Cranky, Crabby Me, and Yet He Loves Me.

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I’m feeling just generally out of sorts. It’s the beginning of Advent, and I keep thinking I should be feeling joyful, because Advent is the season that celebrates the coming of Jesus from Heaven into the world as a peeing, pooping baby. I mean, how amazing is that!? Jesus Christ stepped down from His Majesty on High to assume human form so He could save humanity from our sins.

It’s just so incredible and amazing that God Himself would do that, and that He would do so to save me, even when I’m cranky and crabby like I am right now. I should be grateful, not cranky, but I wish I could just go Home and be with Him instead of having to occupy here, where people, including me, are so mean and awful and evil.

But then, if I think about it, I used to be a whole lot meaner, and more awful and evil than I am now, when I’m just cranky and crabby. I needed Jesus back then, just like all the other mean, awful, and evil people do now. I’m so glad I got my act together and opened the door and let Jesus into my heart!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” ~ Revelation 3:20, NKJV.

Jesus said that as He was rebuking the Church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. I’m grateful that I could open the door to my heart so that He could come in. That He would be willing to come in and take up residence in me is a marvel to me even to this day, especially when I’m in a bad mood. Jesus’ kindness and love for me is something that never ceases to amaze me! I know I don’t deserve it, and yet He continues to demonstrate such love that I can’t fathom it!

And He does it in so many different and innumerable ways! His creation is so beautiful that it takes my breath away, no matter where I look!

I don’t know how well you can see the photo of the Peacock spider. If you click on it, you might be able to get it to enlarge. If that doesn’t work (and it may not; it didn’t for me), then here’s the link to a whole website about Peacock spiders, and specifically this species of Peacock spider: https://www.peacockspider.org/#/maratus-caeruleus/, plus you can see pictures of a whole lot of other equally beautiful Peacock spiders.

Part of the reason I’m feeling so cranky has to do with Charlotte. You know, the kitten I got last July?

After six months, she still hasn’t adapted to being with me, and I am very discouraged. She still runs away when I come into the room, and just about the only interaction she’s willing to have with me is to attack my ankles and feet when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV. And it HURTS when she does that!!

I’m so upset about the whole situation that I don’t know what to do, and I’m about to throw in the towel on the whole project. As a consequence I feel like an absolute, complete, and abject failure.

Throughout my life I’ve always been able to make friends with a cat. There’s never, ever been a cat that I’ve not been able to turn into a friend. So in my mind, there must be something wrong with me if I can’t get Charlotte to like, much less love me. So it feels like it’s every man, or rather cat, for herself in my house. And Charlotte’s winning!

So needless to say, I AM DISCOURAGED!! In the last couple of days I’ve asked, begged even, God to let me die and come Home to Heaven because I just can’t handle my life anymore. I hate myself, and I hate my life ~ so much so that I just don’t want to live it. I’m done.

I’M DONE!!!

Unfortunately, I don’t think God will answer that prayer in the affirmative. And at least part of the reason I know that is because I’M STILL HERE!! Darnit!!

I want to end this with some measure of hope, like a Scripture verse or something, but I can’t think of one to use.

Well, maybe…

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether… 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. ~ Psalm 139:1-4 and 7-8, NKJV.

And then there’s this…

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?… 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:35, 37-39, NLT.

I guess that’s the hopeful ending for my train-of-thought, disorganized, cranky, crabby post. Scripture says that God and His love are with me, regardless of how badly my life is going, or how terrible I’m feeling. No matter what’s going on in my life, God’s love is with me, and for me.

I can accept that. I can live with it, and I will always be grateful for it.

Thank you, Jesus!!

The Not-Angry God, or The God Who Is Love

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I learned something this week, something amazing. I learned that God isn’t angry at me, and He probably never was. Now, that might sound like a no-brainer to most of you, but it’s a new and important revelation to me. I’ve been a Christian for almost fifty years, so you’d think I would know that by now, but I didn’t. In fact, quite the opposite.

Let me explain.

As my readers may know, I come from a very difficult background. My father, Harry, was an angry and abusive man who told me that God hated me everytime he abused me. He also forced me to lie about what he was doing to me by playing Russian Roulette with his revolver between my legs from the time I was about two years old onward. My mother did nothing to protect me from Harry’s abuse, and she also tried to kill me a number of times during my infancy.

