Author Archives: sarahjesusnlily

About sarahjesusnlily

My name is Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. I come from a background of extreme child abuse, and it almost destroyed my life. My mother tried to kill me while I was an infant, my father threatened to kill me if I told anyone what he was doing to me, and I tried suicide nine times as an adult. Fortunately, God had other plans, and none of the attempts on my life succeeded. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle the progress I'm making as God heals me from my childhood, while making sure that God is glorified in the process. I'm a voracious reader, and I enjoy crocheting, doing counted cross stitch, and creating art. I also enjoy playing with my cat Lily, listening to Christian music, and watching movies. My favorite books are, first and foremost, The Holy Bible, then Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, The Count of Monte Cristo, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I also love Christian apologetics. The most important thing in my life is knowing and serving Jesus Christ, and telling people about His great love for them. People need to know that God loves them!

Sinking the Anger Titanic

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In my last post (Taken Over By Aliens) I wrote about the way I tend to catastrophize everything when I get upset, amongst other things. It doesn’t take anything for me to get upset, it seems, and I’d really like that to change. It’s exhausting to get upset and angry all the time, especially when it’s over little things. If I only got angry over big things, then maybe it wouldn’t happen so often, but it happens ALL the TIME!! And I’m SOOO TIRED of it!!

I just want it to STOP!!

When I was talking to McT about it during my FaceTime session on Tuesday, I told him how distressed it made me feel everytime I got upset, because I felt like I must be disappointing God. Instead of trusting Him with whatever the situation is, I get upset about it and fall apart. Thankfully I’m no longer hitting myself, but I don’t want to get upset about it either. I just want to keep my peace and trust that God has the situation in hand. But somehow I can’t seem to do that, no matter what I do.

It’s SOOO ANNOYING!!

Then McT presented me with an entirely new thought about this problem, one which I had never considered before, and it completely changed my perspective on it. He suggested that maybe my responses to these situations that make me fall apart are because of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

PTSD?? PTSD?? Oh my! I had never thought of that before!! If it’s PTSD that’s driving my responses, that makes me feel like I’m not doing it on purpose!

Let me explain what I just said…

When I was a kid and I did something like spilling the milk at the dinner table, I had to act remorseful ENOUGH, otherwise my mother accused me of spilling it on purpose. Remorseful ENOUGH meant doing something like cleaning up the spilled milk mess that I had just made while apologizing and crying and hitting myself. I think this was probably the genesis of the self-abuse that happened in later years. I had to act abjectly apologetic. This involved a great deal of weeping and crying and expressions of sorrow. I never could seem to convince them (my parents) that I didn’t do it on purpose. None of my explanations or expressions of remorse and sorrow over this seemingly heinous act of spilling the milk were ever adequate to persuade them or satisfy them that I wasn’t the evil child who was trying to make things difficult for my mother.

It makes me feel frenzied inside when I think back to these situations, panic-stricken that I could never make it right, no matter how hard I tried. I can see the little ones running around frantically inside, grasping at air and screaming in terror because my mother was sitting there stone-faced, because one of us had clumsily knocked over a glass of milk by accident. And if she was sitting there stone-faced, that meant we were gonna get hit.

IMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRY!!!!

Damn, Mom!! You NEVER knocked over ANYTHING by accident??!! You were the PERFECT CHILD??

I DON’T THINK SO!!!

When I started writing out I’m sorry over and over and over again, it’s like a deep and gigantic well of tears was released, and I started to weep and sob huge gulping sobs. I think I had never really dealt with the spilt milk issue. I may have more to do. If so, God will be there with me to do it…

So the idea that PTSD could be what’s behind me getting upset all the time? Well, that generates a whole new line of thought for me. For one thing, instead of God’s judgment, which is what I’ve always felt when I’ve worried that He’s disappointed in me, all of a sudden I can feel His mercy. If it’s PTSD then I can feel His mercy and love. It’s like PTSD gives me a valid reason for why I do what I do, and I’ve never had that before.

And maybe PTSD explains why I’m angry in the first place.

Now that’s an interesting thought, and one which I’ll probably have to explore further in future posts…

I don’t want PTSD to become the catchall excuse for everything in my life, like for example, why did you rob that store?

(I’m trying to think of an example that involves something that I would NEVER EVER do…)

Well, I robbed that store because my father hit me when I was little, so now I have PTSD. The PTSD made me rob the store.

NO!! NO!! NO!!

The PTSD that I have now as an adult is a result of the abuse inflicted on me by my parents when I was little. But now that I’m an adult, what I do with that is MY RESPONSIBILITY. I can’t blame any wrong behavior or sin that I might commit now on what they did to me as a child. I am responsible for my actions now, even if they are informed by what happened to me as a child.

Okay, so back to PTSD and my anger…

I get angry ALL the TIME, and over the littlest things, as I explained earlier. It happens a lot while I’m watching TV, and especially when I’m watching programs about true crime, and in particular while I’m watching programs about child abuse and domestic violence. I spend a lot of time yelling at the abusers in the TV programs, and telling them what jerks they are, and telling the police in these programs what they should be doing that they aren’t, and even telling everyone what they should be saying to each other. No one ever says what I think they should be saying!

