I have never loved before.
25. I was engaged to a man I dated 5 yrs and called off the wedding to go to college.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jordache Love


Recently, I discovered a former love had moved… well, I found him, I called him. Enough said. (no lecture, Rob!)

If not for the familiarity of my handwritten journal entries, I would never believe that was my life. It is no exaggeration to say I shouldn’t be alive today. God used a wedding, Pastor Vernon’s words on the sanctity of marriage, to change my heart.

The relationship reminds me of an old pair of pants… Think of a favorite pair of jeans you had in high school. . . how you felt when you wore them, how all your friends admired you in them, how comfortable they felt, how perfect they were. But now, while you still love them, they are too small, worn, out-of-style, no longer fits in with who you are.

Relationships are like that. We can look back with love and fondness, remembering how ‘special’ and prominent they were at the time. Yet too much has changed… no matter how much you want them to fit, you’ve grown too much. You’re not the same.

I haven’t had a romance since the man I journalled about… the ‘mate’ part of my life remains vacant. Yet when I look at my life today, the warmness and love I feel at Northland, the intimacy I feel with Jesus, the peace I have knowing God is in control, and the friends who remain by my side… I know he would never fit in my life today.

I wish he would. I wish I could live both lives, but I’ve matured, and can no longer be ‘lukewarm’ regarding my faith. So like the favorite old pair of jeans, I am not ready to get rid of them completely. They were an integral part of my life. Every now and then, I will bring them out, remembering what life was like in former years. But I won’t try to wear them again… just like my former love, I’ve found ‘a better fit’.

Pastor Joel and Obama

I am so proud of my Pastor, Joel Hunter. He's such a wise, humble man of God...

Previous articles about Pastor Hunter can be found in sidebar "News Hitting Home".

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poem-Downs Syndrome

There are things in our bodies that we can’t see,
Where most have two, I have three.
“Chromosome’s” a word that’s hard to say,
for the things that make us a certain way.

It’s hard to tell why I have more,
I’m not real sure what the extra’s for.
My body’s make up is really tight,
Guess God wanted my identity to be just right.

It’s not so bad being different than others,
‘cause my parents love me, so do my brothers.
They know I have feelings and tears when I cry,
And they cheer me along in whatever I try.

I’m a really neat kid, one of the neatest around,
I just happen to have a syndrome called “Down’s”.
I want friends to run with, to play and to share,
Who like me for me – that is my prayer.

written by Shelly Weiss
from Dillon the Dolphin series

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Saw My Parents...



Where does time go?
Mom looks old. I don’t like that.
My mom will die one day, leaving me with no more second chances to make things right.

I saw a different side of Dad today.
Sweet. gentle side.
After remembering yesteryears, I said, “I had a happy childhood, Dad.”
My dad said, “Good”.

Have they changed?
Or has my alleviated depression expanded my depression?
Perhaps both. Then again, it doesn’t matter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poem- Our Promise

Our Promise
Oh the pain caused by one little sign,
Breaking to pieces this poor heart of mine.
I thought he’d always be as close as a call,
Never considered he may not be there at all.
Unconventional – we were, but love all the same.
Forbidden – we were, but never gave us a name.
Didn’t need labels, or to be ‘boxed in’.
Didn’t want to be told our love was a sin.
He was just what I needed, God surely knew.
He made me so happy, God’d surely approve.
All was so perfect between him and I,
We promised to love ‘til the day we did die.
I loved him and I am in love with him still,
Five years we were strong, no heartache until…
He told me I’d changed, I was all about ‘church’,
He wasn’t liking the path which I’d started to search.
I knew by his face, his heart-wrenching stare,
I knew things were different, yet I wasn’t aware…
The day he drove off with watery eyes,
He had made his decision when we said our good-byes.
He meant it forever, he meant we were through,
And he meant when he said, “I’’ll ALWAYS love you.”
The months, they passed by, turning into a year,
Though we hadn’t spoken, I assumed he was near.
Til I tried to reach him, he disconnected his phone…
To feel close again, I drove by his home.
There in the yard was a sign ... “For Rent”…
I was gasping for air, I knew what it meant.
Tears blurred my vision, my stomach grew tight,
Oh, God, how this hurts, even though it was right.
A new day has dawned, he’s no longer nearby,
Still, I’m keeping my promise, ‘til the day that I die.


Written by Shelly Weiss

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Natural Light


I am realizing how God is transforming me, making me trust completely in Him… and my seemingly ongoing troubles have turned into stepping stones to blessings. “Now don’t worry, I’m going to be fine” is a comment I regularly use when/if I disclose to others. I had to call my BSF leader to tell her I wouldn’t be at class today due to possibly having my car insurance canceled. I admit, that was embarrassing, yet I want my group to be praying for me.