So I’ve spent the vast majority of my life being afraid, even terrified, of God, and believing He was angry at me. Harry had told me the lie that God hated me so often that it had become a truth that was ingrained in my nervous system, and I believed it with every fiber of my being. I’d never known anything different, so it was perfectly logical that I would believe that.

Fortunately God had something different in mind for me than being afraid of Him, because not only does He not hate me, but He loves me. And He’s been actively showing me just how much He loves me for the past five years. It’s actually been a lot longer, but it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve experienced the most active healing. (Actually He started showing me how much He loves me two thousand years ago when Christ went to the Cross and died for my sins, but that’s part of my larger story, and not for this post.)

I should probably tell you how all this came about.

When I was about five, I made an ashtray for Harry for Christmas. You know, one of those ashtrays made out of clay that kids make in kindergarten? It looked more like a large bowl, but it was supposed to be an ashtray. Harry was a chain-smoker, so I thought an ashtray was something he would like and be able to use. I painted it yellow with green polka dots. I was so proud of that ashtray! I worked so hard on it, and I wanted so badly for Harry to like it!

Alas, such was not to be.

When he saw it, all he said was, “Oh, that’s nice.” Then later, when we were alone, he said, “That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” and he smashed it into little pieces. Then he hit me and told me I was stupid for thinking he would like such an ugly thing.

I was thinking about that incident earlier this week, only this time when I thought about it, it was very different. This time, when I saw Harry smashing the ashtray in my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus enter the picture and pick up the broken pieces. Then He took the pieces and reassembled the ashtray. I could tell Jesus was pleased with my offering. If I’d made it for Him, He would have loved it. And once Jesus entered the picture, Harry became irrelevant and disappeared. Jesus had such a look of love on His face! I’d never seen anyone look at me like that before!

When Jesus came into the picture, everything changed. All the anger and hatred and pain directed at me from Harry was washed away by the love on Jesus’ face, and by the fact that He was pleased with my gift. I was able to forgive Harry because of the love Jesus showed me.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. ~ 1 John 4:16, NLT.

I now know that the idea that God hated me truly was a lie. Even logically it makes no sense based on Scripture, as you can see from the verse quoted above. It’s impossible for God to hate anyone, because not only does He love, but He is love. I’m so grateful to God for straightening that out in my mind!

God is healing me more and more all the time, and I’m able to trust Him ~ and His love ~ more and more all the time. I feel excited every day because God is real in my life, and I wonder what new things I might learn about Him each day. Even when I’m depressed, I still feel excited ~ if you can imagine that mixture of emotions ~ because I know that God is active in my life regardless of how I feel. It makes me glad to be alive!

God is SOOO GOOD to me, and I love Him so!!

Pursuing Holiness While I’m Cursing God and Man

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If the above title sounds like an oxymoron, that’s because it is, but it’s also what my weekend was like. Yesterday was one of those days where I spent the entire day beating myself up over and over and over again. I felt so bad about myself that I ended up wishing I could just stop taking up space and air that other people need and deserve much more than I do.

There are times when I’m writing these posts where I think I make myself sound like my life is all sweetness and light, and God has wonderfully healed me, and I had a terrible childhood, but I’m all better now, and I no longer have any problems. Well, some of that is true, but a lot of it is not.

I did have a terrible childhood, and God did protect me from the worst of it (the worst being that my mother wasn’t able to kill me even though she tried, and my father wasn’t able to get me into the cult even though he tried, and neither was he able to do away with me). And God has healed me from a lot of what happened to me, a fact for which I am incredibly grateful, but there’s still a whole lot that needs to be done.

But when you come from the kind of background I came from, life isn’t going to be all sweetness and light. God has made it so I’m able to find the good in my everyday life. I find great joy in the beauty of His creation, and in listening to beautiful music, as well as Scripture, and in looking at beautiful art. But much of the time I struggle just to make it through a single minute, much less an hour, and even more through a whole day.

Sometimes I wonder how God puts up with me! When I’m having a bad day, I spend the vast majority of it swearing and pulling my hair and yelling at myself (or at God), and then repenting and asking Him to forgive me for the multitudinous millions of mess-ups I made in the last five minutes.

And then I repeat the whole process again and again and again. It feels like I’m drowning in confusion, like there are a bunch of demons swirling around my head ~ even though I know that the Bible says that God is not the author of confusion. All of which means I’m sinning in that TOO!! Yet more condemnation!! Just what I needed.

