Sunday, October 25, 2015

Faith and Football

I'm wondering how Jesus sees us Christians who cause people to turn from Him. I'm in no way comparing Jesus to FSU. But I do see how life applies to my faith. FSU finally lost a football game, and you can feel it in the air. I woke up feeling like someone died. I love my Seminoles, and I get angry when people who didn't go to the school who beat us bad mouth us. If you went to Georgia Tech, congratulations. Otherwise, don't tease me about our loss. It reminds me of non invested people gloat when a Christian falls. They tend to mock Christianity, accusing the Body of Christ as hypocrisy. That's not cool. But when your heart is rooted in Someone, words hurt, yet with the Spirit's power, you pray and love the naysayers. After all, Jesus wins the Ultimate Championship, and I'm on His team.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pure Love

Circumstances have challenged my belief that being fulfilled indepently is of the greatest of self-actualization levels. Being alone defies societal norms. Perhaps many people avoid independent status because they can't get past the pressures of being part of a couple. Despite my high education level, I continue to get that pitiful stare with, "... but not even a boyfriend?"

The patronizing assumptions stopped bothering me years ago. In fact, I take pride in my independence and savor my freedom. My mind, days, life doesn't include the necessity of considering anyone else. I thought I had reached the social pinnacle, until now.

As much courage as it takes to face life alone, the true challenge is living a self-determined quality of life while welcoming another person unconditionally. Life gets messy. Jealousy, insecurity, compromising, forgiveness, understanding, stability become necessary, consistent  ingredients. To allow someone in your heart takes the utmost vulnerability.  Initially, for a long duration, I fought it.

I lost.

My walls have been broken, tests all passed, and I've surrendered. He's so precious, I haven't shared details about him with anyone. I love him like I've never thought possible. Never could I considered promising to stay by someone until death occurs... until now.

Words are insignificant. Nothing can describe the level I've achieved. It's forever. With him, it's forever. I love him. I trust him. He adds vibrance to my life. He makes me laugh, smile, think, excel, and live.

Without hesitation, I vow to be his... 'til death due us part.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Choosing Quality of Life

The option to choose... that is the secret to a quality of life. Once you become able to support yourself, your life is what you make it. Don't blame your past (parents, upbringing, socioeconomic status), don't blame your present situation/circumstances... your life is determined by you, and you alone. It is that simple.

I'll share a few personal examples how I went from a poverty stricken, homeless victim of several sexual abusers, most of them admittedly my fault because as a flawed, crippled, worthless child who was constant reminded what a burden she was... that was all I knew. My childhood formed my identity. I believed I was lucky to be fed, clothed, talked to, never mind loved. I lived by beliefs such as Jesus would punish me if I messed up, I owed my life to my mother for keeping me from an institution, whoever did me a favor, I was forever indebted to them... and the preferred commerce, even at 8 years old, was sex. That was all I was good for.

Thirty years later, I still lived by these beliefs, except one major change: my personal relationship with Jesus. Faith. Faith changed my life.

Suddenly, I wasn't willing to be a whore anymore. When told my heat would only be fixed if I performed oral sex, and I had no where to go in the 20 degree weather, I prayed. God told me exchanging sex for services wasn't what he wanted for me. He wouldn't tell me where to go or what to do, but I knew the story of Abraham in Genesis who moved when instructed by the Lord.

So I moved into my car with my cat, refusing to use sex as commerce. Life was hard for months and years after, but I walked by faith.

Four years have passed. My beliefs have changed. My body is God's temple- it is sacred. It is not mine. No one touches it or abuses it any more.

I'm a child of God. People who are burdened by me or don't have time for me are still loved and forgiven by me, but my energy goes toward those who respect me and actively love me. Relatives are merely blood-connected; family is unconditional love connected.

And once you make Jesus Lord of your life, He takes care of you. There is no need to worry. Stay near to Jesus, and He will show you where to go. Just like watching a rivalry football game, it's best not to watch... don't get upset at the details. Don't waste your time or energy. Give it to God. Give problems to God. Don't worry while waiting for the final score. Use that time praising Him, helping others.

My life is the best it has ever been. My childhood never changed. The history of sexual abuse is still there. But because my faith has changed, God has given me a life better than I ever dreamed.

The secret to a self-determined quality of life is to take control and make decisions. My decision was to make Jesus Lord of my life. And I'm eternally grateful.

Friday, October 16, 2015

My First Love

I found a photo from 2 years ago, my ex-boyfriend, Jeff. So much has changed...life is funny. We discussed living together (I refuse to marry), it would've solved all my financial problems. He wanted me to stay home and write. He tried. He really tried. Started reading the Bible for me. But I couldn't give up my dependence on Jesus. I resented the time our dates stole from my quiet time. He spoiled me. Swept me away to Longboat Key for my birthday weekend, where he took me to expensive restaurants, bought me clothes, my beloved Sperry's... romantic walks on an isolated beach... but it wasn't enough. I guess I'm too nonconforming... I only wanted my Jesus. The way I met Jeff was like a dream... bonfire...cold night...mutual friends, yet strangers... he asked me to dance... Sting was singing "When We Dance"... everybody faded into a fog. I was smitten. Two hours passed with us slow dancing, every so often, friends would say romance was in the air... we ignored them. Fourteen months later, I moved to Tallahassee. He has visited me a couple times, I've gone to visit him... but I went back to my First Love - Jesus, and never looked back. (from autobiography manuscript).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Desires of Our Hearts

I'm newly a fan of Gabriel Byrne . I recently discovered his acting, and he is a brilliant man.