A friend brought me cat food, kitty litter, and mailed my books yesterday for which I am so thankful. She asked about my electricity being shut off… I told her since I have faced possible homelessness and leaving all my friends to live on my parent’s property, losing my electricity is nothing!!! When I asked if she was worried about me, she said, “I never worry about you… you always come out on top.”

YES! YES! YES! I believe that is a big part of God’s purpose for my life – to use hardships to glorify Him. I cannot say this enough: if I didn’t have my relationship with Jesus, I would be in the State Mental Hospital. But with Jesus in my heart, I have a constant, unexplainable peace that cannot be shaken, After all, who needs electricity when the Light of Jesus illuminates my path?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Camper

“I know you have faith and all, but let me help you. Let me pay your electric… you can’t be without heat, fridge, COMPUTER…”
My response, “It’ll be like camping!”

I can blame all this on not getting the Unemployment payments due to me, but honestly, it is my fault. I have been out of my depression long enough to get part time income, either counseling or writing or both! What will I do when I have to pay $500 to renew my mental health license in March? (I have to take online courses to earn all my CEU’s for the past 2 yrs since I haven’t done any of it).

There’s a time to pray, and a time to ACT. My time for action is now.

There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Signs You Might Have Cerebral Palsy

You Might Have Cerebral Palsy…
Here are some signs you might have CP:
1. People think it’s a crank call when you make professional phone calls.
2. Everyone knows which soda can is yours by the dent made due to your proprioception.
3. Speaking of proprioception, eating hard tacos without breaking the shell is impossible.
4. Your friends ask you not to teach their kid how to say ‘car’ because the kid talks like you.
5. People can find you by the trail of coffee dumped en route to your final destination.
6. Drive-thru cashiers always ask you to pull up to the window to give your order.
7. Strangers look like they are missing something when everyone of your friends understand you but them.
8. First time passengers hold on with white knuckles when riding in your car.
9. You never have to identify yourself when calling the pharmacy. They know it’s you at the first syllable.
10. People thank your friends for ‘taking you out’, mistaking them for your care attendant.
11. When you are with other people having disabilities, you are asked if it is “Social Day” at the group home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

$$$$$$$$ Lacking

I read this morning how California ran out of money so they are cutting Social Security payments to millions (?) of blind and disabled people. Now that is bad! My unemployment and food stamps stopped, putting me in this situation. I have a deal with the car loan people, if I can’t make a payment by Feb. 3rd, we will discuss them coming to get my car. Driving isn’t a priority anymore. My electric will be shut off if I don't pay by 1/27.

What IS a priority is renewing my mental health license before it expires 3/31 so I can get back into counseling clients. I have a whole new range of experiences, which will allow me to be a better counselor than I have ever been! Plus, Jesus comes to MY house, so not being able to drive gives me more time alone with Him… not a bad deal, eh?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dear Facebook People

Just because we were friends in high school, that was 20 years ago, I am a different person now, and hopefully you are too. Please do not ask me for my phone number. I don't even talk to my current friends on the phone, but how would you know that when we haven't communicated in 20 years?

Don't take it personally. I am not who I was in high school. It is good to hear from you, but 'picking up where we left off' is not as easy as it sounds.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Healed my Wound


There will be stars by yesterday’s date in my personal paper journal. The day started with me in a very bad mood, feeling resentful and misunderstood. Driving to BSF, I looked for palm trees to see if God ‘was with me’, and fog covered the top of the trees. Symbolic of feeling there was a cloud over me.

When I got to BSF, a lady passed me a devotional she had read and thought of me… the devotional was about palm trees, and she had wrapped it in a palm tree border with pictures of palm trees. “I thought of you when I read this” she said. I couldn’t believe it.

After being inspired by the lecture, which was about needing time alone with God (removing my guilt with wanting to be alone and read/write scripture) I went to Lisa’s house, which is my friend from middle school. We reconnected on Facebook after not seeing each other for 20 yrs. I had the best time!

She has a golden retriever (which is another inside joke between me and God) along with 4 kids from age 8 to 15. I was afraid they’d stare at me or make fun of me. Lisa said, ‘why would they??’ when we were waiting for them to come home from school. I replied, “You’ll see… you don ‘t know my world, watch!” I was wrong. I even asked the 8 year old if she wanted to know why I talk funny… she said she didn’t care, it really didn’t matter, and went back to her dancing.