It would be funny if it weren’t so indicative of what’s going on my heart. I’ve come to the realization that I’m probably yelling at Harry, and at my mother, and at everyone else in my life who didn’t protect me but should have when I was little. In other words, my anger at my parents is projected onto the people in the programs I’m watching on TV, because I don’t know the people on the TV from Adam’s housecat (if Adam had a housecat…).

I think the abuse is the iceberg that sank my Titanic anger, and as I work through my pain, I’m raising my Titanic back to the surface so it can be reassembled to sail again, hopefully this time without incident. And all the people who died when it sank are all my alters from when I was multiple who were so wounded and abused by my parents. Thankfully I was integrated back in 2003 by God, and through the efforts of a wonderful prayer team at the church I was attending at the time. So those alters have been healed and integrated into the whole that is me now.

But it’s time, I think, to deal with all that anger. I don’t know how that will come about, but God does, and McT is a really good shrink, probably the best I’ve ever had. He’s led by the Spirit, and he loves God and His Word.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NLT.

I’m grateful for the freedom that God has brought me as I’ve trusted Him more and more, and the Holy Spirit has certainly been instrumental in this. All three Persons of the Holy Trinity have, and I can’t express enough gratitude for everything they’ve done for me. Jesus went to the Cross for my salvation ~ I’d be dead if it hadn’t’ve been for that. The Holy Spirit has been guiding and comforting and helping counseling me all these years since I got saved, because that’s His job,

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. … These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~ John 14:16-18, 25-27, NKJV.

I know that’s a pretty long passage of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit is a pretty vast subject, and I wanted to make sure I covered everything about Him, and what He’s done and is doing in my life, though I’m sure I could find more.

I’m so thankful and grateful and appreciative and blessed and (these are the only adjectives I could find in my thesaurus for my feelings towards God…), and… and… and…

Jesus plus nothing equals EVERYTHING!!

Taken Over By Aliens

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I’ve had a hankering for several days to just write, and when I feel like that I’ve found it’s best to obey the urge and start typing. The problem has been finding the time, but I’m here now…

So I’m going to write about whatever comes to mind, and I have some ideas.

There are times when I feel a great deal of anxiety, because it seems like nothing is going the way it’s supposed to, and everything is falling apart. During those times I’m much more prone to panic attacks, though I’m so pleased that I’m still self-abuse free ~ praise God for that. It’s just that, even though I’m no longer hitting myself, I feel like I’m disappointing God because I’m not trusting Him when I get upset. I should be turning to God when something bad happens instead of getting upset.

I tend to catastrophize everything, and I’ve done it my whole life. Instead of leaving the problem in God’s hands and trusting that He’ll take care of it, I automatically jump to catastrophic-worry mode. It always happens, as hard as I try to do it differently.

There are periods when I’m able to remain at peace, and rely on Scripture when I get upset, for instance, Isaiah 26,

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

And I like to personalize it, because then I feel like I’m actually praying it directly to God about me,

Thank you, Father, that You will keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, NKJV, Personalized.

You know, when I’ve ruminated on a verse of Scripture, repeating it to myself over and over, it has the desired effect. If the verse is Isaiah 26:3, I end up regaining the peace that I lost when I got upset in the first place, which is wonderful, because I hate losing my peace, and I can’t imagine it’s terribly pleasing to God either.

On top of everything else, I’m going to have to take my computer in to have it worked on. About six months ago I noticed a tiny screw had come out of the bottom of the computer, and I couldn’t put it back in no matter what I tried. So I took it to my computer guy, and he told me, of all things, that my battery is swelling.

My battery is swelling?? That really doesn’t sound good. In fact it sounds just plain weird. Kind of like my computer has been taken over by aliens (if I believed in that sort of thing).

The problem with taking my computer in is that I’d be without it for however long it takes them to replace the battery, and during that time I’d have to use my iPad for everything, including blogging here. And I REALLY don’t like writing on my iPad, and I mean I seriously dislike it. It’s a total pain. It takes longer, plus you have to change keyboards everytime you want to use a number, or you have to capitalize a word, or add punctuation. It’s just a royal pain. So you have to change keyboards, and then you have to change back. BLECK on the whole process! Plus my iPad isn’t working all that well either. I broke it a couple of months back, because even though I’m no longer hitting myself, I’m still having a big problem managing my rage and anger. I’m not hitting myself, but I’m taking it out on other things ~ like my iPad.

Poor thing! What did it ever do to me?! It didn’t do what I wanted it to. But that’s dumb. It’s an inanimate object, and when it does something, it’s only responding to something I tell it to. It’s a computer, and computers are only as smart as the people who use them.

Of course, I don’t know what that says about me…

Hmm…

Actually, I don’t think it says anything about my intelligence. What it does say is that, as I’ve already determined, I need to learn how to control my anger, which is something I’ve known for a very long time. I just haven’t made a concerted effort over the long term to do anything about it. I also think I’ll make it the subject of another post here.

Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. ~ Ephesians 4:26-27, CSB.

An Attitude of Gratitude

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I used to be an incredibly negative person. I complained all the time about how awful my life was, and how bad I had it, and none of it was my fault, because my childhood was terrible (and it was). Everything was my parents’ fault, and if only they’d been better parents, then my life now would be better.

Now, while part of that was true, I was ignoring all the wonderful parts of my life ~ all the amazing gifts that God had blessed me with just by being alive. I was suffering from a deep depression that was causing me to feel a great deal of emotional agony ~ because of my childhood, it’s true ~ and that was blinding me to the present-day beauty that was all around me in my adult life.

But here’s a truism: if you’ve had a difficult childhood, what happened to you is NOT your fault. But what you do with what happened to you once you grow up and become an adult? THAT is your responsibility. You can no longer blame it on your parents or your bad childhood. You’re an adult now. It’s time to grow up and start acting like an adult. I know it’s hard, but it’s something we all have to do, regardless of what happened to us when we were little.

Okay, ‘nuf said…

What woke me up to the present-day beauty and wonder that were (and are) in my life now, was when I realized that God had been present throughout my life from the very beginning, saving my life and protecting me from the worst of the abuse to which my parents had subjected me. Once I realized that, I could let go of the anger and rage against God that I’d been holding onto for many years. I couldn’t understand why He would allow me to be placed in a family where I would be abused within an inch of my life on a daily basis, where my mother would try to kill me from the time I was born on (during my infancy she tried to drown me and suffocate me with a pillow several times), where I would have to become multiple in order to survive, not just emotionally, but also physically.

But then I realized that the multiplicity was one of the gifts God had given me to protect me from the worst of the abuse, and to help me stay alive. For example, when my mother would try to kill me, God created an alter in me named Deadsally, who would come out and make me stop squirming so my mother would think she’d succeeded and stop trying.

Praise God! Isn’t He amazing? Isn’t He wonderful? I’m alive today because of what He did for me back then, and that was before I got saved. I’m absolutely gobsmacked at God’s goodness and kindness in my life! I guess He had to keep me alive so I could make a decision for Him! And I’m SOOO GLAD He did!!

So once I became aware of His presence in my life, my negative attitude changed to a positive one, and it happened overnight. One day I was steaming mad at God and the next day (well, almost… actually it took a couple of weeks before I was able to release all the rage. But it felt like night and day.) my perspective was completely different.

I had been raging at God, asking Him WHY? WHY had He allowed the abuse?? But once I was able to let go of the rage, I realized that all I really wanted to know was where He was while I was being abused.

Where was He??

Did He care?

Did He know about it??

These were the questions that haunted me, that shouted and shrieked in my mind. And once I stopped demanding to know why, God answered these questions. I was in church one Sunday, and during worship He showed me that He had been there the whole time. That was where He showed me that He had been there throughout my life. And when I saw that I started to weep with joy and gladness and love for Him. That was when my perspective changed.

So on this Easter Sunday, I am so grateful to God. I’m grateful first and foremost for the Cross, for without that, all the other stuff would mean nothing. But I’m also grateful for everything else He’s done for me, because if He hadn’t kept me alive throughout my childhood, I wouldn’t have been around to accept Christ as my wonderful Savior.

Thank you Jesus, and thank you my beautiful Father, Ancient of Days, Jehovah Jireh, I love You so!! I love You my lovely Lord Jesus, and I love You my precious Holy Spirit!!

E’en so come quickly Lord Jesus…

His Lovely Face

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This is Easter week. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, this coming Sunday will be Resurrection Sunday, and in between the two Sundays is Crucifixion Friday, or what the world calls Good Friday.

Palm Sunday, Crucifixion Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. Probably the three most important days of the whole year on the Christian calendar.

Some people think Christmas is the most important time of year for Christians, but without Easter, Christmas is meaningless.

I’m grateful for all these holidays, because Christ’s whole purpose in coming to earth in the first place was to go to the cross and die for my sins. And because He did it without sinning Himself, He was able to defeat, even cheat, death, so God resurrected Him after He’d been dead for three days.

I think God regards suffering, and the suffering of Christ in particular, as beautiful. The reason for this is that suffering builds character,

Christ, in the days when he was a man on earth, appealed to the one who could save him from death in desperate prayer and the agony of tears. His prayers were heard; he was freed from his shrinking from death but, Son though he was, he had to prove the meaning of obedience through all that he suffered. Then, when he had been proved the perfect Son, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who should obey him, being now recognised by God himself as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 5:7-8, J.B. Phillips New Testament.

I’ve long believed that God is much more interested in the development of our character than He is in our happiness, and suffering is one big way He works to accomplish that. And the very best example of this is Christ Himself, as is demonstrated in Hebrews 5:7-8, quoted above.

All of which is to say that Christ’s suffering on the Cross was perfect, and it’s the responsibility of every Christian ~ and certainly my chiefest desire ~ to be like Him in every way. In addition, His perfect suffering on the Cross is part of what enabled God to raise Him from the dead on Sunday morning (the other part was the sinless life He had lived from the beginning, as I stated above).

