Thursday, April 22, 2010

Road to Recovery

Road to recovery, speeding through
I miss the turn that leads to you.
Yesterday, so confident, moving along
Didn't veer to the right, turned to the wrong.
Blinded by confidence, not checking in
Now I gotta go back, do it again.
But You're coming to get me, lost on this road.
This time I'll grasp on to Your scarred hand to hold.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lessons from BSF

BSF really is hitting home for me as we study the trials and crucifixion of Jesus. Two lessons are convicting me:

  1. There comes a point when God is silent because He has already spoken to us about an issue, and we harden our hearts to Him. I learned Jesus was silent when King Herod and Pilate were questioning Him because they had rejected Him so many times. They had passed the point of no return by refusing to accept what God had made clear to them. In 1993, I prayed God would help me find a publisher and allow me to live comfortably off my writing income. He made it clear I needed to aggressively market myself and get my writing out there. I had the material, I just failed to query the market. I was waiting for a publisher to knock on my door and say, “Excuse me… do you have a book I can publish?” I was shown yesterday through God’s silence I am still waiting for the knock. God told me what to do in 1993… I never did it. I can just imagine Him saying, “My dear child… talking to you is like trying to talk to a brick wall!”
  2. While being crucified, Jesus refused to drink the wine mixed with gall because it had a sedative component which would have dulled the sensitivity of his pain. According to the BSF notes and lecture, Jesus wanted to stay alert to fully experience the work His Father sent him to do. Wow. Put this in my terms, Jesus would’ve refused Xanax to escape discomfort. I want to be like Jesus, and this shows me where I need to be fervently praying.

You know, I tell Jesus how hard it is to live by faith, how it’s not easy to ‘just believe’ when my circumstances seem impossible. He does all the work, and asks us only to trust and obey. During my small group yesterday, I realized how little credit I give Him for orchestrating ‘all the work’. It’s one of the great things about being a kid- your parents are suppose to take care of the ‘serious’ stuff such as food, clothing, shelter, safety. You just have to go by their rules.

Our Heavenly Father asks the same from us… just trust Him and do as He says. That’s all… He’ll handle the hard stuff. The great thing about this deal is He always has our best interest at heart. When I look at it THAT way, trusting and obeying doesn't seem so bad, especially since He has promised to even help us trust and obey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Active Faith

*Having issues with my main website so updating this site again.
---------
Facebook is helping me titrate of Xanax as my statuses reflect progress:
I'm making it!!! Making it through the day! Oh, yeah. Dillon has a new friend- Sunny the Sandpiper... He had a stroke. 4:23pm Monday
This morning’s update:
Slept great, feel great! Prayers are working. Only took 3. If this lasts, Sunday I'll go down to 2.
Encouraging words by others remind me I am not in this alone.
This is reiterated when I get quiet before God, and he brings specific verses to mind:
2 Corinthians 3:5 - Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
Philippians 2:13 – For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
None of this can be attributed to my own self-will, rather it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through me. My struggle has been allowing Him to work through me by believing... and even believing is only possible through faith which comes from God. One of my key verses is from Mark:
Mark 9:23, 24 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Matthew Henry’s Commentary reinforces how important faith and believing is in following God’s will:
The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them.
In no way am I saying failure to live happily is always due to disobedience to God. But for me, I am learning to trust my Lord in ways I have always tried control myself. Basically, I am giving all parts of my life to Him... at least that’s my goal as I pray the following prayer daily:
I pray for an open mind so I may come to believe in a power greater than myself. I pray for humility and continued opportunity to increase my faith. -- from The Twelve Steps- A Spiritual Journey

Friday, April 16, 2010

Moving Blog

I am in the process of compiling all my writing on to my main website so if you don't mind, please update your bookmarks for my blog to here.

Celebrating Recovery


I considered going to a Celebrate Recovery meeting last night at my church, and even had a generous friend offer to go with me. But within  an hour of agreeing to meet her, I gradually became increasingly ill with psychosomatic symptoms. My Crohn’s kicked in and, basically, I was curled up in a ball for the rest of the afternoon. I must’ve lost 5 pounds in one day, I was so sick!

Why? I have already admitted publicly that I am addicted to Xanax. I write about it and share the dirty details with anyone who will listen. What is the big deal about going to a group of fellow addicts?

In my ball, I worked on my 12-step workbook, and talked to Jesus, apologizing, “I guess I’m not ready to go through with this…” But I am ready! In fact, I want it to be over. I realized the reason I got so physically ill was because I don’t want to sit around with a group of people, focusing on being addicted to a stupid pill. My identity is not ‘a Xanax addict’, there is so much more to me than that.