I once heard a preacher say that if you curse you can’t be saved. Anyone who curses can’t be a Christian. He said it was impossible for anyone who curses to be a Christian. Such a person can’t be saved. That made a big impression on me, because I curse all the time. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I do. I hate that about myself, and I’ve tried time and time again to stop, but I just haven’t been able to conquer it, no matter how much I pray, no matter how much I beg God. I would say that’s my one besetting sin.

Throughout my childhood I heard cursing and swearing from both parents all the time. They fought all the time, and when they did they swore and cursed at each other, calling each other all kinds of terrible names.

I know what the Bible says about the power of the tongue ~ I suppose that’s what got me started down this rabbit trail in the first place. I was reading in James 3 on Friday, and it was like James was reading my mail from two thousand years ago. That’s one of the ways you know that God’s Word is alive ~ when God can use a Scripture passage written two thousand years ago to read your mail today. It’s amazing how He does it, and if I didn’t know He loves me it would make me mad. Fortunately I do know He loves me. I just don’t know how He’s going to get me out of this fix I’m in.

6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. ~ James 3:6-10, NIV.

So based on the premise that I am in fact saved, what that preacher said notwithstanding (one can only hope, right?) I’ll continue blogging and hope that I don’t have many more days like the one yesterday. And I’ll also continue to pray that God helps me to control my tongue, because I HATE it when I swear!! I can’t imagine that it pleases God, and that’s the part that bothers me the most, because I desire above all else to be pleasing to Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6, NKJV.

Of Litter Boxes and Love

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Every once in a while I’m confronted with just how much I hate cleaning out Charlotte’s litter box. I hate cleaning it, and I hate changing the litter as well. You can well imagine that this is, by definition, a real problem, because cats need to have a clean litter box if they’re indoor cats, which Charlotte is. Otherwise they start doing their business, if you know what I mean, everywhere but the litter box, and I’ll leave the results of that fiasco to your imagination.

My frustration with the litter box comes from the fact that Charlotte pees on my bed if she doesn’t like the condition of her litter box.

How, you might ask, do I know that’s what my cat is thinking when she pees on my bed? Well, I’ll tell you.

The only time she pees on my bed is when I’m not cleaning out out her litter box often enough, and one could interpret that to mean that I’m not keeping it clean enough to keep her satisfied, so she punishes me by peeing on my bed.

She’s also peed on my cross stitch, and that’s a worse sin, if possible than peeing on my bed. I’ve put in hundreds of hours on this cross stitch, and I expect to put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours more, and the thought that Charlotte could ruin it in one fell swoop simply by peeing on it fills me with…

Well, I’m not sure what it fills me with, but you can be sure it’s not good. So I guess I have to pray for God’s help to forgive her. And then I have to figure out how to get the stain out.

There’s a saying: dogs have owners; cats have staff. It seems to hold true in my case, and she’s only five months old. I’ve long had the feeling that whatever cat I own ~ that she actually owns me. You know, I pay the rent, but Lily, or Rosie (the cat I had before Lily) and now Charlotte rules the roost. And it feels like it’s especially true with Charlotte, as young as she is, because she feels like a baby-tyrant. And just so you know, I’ve only ever had female cats, except for Dennis the Menace when I was a kid, but I wasn’t allowed to choose him. My parents did that, because I was only five at the time. Other than Dennis the Menace, I don’t like male pets. They have too much visible equipment for my taste.

If I look at it from a more practical and logical perspective, I know that cats have a heightened and acute sense of smell. So smells most of us can barely notice are probably bowling Charlotte over because they’re so strong. So while I can’t smell her litter box even when I’m right next to it, she can probably smell the litter box downstairs when she’s in the loft upstairs. All of which says I need to put aside my own frustration and work harder to keep it clean ~ which I’m doing because I love her.

In an interesting aside, I’ve never been able to smell marijuana, and have therefore never been able to get high on it, something I don’t regret at all. When I was in college, I would come into the lobby of the dorm where I was living on a Friday or Saturday night, and the friend at the front desk would ask me if I could smell the grass as I was coming to the lobby from my room, and I would tell her I couldn’t. Her response was always that she was surprised, because the smell was so overpowering, you could get high just walking through the building.