And now that I’ve entrusted my life Him, I have the supreme hope of seeing Jesus face to face when I go to Heaven.

I can’t think of anything more amazing than that!!

11 It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. 12 In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, Today’s Living Bible.

And that, as they say, is that!

The Monster’s Wife

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I saw a movie last week, called Girl In the Basement, about a girl, named Sara, whose father, Don, locked her in a secret basement in their house when she turned 18. She hated her father because he was a control freak, and because he’d been molesting her for years, since she was eleven, so she was planning on running away after her eighteenth birthday. He kept her there, hidden from the world, for 24 years. He made her his sex slave, and she gave birth to seven of his children during the time she was held captive in his cellar.

The first two children, Marie and Michael, lived with Sara in the basement. Next came a daughter named Lisa, and then twin boys, Alex, and one who died three days after they were born, followed by two daughters. Lisa, the remaining twin and both of the last two daughters were taken upstairs by the father to be raised by Sara’s mother, Irene, as purported foster children. Don had taken steps to have he and his wife certified as foster parents, and when Sara’s four children “appeared” on the front porch, with notes saying Sara couldn’t take care of them, Don and Irene were able to take them in easily and raise them. In reality Don had forced Sara to write a note for each child, saying that she couldn’t keep him or her where she was in Florida.

That had been Don’s lie all along, that Sara had run away to join a religious cult in Florida, and he had forced her to write various notes and letters periodically to perpetuate the deception.

As I watched this movie, I became more and more enraged at Don. Right from the start after he’d locked her in the basement, he made her call him Don instead of Dad, and the sexual abuse started immediately after she was imprisoned there. Also, if she did something he didn’t like, he would beat her in addition to raping her, all of which belied the way he treated Irene and Sara’s sister, Amy.

In reality, the story of Girl In the Basement was based on a real-life family drama that played out in Austria, and began in August of 1984, when Josef Fritzl lured his daughter, Elisabeth down to the basement of their house by telling her that he needed her help carrying a door downstairs. Once down there he locked her in the basement, and kept her there until she managed to escape in April of 2008 through a series of circumstances, after her oldest daughter, Kersten, became seriously ill, and Elisabeth convinced Josef to take her to the hospital.

Once Elisabeth and her children were freed from their captivity, they had a lifetime of rape, abuse, and consequent PTSD to overcome. And for Elisabeth, one of the most difficult things for her to deal with was the idea that her mother, Rosemarie, did little to nothing to try and find her once she’d gone missing back in 1984. She blindly believed whatever ridiculous tale Josef told her about where Elisabeth was, even though the police said that Josef’s stories were not plausible. It seemed like Rosemarie was willing to abandon Elisabeth to Josef’s devices. But why? Maybe it was so she, Rosemarie, wouldn’t have to subject herself to his abuse, though in Girl In the Basement, the father kept his life and abuse of his daughter separate from his life with his wife and family upstairs.

The reason this story means so much to me is because I identify heavily with Sara/Elisabeth. I felt compelled to watch the movie over and over again, and I couldn’t stop. I kept yelling at the TV, shouting at Don about what a jerk and terrible person he was. But more than anything, I was angry for Sara about her mother, how she could have been much more proactive in searching for her. Why did she just accept on blind faith everything Don had told her about where Sara had gone? A lot of what he’d said wasn’t even plausible, yet she just took it at face value without questioning him.

It reminded me so much of the way my mother did nothing to help me throughout my childhood. She’d just left me to Harry’s evil devices. And there were plenty of signs that bad things were happening. For instance, I found a doctor’s report from when I was about four or five years old that said I had a rash around my mouth ~ and my mother did nothing about it. She didn’t question why it was there or what could be causing it.

I wrote a post back in January of 2020, called The Monster Is Dead. It was about Harry dying, and I wrote it the day after my cousin called me to tell me he’d died. And just so you know, my mother was the Monster’s wife.

I can tell you what was causing it. Harry was forcing me to have oral sex with him! That’s what was causing it!!

And after I’d begun to have memories of being abused, I told my mother that I was having sexual abuse memories. Her response was, “Well, I thought he was abusing you physically. If I’d known it was sexual abuse the divorce would have happened a lot sooner.”

When she said that anger just boiled up inside me. Children are killed all the time from being physically abused!! All I could think of was that she was making excuses for allowing Harry to do whatever he wanted to do to me!! It also told me that she knew something was going on and did nothing to stop it. I was just steaming I was so angry!! All those years!! All those years when she did nothing to protect me!! She just let it happen!! I asked her how she knew Harry was abusing me physically, and she said she saw bruises on me. So she KNEW!! She KNEW!! How could she not have tried to stop him!!??

And later when I told her that she’d said that to me, her response was, “I didn’t say that. I never said that!” Her denial was like a slap in the face, because she did say it. She did!!

After all is said and done, I know that I have to forgive her. Because I can’t go back and change the way things went. I can’t change anything about it. Even God can’t change what’s already happened. It’s done and over with.