We ended up going to City Walk, all of us laughing endlessly. The kids loved me, asking me to come back today. It was awesome. Awesome because this family truly seemed to have the ‘perfect life’ (having a pool man, housekeeper, airplane, million dollar house, gorgeous, skinny, etc.) yet you would never know by how they treated me. They made me feel so at home, no issues with cerebral palsy, being single… I felt ‘normal’ in a holistic way. My self-confidence was boosted. It was an amazing day.

God has a way of ‘reaching out to me’ when I am too preoccupied to seek Him. He gave me so many blessings yesterday, I could imagine Him smiling from heaven, watching his daughter ‘play with her friends’. I came home, looking forward to telling Him all about it. I know, He was there, yet He wants me to talk to Him about what matters to me. I woke up yesterday with a wound on my heart… my Father took care of me, and made it all better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Watch God Work

Here we go again. I did NOT get my Unemployment Friday – not sure why... I emailed them and am waiting for response. Anyway, please pray... My car insurance is due to be canceled in 4 days, electric turned off next week, car due, etc. so I need the unemployment. Not sure if I’ll still get food stamps too, never mind I need to come up with $500 by the end of March to renew my license to be a counselor. The good news is my COBRA is current.

So, as I said, please pray and watch how God provides!
--

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good Ol' Days?

“I forget you have all that baggage from your past… that was your old life… You’re not like that anymore.”

This was Rob’s response when I confided in him last night. One positive thing about being in a depression, your one concern is survival… just making it through the day. Now that I am out of the depression, I am ‘free’ to revisit experiences other than basic living tasks.

This morning, my reading led me to Romans 6: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…For sin should not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

It was God’s grace that took me through months of depression. In retrospect, I now see what a blessing that time was, transferring me from my old life to my new life. The old life is gone forever. I can’t go back to that life even though I sometimes want to. God really does use what was intended to harm us as something for our own good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to BSF

It was wonderful to be back at BSF yesterday. I cannot tell you how much I love that group! It’s amazing to be part of such a large group of women who think, feel, and believe as I do, wanting nothing more than to glorify Christ with their life. Yesterday, I learned the importance of praying to God for who He is, focusing on His attributes, not my request or what He can do or not do. I want to know Him more. As Moses asked the Lord, I want Him to show me His glory, and I want to spend so much time with Him that others can see Christ in me.

I want to share something – you probably had to be there – but my friend and I giggled for 10 minutes about this, 10 minutes during the lecture, mind you, meaning I had to keep holding my breath so I didn’t burst out laughing out loud…

BSF Lecturer: Are you thinking about leaving your spouse because you’re in an unhappy marriage? Christ never abandoned anyone!
Lady in front of me: Uh Oh!

It was just so cute to hear someone else being spoken to… I was spoken to repeatedly and had to keep biting my tongue, so it was refreshing to hear someone else being convicted. See- guess you had to be there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not a Sloth

A friend and I were discussing the 7 deadly sins, specifically ‘sloth’. Slothfulness is something I battle with, for a variety of reasons. Either I am clinically depressed, preoccupied with finances, lacking time, whatever – I always have an excuse for not getting my writing out to publishers. God has aligned my current life so I now have everything I need to focus on my writing. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better situation than what He has placed me in.

For me to already be receiving my disability checks after applying just 6 months ago is unheard of. I checked and the average waiting time for the application process is over 900 days! That’s why I did not get a huge initial payment… because I didn’t have to wait long. The whole situation shines with the hand of God… there’s no other explanation.

I have no more excuses for being a sloth. It’s so easy to reflect on the time ‘wasted’ by excuses. I mean what if I send Dillon the Dolphin to 2 more publishers and am offered a huge book deal? I’ll kick myself for not doing this 10 years ago!

Yet my friend reminded me of God’s timing. My friend pointed out I have been working on my relationship with Jesus, which is true as I am closer to Him than ever before in my life. Looking at it from that perspective, the past 6 months have been wisely invested… definitely not ‘wasted’. I’m so thankful for that revelation.

Don’t let the enemy hold the past over your head. Don’t let him convince you your life cannot change because of the times you’ve tried and failed before. Don’t gauge your current abilities by past attempts.

It’s all in God’s timing. You can do nothing on your own anyway. When it’s right, His power will move mountains.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Poem on the Fly

Where did last week go? Wow!
Happy 2009!! Here's to the best year ever...

On a side note, my friend and I are having a contest to see who can lose the most weight (the original deadline was for today). I was asked how I am writing poetry (in case I lose) and I wrote this on the fly:

I combine my words in verse,
without the need to rehearse.
To fulfill our deal,
My pen will reveal,
Poetry from me you'll coerce.


Let's hope I win though.