Not only can I not smell marijuana, but I can’t smell much of anything at all, because a kid in seventh grade band class punched me in the nose for telling the teacher that they’d left the room. I was incredibly naive back then, and I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to rat on other students, so when A.S. (name changed and disguised to protect their privacy) left the room as the teacher was taking roll, I made the mistake of telling the teacher about it when he called their name. Then when they came back, someone else told them about it, and they came up to me and punched me hard in the nose because I’d tattled on them. My nose bled so heavily that day that my dress was ruined, and they had to take me to the hospital to have it X-rayed to make sure it wasn’t broken.

Fortunately my nose wasn’t broken, but my sense of smell was forever changed. About the only things I can smell now are certain flowers, in particular gardenias.

That was over 50 years ago, and I’ve forgiven A.S., but I still can’t smell much more than a few kinds of flowers. I’m okay with that, and if I’m stuck with a sense of smell that’s narrowed down to a few flowers and nothing more, then I’m grateful that I can smell flowers, because flowers are beautiful. Gardenias have a truly heavenly scent. I hope Heaven will smell like gardenias, though I imagine it will probably smell even more amazing and wonderful than that, even beyond my wildest imagination.

7 We speak about the mystery of God’s wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. 8 Not one of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as Scripture says: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (Isaiah 64:4), Names of God Bible.

I’ve wondered about God’s wisdom in giving me this particular cat, because I’ve had so many problems with her. But I’ve also wondered if I jumped the gun and got a cat too soon out of impatience, because I wanted a cat so badly. So maybe I got the wrong cat because I should have waited for God to send me the perfect cat ~ and maybe that’s why I’ve had so many problems with her. She certainly has tried my patience, that’s for sure.

So that’s the latest chapter in the continuing saga of Charlotte the Cat. She continues to be a mystery, because I don’t understand much of what she does, and she remains the cat with more energy than any cat I’ve ever seen or known. She is the busiest one cat I’ve ever seen. She allows me to be closer to her if I’m sitting on my couch, but she still runs away if I walk towards her. At least for the time being I’ve solved the problem with her peeing on my stuff by keeping her out of my bedroom entirely, and keeping her away from my cross stitch. My bedroom door is always closed, and my cross stitch goes with me wherever I go, or it stays in my bedroom behind closed doors.

God is good ALL the time, regardless of what’s happening, good or bad, in my life.

A Meandering Potpourri of Thoughts, or, Becoming More Like Jesus VERY Slowly.

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What shall I write about now? I published a post on Sunday that I really liked, and I haven’t been able to figure out what to write about ever since because my mind has been blank. Usually I can come up with at least some kind of inkling, but not this time. So maybe I’ll just meander a bit until I can come up with a topic.

So this is me meandering…

Things are getting better with Charlotte. She seems to be warming up to me, though it’s in a somewhat oppositional fashion, if that makes any sense. She plays around my feet by clawing them, which hurts like crazy, so I have to tell her to stop. I don’t want to do that, but her claws are so sharp that I can’t stand it if I allow her to keep using them on me.

I haven’t worked on my cross stitch for several days, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see McT this week. He and his wife went up north on a sort of mini-vacation. I’m supposed to see him again tomorrow, so maybe that’ll kickstart my cross stitch again.

I’m thinking I should post a progress pic here as well. I haven’t posted an update photo in a very long time, so maybe it’s time to do that. I have made a fair amount of headway on it since my last progress pic, though I’m still working on the same part of the sampler ~ the bottom right corner. It’s just that I’ve moved in a bit from the absolute corner. Of course I have to take a photo of it first, strangely enough. You can’t post a photo if you don‘t have a photo to post.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. It took me a VERY long time to figure out how to get the photo of my cross stitch into this post, something like two hours or more. That amount of time seems pretty ridiculous to me, but it took at least that long. Thankfully it finally got done, and it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself, after an immense amount of frustration and praying and silent yelling (my housekeeper is cleaning my apartment at present, so I can’t yell out loud. Harrumph! The things we do for propriety’s sake!)

We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18, The Passion Translation.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%203:17-18&version=TPT

Above is the link to the Bible Gateway website where you can access the verse from The Passion Translation that I used. Becoming more like Jesus is a process. It has to be that way, because doing it all at once would be too painful and difficult. I mean, think how it would be to grow from a baby into an adult in one single day. That would be impossible.