I’ve already forgiven my mother for so many things, but right now, I’m feeling kind of… kind of stubborn. It just hurts too much. When I look at what she could have done but didn’t, I just want to scream. SCREAM!! So I don’t want to forgive her.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever considered the ramifications of what she could have done but didn’t. It was obvious to me that she was more interested in protecting herself than she was in helping me, which was kind of the story of my life. People have always been more interested in protecting themselves than they were in protecting me. I’ve never mattered that much to anyone.

I’m so grateful to know that I matter that much to God! Jesus died on the Cross to save my soul, and God expended a huge amount of energy keeping me alive and protecting me from the worst of the abuse from the time I was born onward, and that includes all the times I tried to end my own life.

So even though I don’t feel like forgiving my mother, I’m going to do it anyway, because God forgave me, and He commands me to forgive others. So because He forgave me, I can do no less.

I forgive you, Mom! I forgive you!

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~ James 2:13, ESV.

I love that verse, and I especially love it in the New Living Translation,

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. ~ James 2:13, NLT.

This is a big reason why I know I have to forgive my mother, aside from all the places in Scripture that tell me that if I don’t forgive her, then God won’t forgive me.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15, NLT.

I don’t ever want to be in the position where God can’t forgive me because I’ve been holding unforgiveness against someone! I’ve done that before, and it didn’t do anything to the other person. All that happened was it made me physically ill. So don’t do it, people!! It’s a really BAD IDEA!!

A Mystery Wrapped In a Conundrum Enclosed In an Enigma

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I used to have Multiple Personality Disorder, aka Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was integrated in March of 2003, around my birthday. Talk about a birthday present!

The reason I mention this is because a few days ago, I got a receipt in my email for $9.99 for one month of an Apple Music Subscription, and it’s supposed to renew on April 3rd, and every month thereafter. The problem is, I didn’t order an Apple Music Subscription, even though it was done on March 2nd from my computer using my credit card. I have no memory of doing it whatever. And apparently, there was a two month free trial period for the previous two months, because I was able to check the purchase history. Once again, however, I have no memory of doing any of this.

It’s kind of spooky-scary! I don’t like thinking there could be someone inside besides me after all these years of being integrated. It leaves me feeling terribly NOT in control, and my wallet being controlled by someone else, which is a very uncomfortable feeling.

I want to call Apple’s customer service phone number, AppleCare, but if I do, what do I tell them?

“Someone purchased a monthly Apple Music Subscription for $9.99 from my computer, using my credit card, and without my permission. No, I don’t know their name, and my computer never left my sight, nor did it leave my house.”

That makes no sense and is almost completely illogical. And I don’t think I can tell them I’m multiple. I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t understand that, or they’d think I was wacko in the most pejorative way. But I don’t want the music subscription. $9.99 every month is way too much money, and I won’t use it enough to warrant spending that much each month.

Aside from the practical aspects of this, why did it happen in the first place? If I created a new alter after being integrated for eighteen years why would I have done it? What perceived need could this new alter be meeting? And who is the new alter?

So it appears I have a mystery wrapped in a conundrum enclosed in an enigma, and it’s all contained within my mind. I know God knows the answer. He knows what’s going on, and why I did it. I just have to ask Him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5, NKJV.

To be sure I’ll also be talking to McT about this during my appointment tomorrow, if for no other reason because I need help figuring out how to cancel the subscription without completely embarrassing myself, and without having to lie. But aside from that I also need to understand why it happened so it doesn’t happen again.

I thank You for Your goodness and love, my Father, and I ask for Your help in figuring out this problem. I need Your wisdom and understanding, and I ask for Your mercy and grace, and Your forgiveness if I’ve sinned in any part of this. I want You to be glorified in every aspect of my life, and that includes every aspect of my healing. So I thank you for showing me the whys and wherefores of this situation, and for helping me to keep You first in all things. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

A Furry Loneliness

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I miss Lily. I can’t even describe how much I miss her. My apartment is as silent as a tomb, even with the TV on. I’ve never felt lonely before. I’ve never minded being alone before. But now that Lily is gone, all of a sudden I’m experiencing loneliness. For the first time in my entire life I know what it is to feel lonely, and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. It feels like there’s a cat-shaped hole inside me that wasn’t there before.

I’ve heard it said that there’s a God-shaped hole inside every person, and the only way to fill it is to get saved. God filled that hole in me back in February of 1972 because that’s when I got saved. So while the God-sized hole has been filled and will remain so, the cat-shaped hole is suddenly empty, achingly so.

I never thought there was such a hole in my heart. I only knew about the God-shaped hole, and that’s the only one I ever worried about, because it’s the only one of any real importance. Knowing about ~ and filling ~ this cat-hole I’ve discovered won’t really do anything except make me feel better. A filled cat-hole won’t get me into Heaven, and it won’t bring me a relationship with God. Only Jesus Christ in my life will do that, and that’s the way I want it. Jesus is everything to me. Lily was a gift from God in the first place, so maybe that cat-shaped hole was placed in me by God, I don’t know. Maybe a cat in my life will be the way that God alleviates loneliness in me, in addition to relationship with Him.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year I’ve spent my time during quarantine playing with Lily before she got sick, watching TV, playing June’s Journey (my computer game), and working on a counted cross stitch sampler.