I remember back in 1993, when I was discharged from Tallahassee Psychiatric Center after having suicidal ideations. I had met some great people in the hospital… people who liked me in spite of all the ugly secrets that came out in our groups. We helped each other go through some tough stuff! But once I was discharged, I couldn’t be around them anymore. It wasn’t healthy for us to call each other, and discuss ways to commit suicide or how depressing life was. We had to move on. I still think about them and pray they are alright… one lady went to the State hospital to have her brain shocked… I never heard anymore from her… anyway, point being, we cared about each other, but caring so much meant we had to distance ourselves in order to heal.

Last night, I received an email saying the Celebrate Recovery groups are closed, but they would be starting new ones soon. I couldn’t have participated anyway.

But I realized, despite what the enemy says, I am ready to break this addiction because I did not take any Xanax to escape yesterday (as I normally take them to avoid painful situations). That is a huge accomplishment! And for that, I am celebrating my recovery.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Now Hear This!


I am dreading BSF more than ever this morning. We are studying the trials and crucifixion of Jesus. Once a month, I allow my brain to take in Jesus’ death on the cross – when I take Communion.

Working the 12-Steps shows me I ‘escape’ from uncomfortable situations. Take a couple Xanax, go to sleep, and believe it will be all better whenever I wake up. Of course, this is twisted thinking. And, of course, escaping in no way helps alleviates the situation. (As I write, I had to turn the TV channel from a news story covering animal abuse.)

The treatment of Jesus is too much for me to process. Oh, the way they beat, flogged, spit at, and crucified Him is only part of my heartache. (I, for one, cheered when Peter cut the enemy’s ear off, though I understand it was wrong.) Realizing all the Father and Jesus did for me is too overwhelming. Add the way I treat Him, the things I refuse to obey, times I chose my own will instead of trusting Him, not keeping an ongoing awareness of His presence, etc., well, it’s too much.

But we need to remember what Jesus did. Yes, it brings unbearable heartache, however that is just what we need to revere and honor the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. And who better to experience the heartache with than the Great Comforter?

P.S. I still am dreading hearing the details.

Stand-Up Comedy by ME!

Stand Up Comedy

Here's another one: Dating & CP

Monday, April 12, 2010

Introducing...

Okay... I'm still working on this, but HAVE to share my revamped website... I'm excited :).  Let me know what you think. Remember, I am still working on it. Here it is.

P.S. Both my BSF leader and teacher have been reading my blogs. I'm so humbled by that!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trust Him With NOW

Shelly, you’re not fooling anyone… you’ve been ‘writing a book’ since middle school. Thirty years have come and gone with only one book published, a few articles in national magazines, and a handful of technical papers here and there. You have done nothing, NOTHING the past two years. Why do you keep claiming you’re going to be financially comfortable as a freelance writer? If you were THAT good, someone would’ve discovered you by now. Just forget writing.

Discouragement seeped into my bones. It was all true.

I am no longer paralyzed by my depression, still I am not ready to go back into private practice… not until I get my addiction under control. So all I have is my writing. In the silence of the night, I confessed I don’t believe it is possible for me to change my patterns enough to get another freelancing gig. I told God I know he performs miracles in my life daily, I know His ways are far beyond my wildest thoughts… but I also know myself. Nothing is going to change.

Then I watched this video – Before The Morning.

Then I watched the story behind the video, how a couple was told to have an abortion because the baby wouldn’t survive, and the wife said something about, “If we trust God with our eternity, shouldn’t we trust Him with our present?”

I felt a bit of hope… actually, a lot of hope. Yet I thought that was God’s message to THEM, not to me.

Within hours, I received the following email from my BSF leader (who gave me permission to blog about this). I got chills. God made it clear… trust Him with the NOW. Trust Him with it ALL.

Shelly,
I looked in my word study notes and found the scripture that gave me
this revelation:
If I trust God for my eternal salvation, why would I not trust him with
______________?
See Isaiah 12:2
Blessings,
Adele

Willa the Walrus (repost from 01/09)

** this is from "Dillon and Friends" (my series of stories explaining disabilities to kids):

Willa the Walrus
There are things on our bodies that we can’t see,
Two pairs are normal, but I have three.
“Chromosomes” they’re called, which is hard to say,
They are the things that make us a particular way.
It’s hard to tell why I have once more.
I’m not really sure what the extra one’s for.
My body’s make-up is made super tight,
Guess God wanted to be sure my identity was right.
It’s not so bad being different from others.
‘Cause my parents love me, and so do my brothers.
They know I have feelings, and a heart that can cry.
They always support me in the things that I try.
I want friends to run with, to laugh and to share.
To like me for me, this is my prayer.
I’m a neat kid, one of the neatest around.
So you shouldn’t dislike me ‘cause I’ve a syndrome called. “Down’s”.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

God's Gifts

The past 3 weeks, I’ve been working hard on my website, finally ready do full-time freelancing again. Writing is my passion and I’ve missed it. The gift of writing is something I’ve had my entire life until it was taken away from me in March 2009. Medical complications left me with no ability to produce readable penmanship, much less have the cognitive activity to transfer to paper. Six weeks of amnesia, inability to process information, and overall confusion. Writing was out of the question. How I regretted taking advantage of my writing ability for so many years and I vowed if God would let me have my mind back, I would write whatever He wanted, whenever He wanted.

