Saturday, May 30, 2015

Life Changes

A few days ago, I was accepted into a Writer's Accountability Group. The honor and joy it brought was through the roof. The season of life I am in is better than I've experienced ever and it keeps getting better. The possibilities opening up to me are incredibly challenging. The contrast from the recent years of my life versus now is beyond description. I went from rock bottom where it literally pained me to living in my favorite city in the world. I left the abusive environment where I had spent most of my life, left all the traumatic memories, and probably most prominently, I left my abusers. I am safe for the first time in my life.

Childhood wasn't safe, yet I didn't know any better. I knew I was being hurt, I told people I was being hurt, it felt wrong, dirty, disgusting... yet I was never validated. When you're a child, and your parent tells you your feelings are irrational... you believe your parent. Not only with that incident, I learned not to trust my feelings. Imagine touching a hot stove and burning your finger. It hurts! Yet you are told by someone you respect, "oh, you're fine. That didn't hurt...".

Bottom line. It messes you up. Bad. And in a long term, disruptive way.

I am writing this on my cell phone in a bed with a horrible migraine. Side note: I have no idea why these words are being underlined, but I'm determined to continue writing so I'll try to fix it later. I'm trying to meet my word goal for the day so I keep writing.

Back to my initial thoughts, I don't want to - how can I put this- I don't want to make my writing all about me. I want to use my experiences to relate to readers, in combination with my psychology background, in hopes or educating people. 

Bottom line- we only know what we experience. We can't compare our degree of pain with others because, for example, if you've never been homeless, you will never fully appreciate a warm, safe bed. I will never take a safe warm bed for granted again because I haven't always had it.

Believe it or not, there are long term effects of even temporary homeslessness. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder often replaces the homelessness situation. There's always a fear if you've been homeless before, it can happen again. That sticks in the back of your head. Plus, you don't want to leave your home because you fear your home won't be there when you come back. And you don't trust people, because the people who allowed you to be homeless before would likely allow you to be homeless again.

All this to say, everyone is fighting their own battles. Life is hard. Make a resolve to press on. Don't give up.I'm letting God lead my writing, feeling He has brought me this far to help others. Not sure how much I will personally share, particularly because the more I share, the more psychosomatic illnesses I acquire. 

Which leads me back to the purpose of this blog. I know why I am in bed hiding under the covers writing this. One word- Trigger. When I told someone I was being sexually abused in middle school, I was told it was normal. All kids play doctor. I saw something on TV today that, well, sent me into a tail spin. I've known this on some level, but hearing this today... I'm questioning my whole life. I'll try attaching the video below.

If you are a child being molested, know it is not normal. I know it's hard to talk about and even harder to get someone to believe you... but if you tell a doctor or a therapist, by law, they must report it. Please, get help.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Faith is What Produces Works.

"Faith is what produces works"

This statement is in my Bible Lexicon. Faith is what produces works. I keep repeating this in hopes of believing what it means. Sadly, I don't believe it yet.

Unwavering faith is an enemy of mine. On one hand, my faith is my lifeline. My Jesus is everything. He is my Strength.

But here I am, doubting my abilities, when obviously they're not my abilities at all! They are His. They are gifts and talents He loans me to bless others. Yet I feel too inadequate to share. Even more so, my flesh feels I have no talent.

Do you realize the guilt stemming from that confession? Basically, not only are my actions indicative of my being ungrateful for the gifts God has given me, my responses (or lack of) reveal I don't have enough confidence in these gifts to present them publicly!

I am allowing my low self-esteem to trump not only God's Truth, but my obedience to God's promises. I am giving in to the enemy. That changes right now.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! All things! In order to be most focused on God, we must take our focus off ourselves.