That cross stitch sampler is a whole story all by itself. Especially since Lily died it’s provided a way of distracting me from the pain and grief of losing her so that I’m able to focus on something else. I love working on it. I enjoy planning what colors I’m going to stitch where. And aside from all other considerations I just love color. I love being surrounded by color. Color feeds my soul. I love that God created humans with the ability to see in color, and then He gave us such a beautiful and colorful world to look at. That’s one of the things that tells me He’s a good God. Way back in March of 2020 I wrote a post on beauty that’s one of my favorite posts ever, called When Faith Becomes Sight. It’s got lots of pictures in it, and I had a great time writing it.

I’ve been meandering around as I’m writing this. I started writing it well over a month ago, and then I just stopped writing altogether. Then someone new started following me earlier this afternoon, so I decided I should start writing again so my new follower ~ as well as everyone else ~ would have something to read. I am supposed to be a blogger afterall, so I should blog, seems to me.

And here’s a picture of my most recent WIP (work-in-progress) of my sampler:

I still have a whole lot of work to do. I’m working on the bottom right corner of the sampler, but I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I hope you like what you see here!

My Face Has Turned to Cement.

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I was actually able to cry about Lily this afternoon, something I haven’t been able to do since she died, and I’m wondering if my inability to cry is why I’m still so depressed about it.

When I’m sad or depressed my face feels like it’s turning into cement. My eyes feel like they’re buried in my forehead, which is probably why it’s hard for me to blink and breathe, and my face feels like it’s fading into a cave and disappearing ~ all because I can’t seem to let myself feel anything about her being gone.

What triggered the tears this afternoon was an email I was writing where I was telling someone how amazing she was, accompanied by a photograph, and I included a link to my last post where I talked about her life and death (No One to Rule My Roost, Or the Holy Spirit In a Cat). After I sent the email I started thinking about how much I missed her, and then, to my surprise, I found myself crying.

Crying has always been hard for me. When I was a child tears were so unacceptable to those around me that I had to create a separate alter whose sole job was to cry whenever any of the rest of us were hurt, afraid, or angry. Unaccountably, her name was Crybaby, and she only came out when it was safe to cry, e.g. when we were alone.

Crying when Harry abused us only made the abuse worse, so tears were to be avoided at all costs around him. It was just too dangerous, and over the years stuffing negative emotions like tears became such a strong habit that now, when I want or need to cry, I can’t. The only negative emotion I’m able to express is anger, and that only at myself, unless it’s vented at the TV ~ which is probably circuitously directed at Harry.

But then I’m reminded that Jesus too felt anger and sadness. The shortest verse in the Bible is found in John, Chapter 11, which is the story where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead:

Jesus wept. ~ John 11:35, NKJV.

Three verses before that, in John 11:33 and also in John 11:38, it says that Jesus goes to Lazarus’s tomb, and when He sees Mary weeping there, He groans in the spirit,

Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. ~ John 11:32-33, NKJV.

And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. ~ John 11:37-38, NKJV.

In the Greek, the word, to groan, in both 11:33 and 11:38, is translated, “to snort with anger”. To me this means, for one thing, that it’s okay to get angry, because Jesus was angry at what had happened to Lazarus, and at the pain Mary and Martha experienced because of it. It also means to me that Jesus was angry at what happened to me, at least that’s what I got out of it.

It also says in Ephesians,

Be angry, and do not sin”; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. ~ Ephesians 4:26-27, NKJV.

And in Psalms,

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. ~ Psalm 4:4, NLT.

All of this is to say that anger in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s what you do with it that’s so bad. If you use it to become bitter because you’ve held it in for years and years, you can make yourself physically ill. People with ulcers, cancer, high blood pressure, and/or heart disease can attribute at least some of their problems to the bitterness of long-stuffed anger and rage. If you use it to exact revenge, that’s another no-no. Revenge is God’s job,

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. ~ Romans 12:19, [Deuteronomy 32:35], NLT.

So the upshot of all this is that I need to let myself freely cry when I think about Lily, and when I think about missing her. I need to allow myself to feel angry at Harry directly, instead of yelling at the TV. If I could permit myself to cry openly when I’m feeling sad about losing Lily, I might be able to move through the grieving process more quickly and stop feeling so depressed all the time.

And if I allowed myself to feel the anger that I justifiably feel at Harry for the horrific things he did to me, then I might be able to move on from all of that garbage, and walk in new freedom from my past. I might get angry at myself so often, and I would find it much easier to forgive myself for all the dumb things I do. Because I can do some really dumb things, like we all do. But if I could forgive myself instead of hating myself, my life would be SOOO much easier.