In order for your bones to make that kind of transformation you’d have to add more bone, a LOT more bone, all at once. It might be easier if you broke the bone in half and just added a big segment in between the two broken halves. But then healing would take a long time, and it would be quite painful.

It’s something to think about anyway, and something I might explore further in another post.

No Longer In Harry’s World

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Sometimes I get tired of living in this world that the devil is the god of. It’s a world chock-full of gimmicks and lies and tricks, and people who tell those lies, and trick you with those gimmicks.

And I find myself feeling exhausted because I can never let my guard down. I always have to be wary that someone will sneak up behind me with a new deception, except, according to the Bible, there’s nothing new under the sun.

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV.

I like the way the New Living Translation says it,

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT.

History merely repeats itself. In other words, the devil, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) can’t create anything new. Only God can do that. So maybe, if I put my trust in God, and keep my focus on Jesus, while listening to the Holy Spirit, then I won’t have to be hypervigilant anymore.

I really like the sound of that!

I really like the sound of that because I’ve spent my entire life being hypervigilant, and it’s exhausting. Throughout my childhood I had to be, because my father (that’s who Harry was ~ he’s dead right now) was incredibly unpredictable. I could never anticipate where he would be next. He might jump out at me from behind a door, or spook me from behind, always with rape and abuse on his mind.

This kind of thing is overwhelming for an adult to handle, much less a small child! It’s no wonder I was hypervigilant!

There was one time when I was about four. I wanted to go into the kitchen to get a glass of milk. The door to the kitchen was a swinging door, and most of the time it was open, but this time Harry was standing in my way. He had this ominous look on his face, and I knew if I tried to go around him, I’d be in big trouble.

There was another way into the kitchen, through Mary’s and my bedroom, onto the back porch, and into the kitchen. But I knew if I tried to go that way Harry would chase me, and I would inevitably lose, because he was bigger than me. So no matter what I did I would get raped and beaten.

In my mind, however, I couldn’t just submit. It felt like I would have been giving in and taking the coward’s way out. I had to run the other direction, regardless of whether that made it worse or not. So I turned and ran towards my bedroom.

Of course, I didn’t get very far, because Harry was bigger than me and could run much faster, but I had to try. I had to TRY!!

He caught up with me somewhere in the middle of the dining room, between the kitchen and the bedroom, and seized my arm, jerking me off my feet, my legs flying. I started to shriek, but he grabbed my face, and covered my mouth so I couldn’t make a sound. Then he stuffed me under his arm and took me into my mother and his bedroom. He threw me down on their bed, and hissed at me that I would regret trying to run from him.

I’ll end my story there, but suffice it to say that, as usual, he raped me and slapped me silly.

As horrific as that event was, it was life as usual for me during those years. But God was there the whole time, keeping me alive and protecting me from the worst of the abuse, and I am so grateful that He was. Additionally, I’ve now come to see that I no longer live in Harry’s world ~ thank God!

It’s occurred to me that Harry’s world and the world of the devil were one and the same. Harry and the devil were best buds, and Harry tried to draft me into Satan’s kingdom, but thankfully God had other plans.

As I’m writing this, I’m all of a sudden realizing that God protected me from that aspect of the abuse in particular. I endured the ritual abuse, but rather than becoming a part of the cult as Harry and Satan hoped, God planted in me an overwhelming hatred for all things evil and satanic that has guarded my heart and mind throughout my life. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that! God is so good, and He’s so incredibly good to me!!

I have given them Your Word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. ~ John 17:14-16, NLT.

That’s what He did for me ~ He gave me His Word, and kept me safe from the evil one.

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15, NKJV.

That’s how I feel right now. I’m so grateful to God for His unfathomable, inexpressible, amazing, marvelous, beautiful, and bountiful gifts to me. There are too many to count, so I think I’ll stop here!

God is so good!

Having Flashbacks In the Dentist’s Chair

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I broke a tooth yesterday, so I had to go to the dentist today. I didn’t have a dentist before yesterday, because I’m terrified of going to see them. Everytime you go to the dentist, they have to numb your gums, and everytime they do that, I can not only feel, but hear the POP of the needle going into my gums. It’s the creepiest thing, and it just terrifies me.

Until today when I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, I thought hearing the pop of the needle going into my gums was the only problem I had with the dentist.

Turns out I was wrong, very wrong.