Phillipians 2:13 says, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Ask God for faith, which He will gladly provide, and work. Glorify Him. He gives us all we need to have an abundant life. He offers, but doesn't force us to take. We have free will. Graciously accept what He is giving you, share those gifts with others, and give God all the glory.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I'm Here To Stay

Yesterday, I made the official commitment to be a writer. I’ve written since I was a child, yet it has always been as a hobby or quick money maker, or an occasional letter venting to a loved recipient. But now, I am taking the plunge, claiming writing as my primary profession. What that means is I spend the majority of my days writing. Not researching, not procrastinating, but writing. Sure, I will still research and procrastinate, but not as much as I write. Getting words on paper is my job, my passion, my calling.

This is not going to be as easy as I am making it sound, I know. I’m going to be discouraged, feel like a phony, believe I am wasting my time, want to watch one more Bravo TV show, take a nap, and so on. People are going to tell me my writing is crap, publishers will throw my manuscripts in the trash without a second glance, and most times I will feel my writing is in vain. But that won’t stop me. Not anymore.

Previously, I debated whether or not to include my faith in my writing. Including faith-based content weeds out nonbelievers, and I want as many readers as I can get! But now, there is something more important than the quantity of readers; and that is the quality of my writing. Since writing is the expression of the heart, I cannot leave out my core… my strength… my peace… my everything, and that is Jesus Christ. I’ll respect readers’ beliefs without sacrificing my own. I am nothing without Christ. Literally, nothing! As you learn my history, you will realize the sincere truth in those words. Four years ago, I stayed in bed 22 hours per day. At one point, I was homeless. That same year, I was hospitalized 2 weeks per month for three months in a row. And the story goes on and on. Now, I am the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my 45 years of life. It’s nothing short of a miracle. It is nothing short of my Lord Jesus Christ. So if reading about Him offends you, my writing is not for you. My life purpose is to glorify Him.

If you decide to be my reader, I can assure you of comedy, inspiration, lots of pictures, obsessive discussions about my cat and golden retriever, a tad of Cher preoccupation, passionate and intellectual views on health conditions, especially mental health, struggles and triumphs of addiction, and so much more. Give me a month. Read my blog for a month. I have a feeling you’re gonna like and learn what you read. If you don’t, it’s okay. Tell me I’m a horrible writer. Tell me I have no talent. Bash me, insult me… but you won’t break me. I’m a writer. That is my calling, and I have committed to answer for the rest of my life.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Depression is a Blessing

I'll admit, for the first time since I moved to Tallahassee, I crashed. I was in bed all day yesterday clinically depressed. I am only admitting this to show depression doesn't ever go away. I wasn't suicidal or anything, just could not get out of bed. I ignored phone calls because I wasn't THAT bad. This past week was too much for me. Too much social interaction. For instance, I felt guilty for not going on that date because maybe he wanted me to tell him why I am always reading the Bible. I still feel guilty about not being in church since Easter. Guilt, guilt, guilt. But after finally reaching out to Cathy, I believe I need to hold on to what God keeps telling me- He wants me for Himself right now. No distractions. He is preparing me for the next season. In conclusion, no more will I woe about all my health issues. I will embrace them as blessings the remind me I need to not feel guilty for staying home. I need to. I will block out the world and commune with Jesus...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Writing Direction

My mom is truly a medical prodigy. We've had our problems (understatement) yet physicians consult with my mom with medical cases. She is truly gifted in anatomy and physiology... not so much neuropsychology, that's my area. Still, I'm book taught... she's gifted taught. So I called to tell her I feel fine, no anxiety, no depression...I'm good. The problem is I have lost control of my bowels twice this morning. Why? After a few questions, she figured it out. I was writing about the abuse Vietnam Veterans suffered, homeless vets, and homeless people with mental illnesses. Mom wisely told me all those things upset me. True. I'm trying to figure out God's will for my life. My mother wisely said, "Shelly, you know the Bible better than anyone I know. You are calmest and healthiest studying the Bible and spending time with Jesus. I think you should focus all your writing on Bible study."  Wow. I felt the Spirit wash over me at that moment. I had goosebumps all over my body. This felt prophetic. As of today, all of my writing will now be Biblical application for God's glory.