Because we all make mistakes, and doing so doesn’t make us bad people, or any less lovable. It just makes us human. Christ died for me, mistakes and all. He died for me, not inspite of my flaws, but rather because of them. He loves me, not inspite of my imperfections and faults, but rather because of them ~ because they’re part of what make me unique, in addition to the strengths He created me with.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ~ and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ~ not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV.

I love that we are God’s handiwork (the New Living Translation says “masterpiece”), which is poiēma in the Greek, and is what we get the English word “poem” from. I also love knowing that it’s solely God’s gift, that nothing I do can change that gift. That is quite freeing, because I don’t have to worry that I might mess up or make God mad at me, and cause Him to withdraw the gift from me. I feel incredibly grateful for that.

Jesus has done everything for me! I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Him! So regardless of any sadness I’m feeling now, I’m confident that God is still with me, and will never leave me nor forsake me, and in the fullness of time I’ll be able to experience the full joy of the Lord again.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. ~ Psalm 30:11-12, NASB.

Thank you Jesus!!

No One to Rule My Roost, Or the Holy Spirit In a Cat

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There’s a saying, the human pays the rent, but the cat rules the roost, or in my case, I pay the rent, but Lily rules the roost.

Lily died on Saturday (today is Wednesday, five days later). My apartment feels empty and silent, even with the TV on, and I feel sad because she’s not wandering around talking and purring, weaving around between my legs, and bringing me paper wads to throw for her. And besides all that, now there’s no one to rule my roost. Below right is a closeup of Lily, taken when she was about two years old. She has small black spots on her nose, which the vet said were called freckles, and as she got older they became more pronounced, plus they increased in number. Below left is Lily as a kitten, right after I got her.

I know Jesus is the Lord of my life. I know He’s as close to me as my next breath, but He gave Lily to me as a gift, and now that she’s gone I miss her terribly. There’s a void in my apartment and my life, and I don’t know how to fill it ~ or even if I should.

If I allow myself to pause long enough to feel the void of Lily’s absence, and the resulting silence in my life, the pain becomes acute. I felt so much pain yesterday and today that I didn’t think I could stand it. I even considered running away. As usual, however, when I think of running, I remember that trying to escape is a useless endeavor, because the pain will go with me wherever I go.

Lily was twelve years old when she died. I got her in September of 2008 when she was about four months old. She was such a wonderful little fur-person! One of the most amazing things about her was that she fetched, something she was doing when I got her.

She’d bring me wads of paper, and drop them at my feet, expecting me to throw them. And when I did, she would chase them, bat them around, then bring them back, expecting me to throw them again ~ and the process would repeat itself again and again and again, until she tired of it.

Sometimes she would drop the paper wad too far away for me to reach it, so I’d tell her, “Lily, it’s too far away. I can’t reach it. You have to bring it closer.” And if I said all three sentences she would bring the wad of paper close enough so I could reach it and throw it for her again. I tried saying only one of the phrases, or two of them, but that didn’t work. It was only if I said all three of them in that order that she’d bring it back to me, and we’d go through the whole thing all over again.

She was very selective about which paper wad to use. I used to throw a wad on the floor for her to chase, but she’d ignore that one, and go get another that was, to her mind, much better suited for her purposes. I never did figure out what characteristics she was looking for, but she certainly seemed to have something in mind.

Then there were times when she’d put the wad of paper in my shoe, and I wouldn’t find it till later when I went to put on my shoes so I could go out. I’d try to put my foot in the shoe, and ~ oops! I couldn’t put it on. There was something in it. And I’d reach in and find one of Lily’s paper wads.

Lily could make me laugh better than almost anyone. One of her favorite things used to be redecorating my hair. She’d climb onto my shoulders and start chewing on my hair, usually after I’d washed it and it was still wet. I would have combed it out and arranged it the way I wanted it, and that was when Lily would get up there and start rearranging it, so it would look completely different when she was done. Sometimes she even changed the side on which it was parted, and I’d have to go back and re-rearrange everything once she’d finished her work.

On the right, she’s on my shoulders redecorating my hair, one of her favorite things to do. On the left is Lily and me on my couch in January of 2018. She’s lying on me so my face is covered and all you can see is my hair. Usually, she didn’t like having her picture taken, but this time she wanted to be the center of attention.

Silly funny kitty! I loved her so! I miss her so! My apartment is so empty without her!

I’m grateful for many things with regard to Lily, and all the cats God blessed me with over the years. Rosie and Lily were the last two, and they probably had the most significant influence. God used Rosie to save me from killing myself, and also to rescue me out of the suicidal mindset I’d been in most of my life.

It took about five years, but having her to care for made it so I wasn’t always focused inward and constantly thinking about my pain ~ because I was in pain. I was in agony because God hadn’t started healing me from my childhood yet. That process didn’t really begin until I got Rosie. Once I had her I had someone other than myself to focus my attention and energy on, who actually seemed to love me, even if she was just a fur-person, and not human. I realize now that God was loving me through her, because I wasn’t yet able to accept God’s love directly.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that the fur-people of this world are better at loyalty and loving than most humans. They’re somehow closer to God because they’re unadulterated by sin.