Why am I writing about this? Because I found a healthy escape instead of spiraling down into the pit of self-destruction.

Everyone has ways to escape life's realities, when you cannot take any more stress. Since childhood, writing has been my escape. I've been gifted with a creative imagination, in fact, it's been a main survival tool.

Being a writer can be solace for my mental health. When my muse is flowing, there's a vivid fantasy land going on inside my head. My dream is to live on a boat, alone with my cat and golden retriever, on the ocean away from civilization. I've lived alone since I was 22 and have had to fight staying in my home all day. Writing, reading, praying, Bible study... those are my daily needs.

As a therapist AND as a member of God's family, I know how isolating is frowned upon. I get sick of hearing about the need to get out, socialize, blah, blah, blah. Leave me alone with the ponders in my head!

Recently, my health has declined significantly as I experience middle age. I fall a lot, can't control my bowels, have severe panic attacks, etc. After much prayer, I believe God is telling me it's okay to isolate, to live like a Baptist nun, on one condition: I share His love with others.

He has blessed me with an insatiable thirst for His Word, along with an understanding of how to apply Scripture to life today. The more quiet time I spend with Him, the more writing I share from His insights, the less time I have to go out.

Last year, he moved me away from my childhood home. I started over in my college city, joined a new church, made new friends, and have a whole wonderful life! I still cannot grasp THIS IS REAL. I'M A FULL TIME WRITER. I no longer have guilt for being a hermit.

The funny thing is, my church and friends support me for who I am instead of pressuring me to "get out more". Even the writer's group I joined tell me come to meetings whenever I want. We keep in touch on Facebook.

So today I am working on my Christian Fiction manuscript where Gabriel Byrne is the protagonist. Basically, I'm daydreaming about being in private practice, using my expertise in psychology as research, advocating for disabilities... in Nantucket... I'm working. Alone.

Life is better than I've ever dreamed or imagined. I truly never wanted to marry or have kids. My heart's desire has been being like Emily Dickinson - a reclusive writer. God has given me the desires of my heart... and so much more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

God's Timing

My ceiling has been leaking so I had to put my clothes in a pile after I became homeless 5 yrs ago. I lost all my furniture. They fixed my ceiling yesterday, and I just got a text someone found me a dresser!!! THAT IS GOD, NO COINCIDENCE - GOD!!!! All glory to God!

I can't believe how great God is! For my new old friends, I lived out of my car in 2011 and LOST EVERYTHING I had worked so hard to get... praise God, I have everything I need. I have Jesus!

Most of the stuff I have my ex boyfriend bought me, futon, bed, clothes. But he wasn't a Christian... so God took over as my provider, Jehovah-Jireh. The 2nd time in my life a man wanted to take care of all my needs. The second time in my life I broke up and trusted My Great Provider.

Sooooooo happy! I still thank God for a bed and shelter with heat every day. Homelessness puts things into perspective, including friends who love unconditionally. THANK YOU, LORD, FOR MY LIFE IN TALLAHASSEE...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Faith and Football

Florida State is the niche I searched for my entire childhood. Intellectual discussions, research, actively living to make the world a better place, no segregation, no racism... a commonality of thinking for oneself and always bettering oneself. When I attended FSU, for the first time ever, I felt like I fit in... I had found the family I never had.

As soon as I could, I moved back to my beloved Tallahassee. They say you can't go home.  They are wrong. I AM home.

Last night, my school played in one of our state rivalries. I usually watch on TV while working on a manuscript. Last night was different. I am passionate about my alumnus and the team we were playing ALWAYS bullies my team. When you dedicate so much of yourself to a school, you are loyal to anything related to the university.

I've learned my triggers. Last night, I didn't watch because I knew details would enrage me. I've learned to let God take control in ALL areas of my life, even college football. It's more than a game. It's loyalty.  Details about triggers  upset me for days after, in addition to having less than love for the opponents. This goes for my future, my career, my everyday life... whatever I'm passionate about... I knew watching the game would trigger me. Not watching, not wanting to know play by play, is not the healthiest use of my time.

The game started at 8pm... I stayed away from all updates. At midnight, I woke up and checked the score. Game over. No yelling at TV, no spike in blood pressure... it was taken care of without my involvement.

This is an example of how I've changed the past few years. I practice active faith, leave details to God,  and find ways to personally glorify God. I trust Him. He has never let me down before. Things don't always go my way. My team doesn't always win. But that's alright. With Jesus, I'm on the victory team.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Peace and Light for Believers

Meditating on "peace"- reading 1 Thessalonians 5:3, which says "while people are saying,  "Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly..." - scary. Verses like this are why we must read scripture in context of where it appears in the Word. Skeptics use examples like this to claim the Bible contradicts itself, which it does not. Here Paul is speaking of those living in the darkness. Christians are children of the light. (as verse 5 continues).

2 Corinthians 4:4 says "the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers,  so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ..."

Praise God once we make Him Lord of our lives, He opens our eyes to the Light, which is Christ!

Living in the Light gives us genuine peace.

*excerpt from upcoming devotional, "Falling Into Grace".