So I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, and she told me to close my eyes as she was working on my teeth. I did that, but then I started seeing all these flashbacks. You know, Harry doing bad things to me. Only this time, the flashbacks were specifically about oral sex ~ I’m sure because the dentist was messing around in my mouth, forcing it wide open as she was drilling, etc.

Hence, the next time the dentist told me to close my eyes ~ once I could get a word in ~ I said I couldn’t because it made me have flashbacks, so she stopped suggesting it, thankfully. And as long as I kept my eyes open the flashbacks were held down to a dull roar ~ because once they’d begun, I couldn’t make them stop. I almost started crying, they got so bad.

I’ve known for years that Harry forced me to have oral sex with him. The very first memory I had back in 1980 was of him forcing me to have oral sex in the shower when I was about two years old. Then years later, I found a report from my pediatrician saying I had a rash around my mouth when I was about four, and I was fairly certain what had caused the rash.

And when I say oral sex, that’s exactly what I mean. Harry was forcing me to put his penis in my mouth, and my mouth was too small for it, so it made me gag and choke, which made him mad, so he started hitting me, after which I got confused and terrified, so I lost control of my bowels and pooped on the shower floor. That made Harry REALLY mad, so he picked up my feces and threw it at me, and then he forced me to eat it.

How can people be so beastly towards other people, especially towards innocent children? What did I ever do to him to make him hate me so?

I forgive him! I purpose in my heart to forgive him!

This was horribly difficult to write. It was a new memory, and it came up in public, and in a strange place, with people that I didn’t know, so I had no one with whom I could process it. I had to keep it all inside until I got home.

So I took myself to McDonald’s and got a Mocha Frappé to reward myself for adulting so well! Yay me! And more importantly, yay God, because I couldn’t have done it without Him. Throughout the appointment I was repeating a verse from Isaiah to myself,

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, NKJV.

And then I personalized it,

You will keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, personalized.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this verse to get me through a difficult situation like today, and especially once I started having those flashbacks. Being able to draw on the Holy Spirit, and the Father, and my Sweet Jesus by meditating on Scripture, as I did today, made all the difference.

As Jesus told the Apostle Paul when Paul asked Him to remove the thorn in his flesh,

“My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9, Good News Translation.

I was weak today, and I’m glad I was, because God is faithful and trustworthy. He always keeps His promises. He always shows up if we will only put our trust in Him.

I’m so glad I did!

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit! Praise God! God is so good!

No Average Joes

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God created each one of us in His own image and after His likeness, and I believe He made each person unique and individual, like no other human being ever created before or after. God broke the mold, as the saying goes, after He was finished creating each person. So no one is average, no matter how boring you think you are. If you think you have nothing special to offer, then you need to ask God, and He will show you. EVERYONE has gifts and talents, regardless of how you see yourself.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. ~ 1 Peter 4:10, NLT.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~ Ephesians 2:10, NLT.

The word, “masterpiece” in this verse comes from the Greek word, poiēma from which we get the word poem. I understand that to mean that God made me uniquely in His image, a masterpiece of His choosing, unlike any other person that He ever created before or after me, and all the other people who He created are also masterpieces.

Just as an aside, I think that’s why murder is such a terrible crime. When you kill someone, you are murdering a unique person who was created in the image of God, so you’re destroying the very image of God by killing that person, and you’re acting like God when you take that individual’s life. Look what happened to Satan when he tried to act like God. He got tossed out of Heaven, and demoted from Lucifer, one of the archangels, to Satan, lord over Hell. Only God should be able to decide someone’s time of death. God is the author of life, so He should be the author of death.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book! ~ Psalm 139:13-16, TLB, The Living Bible.

When I was little, every time Harry abused me, he told me he had to do it because God hated me. He also told me that I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face. Those two statements were like a litany repeated over and over into my mind until they became part of the wiring of my nervous system. It took an act of God to break them down so I no longer believed them, terrible lies that they were.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Harry probably felt those things about himself so he projected them onto me. It took many years as an adult for me to be able to believe that God loved me, and many, many more before I could believe that I wasn’t ugly.. What did the trick was changing my name back in 1980.

I decided I wanted to change my name so I could rid myself of the legacy of child abuse. So I went to the Bible to find Bible names with good meanings. I knew I wanted my first name to be Sarah, because it meant Princess. Then I found Abigail, which means “a joy to the Father.”