Both Rosie and Lily were a blessing many times over. They could make me laugh at the silliest things, and in addition to rescuing me from suicide, God also used them to teach me about gratitude.

Gratitude is a vital ingredient for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and it took furry creatures who can’t speak with words to educate me on this fact. I’m so grateful that I finally know about it, however, because it’s knowledge that I use everyday, even when I don’t feel like it.

The LORD strengthens and protects me; I trust in Him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to Him in gratitude. ~ Psalm 28:7, NET.

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6, NLT.

I’ve learned that I can be grateful for what God has given me even when I’m feeling sad, like right now, because even though I miss Lily terribly, and it’s been many years since I felt this much pain, the fact is, she brought a great deal of joy into my life. I will always have those memories to fall back on. She will always be able to make me laugh because I can look back and remember the goofy things she did. I’m just hoping that the pain, especially the really intense anguish I’ve been feeling over the last few days, will decrease so I can function.

I thank you, Lord, for all the marvelous gifts You’ve given me! I’m so grateful for everything You’ve done in my life!

“…The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. ~ Job 1:21b, NKJV.

I know this post is quite long, but I had a lot to say, given Lily’s demise and all. So please forgive me for giving you so much to read. I hope you enjoy it!

What’s In a Kiss, But How Would I Know?

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I can always tell when I’m dealing with a difficult subject, because when I start writing about it, all of sudden I can come up with every excuse in the book to not write for days, weeks, or even months at a time.

It turns out kissing is just such a subject.

There are a lot of things about romantic relationships that I don’t get, and one of the big ones is kissing. I just don’t get kissing. I don’t understand it at all. It makes no sense to me. In fact, it grosses me out, especially the kind where someone sticks his tongue down your throat.

I know God thinks kissing is okay, because it’s mentioned a number of times in the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments:

O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine. ~ Song of Solomon 1:2, RSV.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. ~ Romans 16:16, ESV.

All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:20, KJV.

The Apostle Paul says the same thing in 2 Corinthians 13:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:26, at the end of both books. One thing I’m trying to understand is, what’s the difference between an ordinary kiss and a holy kiss.

McT says there is a difference, along the lines of the difference between agape love, or God’s kind of love, and eros, or physical, sexual love. The exact Greek word, eros, doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the concept does, in both Old and New Testaments, and most specifically in The Song of Solomon.

I’ll be taking my Scripture references from Chapter 4 of The Song of Solomon, the New Living Translation. Chapter 4 was written after the two lovers had wed. He calls her his bride and treasure.

You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. ~ Song of Solomon, 4:9-10, NLT.

Everything the two lovers say to each other are compliments concerning their physical appearance, how beautiful each of them is to the other, which, if I can get past the physicality of it, is actually quite enchanting.

Young Man: You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. ~ Song of Solomon 4:1, NLT.

That sounds like a strange analogy to me. I would have compared her hair falling in waves to, I don’t know, a waterfall cascading, but having never seen the slopes of Gilead, I really have no basis for comparison.

Silly me! I think I’ll keep my opinions to myself, aside from what I’ve said here. It’s the poetry in the verses that matters, and who am I to question what God motivated Solomon to write. I mean Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived except for Jesus.

I’m done with my little parenthetical aside, so back to what I’m supposed to be doing… Hehehe!!

The young man doesn’t miss a chance to woo his bride. He has something nice, even beautiful, to say about every attribute of her body. He doesn’t miss any part.

Would that every husband was as wonderful to his wife as Solomon was to her!

Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David, jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes. Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies. ~ Song of Solomon 4:4-5, NLT.

Further along in the chapter Solomon gets even more graphic,

Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon … Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices ~ henna with nard. ~ Song of Solomon 4:11,13, NLT.

A paradise of pomegranates?? What does that mean?

Given where it’s located according to Solomon’s narrative, maybe I shouldn’t ask. I’ve never even tried a pomegranate. All those seeds, you know, and for all I know, it’s the seeds he’s talking about. Pomegranates do have a lot of them, and that is where the guy plants his seed to create new life in the woman.

Then, last but certainly not least, Solomon lays claim to his bride as his own, a bid for faithfulness from her that every spouse has the right to expect from their significant other:

You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain. ~ Song of Solomon 4:12, NLT.

God also expects and desires faithfulness in marriage, which He makes clear in Malachi, Chapter 2.

Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” ~ Malachi 2:15-16, NLT.

Obviously, there are times when it’s the wife who strays, so the verses could be altered to say, “So guard your heart; remain loyal to the husband of your youth…” and etc.

It seems to me that if the relationship between a husband and wife were as close and romantic as the one described between Solomon and his wife in Song of Solomon Chapter 4, then theoretically at least, faithfulness wouldn’t be a problem. Trust between the two spouses wouldn’t be a problem. However, I know that both spouses are humans, each with a mind, free will, and emotions of their own.

That’s all I can think of for now, and, given that I’ve used words and ideas that I usually can’t even think about, much less write down or talk about, I think I’ve made some progress.

Goodie for me!! Praise God!!