He returned my gift… I returned to my old ways.

He brought this to mind when I couldn’t find the work I had been doing to propel my career. He reminded me of the sickness in my stomach as I wished I could get the writing back again. I messed up again. I was wasting my gifts, my life, AGAIN.

After hours of beating myself up, I had this thought… “What if the MAC signed in under my OLD name when it rebooted?” It couldn’t be that simple.

Guess what? It was. I didn’t lose a bit of the last three weeks work. Those hours of writing, editing and researching had not been wasted. I still have it, but now I value it so much more!

Matthew 25 tells what will happen when we take God’s gifts for granted.
24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Addy Escapes

After finishing writing yesterday morning, I called the cats in from the back screened in patio so I could get to BSF. Zoey came in alone – no Addy. I figured she must be in the house and called her from the kitchen. Addy came running –from outside the torn screened door!

Anyone who knows me knows those 2 cats are my world. When I told Cathy, she was stunned because she realizes how ‘crazy’ I get about them. “Did you find her? Are you okay?” Her validation that this was a HUGE deal comforted me as she validated my distress.

Addy had green sticky leaves stuck to her along with a dirty face. I paused to thank God she was okay, then I started yelling. Addy laid on the floor, acting like she had been there all the time. I found a wound – sort of like a cut- between her shoulder blades.

What if a snake bit her? What if she gets rabies? What if she gets sick, and then gets Zoey sick?

The possibilities rushed through my head.

I thought of the similarities between Addy and myself. Just like Addy, I try to sneak away from God’s plan to explore the unknown. I mean no harm, and may even innocently lose track of my surroundings, ending up in a danger zone. When God calls my name, I try to run back to him, acting like I had been by his side the whole time. He convicts me, then forgives me and loves me… just as I did with Addy.

But there are consequences. Unconditional love does not remove consequences. I will remember this the next time I am tempted to wander off God’s path—yes, He will forgive me and take me back, but my actions have consequences… not just on my life, but on those around me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Disability is not a 'brave struggle' or 'courage in the face of adversity'...disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live. -Neil Marcus

Throw Your Food Away!

The Easter holiday brought on a surge of depression. Long story short, I gave in to the despair and pain, relapsing into taking more Xanax than I needed. See, I am so OVER this Xanax addiction that I don’t want to titrate, taking months to fully be weaned off the pills. So I go 4 or 5 days without taking any Xanax, leaving me so physically sick as my body goes through intense withdrawals. I know how dangerous it is to stop cold turkey, but somehow I convince myself I am strong enough to plough through the misdirected neurochemical activity. I feel great when friends congratulate me for white knuckling through another day sober. Conversely, when I do take Xanax, I feel guilt and shame, letting people down (including myself).

But giving up Xanax is NOT like giving up cigarettes; rather, it’s much like dieting. When people tell me to throw the pills away, I want to say throw your loser boyfriend away (if they are in an abusive relationship), throw your groceries away (if they are overweight), or throw your Blackberry away (if they are workaholics).

How about some compassion, people?! Well-intentioned or not, don’t be so quick to praise and/or condemn.

Time Machine

One thing I both love and dislike about being a freelance writer is the lack of structure. My time is my time. It can seem I am free to go wherever, whenever I chose since there is no time clock waiting to be punched.

The struggle comes with prioritizing. Of course, at the top of the list is generating a comfortable income to pay my bills. If I don’t write, I don’t eat. If I don’t get clients, I don’t have internet to do my job. Can be quite intimidating if I sit and think about it.

Of course, it is tough to ‘write on demand’ when distractions (mental blocks, illness, cats wanting to play with strings, etc.) arise, which is most of the time. When time aligns with my mood, focus, and catnaps, I savor the minutes of productivity. Still, life happens.

We are not in this world alone. As Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbor, serve others, give of our time, talents and treasures, and to be vessels through which Christ shows his love. Our purpose in this world is to glorify God by letting others see ‘something different’ about us. I have to admit, as an introverted, nonconforming, self-proclaimed loner, I struggle with the ‘other people’ part.

So how does one find balance?

As I write this, I should be getting ready to go to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). I don’t want to go because I really need to send out book proposals. As the Bible says, if one does not work, he does not eat. However, people from BSF regularly thank me for my contributions (answers, insights) to the group, even saying they see Jesus in me. THAT is the ultimate compliment. THAT is why I am here.

So I am choosing BSF over writing, trusting God’s promise that when we put His Kingdom first, all other things will be given to us as well. That includes writing inspiration, income, and catnaps.