Then all I was lacking was a last name, so I started flipping through Strong’s Concordance. I happened to open it to a page in the Greek section where the work “kuriakos” appeared at the very bottom of the last column on the left-hand page ~ the very last entry at the bottom of that column. I think God put it there so it would be easy for me to find. And it turned out that “kuriakos” meant “belonging to God”.

How cool is that! I had my whole name! Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. God’s Princess, a Joy to the Father, Belonging to God. I thought I had never heard such a beautiful name in all my life.

Then I decided I wanted to do it legally, because it felt like a legal name change would be the only way for it to feel real to me. So I went to court and changed my name legally from the name I was born with to Sarah Abigail Kuriakos.

Changing my name has made a tremendous difference in my life. Every time I hear the names, I hear their meanings. Hearing the meanings has been like feeding a new litany into my nervous system to break the wiring created by the old one and replacing it with this new, healing one. I could almost feel the healing process as it was happening over the years.

So that’s that! I’m beautiful! I may not look like Raquel Welch or Marilyn Monroe, but I wouldn’t want to. I have a hard enough time being me, much less trying to be someone else. Besides, God didn’t make me to be Marilyn Monroe or Raquel Welch. He made me to be me, and for the first time in my life, I’m fine with that.

I love knowing that because God thinks I’m beautiful, I can accept and believe it about myself, and feel beautiful because God thinks I am. It’s marvelously freeing, though it took me several more years before I could get to that point, even with that wonderful and amazing name.

Finally I realized that God Himself had given me that name. And if He gave me that beautiful name, He must think I’m beautiful. And if God thinks I’m beautiful, then I must be beautiful, because God NEVER makes a mistake.

Think about that. God NEVER makes a mistake, so I must beautiful.

Hallelujah!! Thank you Jesus!!

An Attitude of Gratitude ~ Part II

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Adopting an attitude of gratitude has been more helpful than anything else I’ve tried as I’ve recovered from my childhood. It was easy to focus on how awful I’d had it as a kid, but that didn’t help me to grow and heal. In fact, it only made me feel worse.

I spent years being angry at God for what had happened to me. In fact, that’s all I could see or think about. I devoted a great deal of time to informing Him about how badly He’d messed up my life by allowing Harry and my mother to abuse me as they had, by even placing me in that family in the first place.

What I didn’t understand was that God, because He’s GOD, and therefore Creator and Ruler over everything, including me, had the absolute right to do whatever He wished with my life, just because He’s God. What that means is that He didn’t have to ask my permission before He did something in my life. Specifically, He didn’t have to ask me, or explain to me, why He was placing me in the particular family that He put me in. He’s God and therefore sovereign, and doesn’t owe anyone an explanation about anything.

Woe to the man who fights with his Creator. Does the pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with him who forms it, saying, “Stop, you’re doing it wrong!” or the pot exclaim, “How clumsy can you be!”? ~ Isaiah 45:9, TLB (The Living Bible).

I love the way this translation words it, because that’s exactly what I was trying to do. I was trying to tell God that He had done it wrong by giving me those specific parents. As far as I was concerned, He should have given me much better parents. Parents who were nicer and more loving, as if God, Master of the Universe, Creator of All Things, had made a mistake. And I felt very angry, even enraged, about it too.

Looking back, I can see how incredibly arrogant and presumptuous I was in thinking that. I was displaying the same kind of arrogance Satan did when he decided he would assume God’s throne and overthrow Him, which of course, was impossible. The result of his presumption was that he got tossed out of Heaven forever, and thrown down to Earth.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ ~ Isaiah 14:12-14, NKJV.

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. ~ Luke 10:17-18, NKJV.

What I didn’t realize was that if He had given me different parents, then I wouldn’t be me. I’d be someone else with different DNA, a completely different genetic makeup, and completely different reactions to everything. Even more, I would also have a different relationship, or perhaps no relationship at all, with God, and the thought of that horrified and terrified me. I can’t imagine a life where God isn’t a part of it, nor do I want to.

So it seemed I had a decision to make, whether or not I was consciously aware of it. I could hold onto my anger at God, and reject Him and the salvation He offered through Jesus Christ. Or I could be smart and let go of my anger, and accept the grace, and the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

I knew that letting go of my anger meant accepting my past and the terrible suffering that went with it, but there was suffering either way, whether I stayed angry or let go of it. I’d already begun to feel like I was losing my mind because the anger had such a tight grip on me. I was breaking things (the windshield of my car, and one of my tires had fallen victim to my rage), and it felt like there was band around my head that grew tighter every day because I was so angry all the time. In addition, I’d begun to fear that I would lose my salvation if I didn’t let the anger go, because I was yelling and cursing at God almost constantly, and while God is extremely patient and long-suffering, I couldn’t imagine that He’d put up with my childish temper tantrums forever, all the Scriptures to the contrary notwithstanding.

And then I heard James Dobson say something on a Focus On the Family broadcast that brought me up short, and made me think that maybe I was barking up the wrong tree. I don’t remember what the subject of the broadcast was, but what Dr. Dobson said was, “We don’t have the right to hold God accountable.”

What that meant to me was that I didn’t have the right to question God’s sovereignty, which is exactly what I was doing. Human beings don’t have the right to question their Creator’s plan for their lives. God loves us, and because He’s Perfect He really does know what’s best for us. Being Perfect means He doesn’t make mistakes with regard to our lives, and in my case, with regard to my life.

There are times when I have a hard time with that concept. When I consider the absolute Hell I went through as a child, and the love I’ve gone without, because neither parent was willing to meet my emotional needs in any substantive way, which left me feeling like I was starving to death emotionally most of the time.

But I’ve come to realize that God didn’t make a mistake by giving me these parents, as difficult as my life with them was. He had a plan. I think that plan was that I would be able to form a relationship with Him that would be so far above and beyond anything I could ever imagine, one that would never have happened had I been born into any other family.

I’ve come to value my relationship with God far more than any other affiliation in my life, and I wouldn’t be willing to give it up for anything. Thankfully I don’t think He expects me to.

Even though I feel like there’s a gaping hole in me emotionally, I know there’s only One Person who can meet that need, and that Person is Jesus Christ. So I will eagerly await His appearing, and long for the time when I can see His beautiful face, and know Him as He knows me now.

E‘en so, come quickly Lord Jesus!!

I Am That Wretched Man (or Woman).

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O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ~ Romans 7:24, NKJV.

Paul was writing this about himself, but in reality it could be said about anyone who is willing to admit that they are sinful and desperately in need of God’s saving grace. I am one of those wretched people, which is why this post is entitled as it is. I am the wretched person spoken of in Romans 7:24, as is every human being, whether they’re willing to admit it or not.

Thankfully, however, Paul didn’t stop at verse 24. Verse 25 follows immediately thereafter,

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. ~ Romans 7:24-25, NLT.

This tells me a couple of things. Most obviously, it reminds me that I am a sinner, and then it emphasizes to me just how much I need Jesus and His saving grace. I thank God for His grace! I’d be dead without it! One of those nine suicide attempts would have succeeded had it not been for God’s efforts on my behalf.

7 But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem was given to me—an angel from Satan, sent to make me suffer, so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else. 8 I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, ERV (Easy-to-Read Version).

I like this translation best because it emphasizes the fact that God’s power works best when man’s weakness is fully acknowledged. And something that God showed me is that I don’t have to have a physical infirmity like Paul’s thorn in order for this to be true for me. All that’s needed is for me to recognize my total dependency on Him. I don’t find that hard to do, because I’m confronted many times everyday with how much I need Him.

As I stated above, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for His working in my life from the beginning on. Either one of my mother’s attempts to kill me would have succeeded, or one of my own suicide attempts would have. And I like knowing that I need God that much. God has never failed me. He’s always kept His promises to me, He’s never lied to me, and He’s never betrayed me, unlike the humans in my life. God is completely dependable. He always has been, and He always will be.

There’s never been anyone like God in my life. Everyone I’ve ever known has betrayed me and let me down to one degree or another. So when I discovered that God was with me from the beginning of my life, protecting me from the worst of the abuse (the worst meaning Harry would kill me, which he threatened to do any number of times, or my mother would kill me, or the cult would), and keeping me alive until I could grow up and make my own decision to serve Him or not.

Of course I chose to serve Him after all He’s done for me!

So I may be that wretched woman, but I don’t mind, because Jesus is redeeming me every second of everyday. And God’s Word is true for me all the time, and is the foundation of my life.

I LOVE knowing that!! I LOVE being able to believe that and stand on it!!