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!

Solomon and Gracie

Standard

I lost my Lily in December of 2020, and I’ve missed having a cat around since then. It’s been a very long time, and I’ve been pretty lonely, even with God to talk to. There’s nothing like a purring cat to make you feel content and peaceful, and since Lily’s death, the closest thing I’ve had to petting a cat or hearing one purr is watching cat videos on Facebook. A paltry substitute, I must say.

Well, all that is about to change, because I’ve applied to adopt a cat, and my application has been accepted, and I’ve found two kittens to adopt. They’re a brother and sister bonded pair, and they’re both Siamese with blue eyes. They’re five weeks old as of last Friday. I can’t bring them home yet, though. They have to weigh at least five pounds before that can happen, plus they have to be spayed and/or neutered, dewormed, and microchipped.

But the cool thing is, I got to meet them today, and it turns out that the boy is a flame-point Siamese! That might not mean much to anyone else, but my last cat, Lily, was a flame-point Siamese, and flame-points are gorgeous cats. They start out white as kittens, and then as they grow, they turn orange. Their ears are orange, and their tails are white white orange stripes. And they have the characteristic blue eyes of the Siamese.

I’ve had a thing for blue-eyed cats most of my life. When I was a child we had an orange tabby cat named Dennis the Menace, and he had bright blue eyes. And because of the constant chaos and abuse in my family, Dennis was my only friend, and constant companion. The only time I felt safe was when I was alone, or when I was with Dennis. He didn’t judge me, and he never questioned anything I said, or called me a liar, or told me I was stupid. He just listened and let me cuddle with him, and loved me. I really think God used Dennis to help keep me sane and alive. He was like an angel with fur on.

I’ve thought a lot about Dennis the Menace during the process of looking for my new kittens, probably more in the last couple of weeks than I have in many years. And I’m realizing just how wonderful he was to me back then. I wish I could meet him again so I could thank him, but maybe thanking God is enough.

The kindness and goodness of God is beyond all measure! That He would make one of the new kittens a flame-point just amazes me. I didn’t tell anyone that I wanted a flame-point. All I said was I wanted a Siamese with blue eyes. Thank you, God!! I love You so!!

So now I have to name them. Up until now the woman who’s fostering them has been calling the girl Dixie, and the boy Finn, but when I was playing with them today, she told me I could change their names if I wanted to, because they’re so young that they haven’t had time to learn those names yet. And they’re SOOO CUTE!! I just had to say that. They’re just SOOO darn CUTE!!

I’ve been thinking I might name the boy Abraham, and call him Abe for short. Or David ~ Dave for short. Or Isaac, or Isaiah, or Elijah ~ Eli for short. I really like Bible names. Or I could call him Solomon. That doesn’t really need a nickname, and I really like the way that name sounds.

And then I could call the girl Ruth, or Naomi, or Abby. I don’t want to name her Abigail because that’s my middle name. Or maybe I could name her Grace or Faith.

Okay. I have to start narrowing it down. I’m really leaning toward Solomon for the boy, and Gracie for the girl. And, as silly as it sounds, I’ve prayed about it, and Solomon and Grace feel right. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, so maybe my Solomon will be a very wise cat. And Grace is God’s unmerited favor, and God has shone me sooo much undeserved kindness and favor, just in bringing me these wonderful kitties that naming her Grace, or Gracie, will remind me of how much God loves me every time I say her name.

I like the sound of that!

Now I get to show you all what they look like! On the right is Solomon, and on the left is Gracie.

Are they not the cutest, most adorable floofballs you’ve ever seen? I’m in LOVE!! When I was playing with them this afternoon, they were climbing all over me, and I felt the craving of my heart being satisfied. After all these months of no cat at all, to have God give me two, and they’re both Siamese with blue eyes!!

The goodness of God just overwhelms me, and my gratitude knows no bounds!!

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19, NLT.

How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!…For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me. ~ Luke 1:47,49, NLT.

Folderol and Tiddlywinks

Standard

The above title is because I can’t think of anything to write about, nor can I think of a decent title. So I decided to come up with the most ludicrous and meaningless title I could think of, and what you see above is that title. I think it fills the bill pretty well. The two words are completely unrelated to each other; nor is either of them related to anything else in my life.

So now to the business of writing, and I think I’ve come up with some ideas. It seems that an absurd title stimulated my thinking, and this post is turning out to be a train-of-thought post where you get to watch my brain work. I could edit it down so it looks all neat and tidy, but this is much more fun!

Last Sunday in church my pastor was preaching from Romans 4, and he had us turn to a verse in Psalms 27,

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” ~ Psalm 27:4, NIV.

As I read that verse, it occurred to me that my deepest heart’s desire is summed up in that one verse. My craving for beauty, and being able see Jesus face to face when I get to Heaven, are all encapsulated in Psalm 27:4.

All of a sudden everything became crystal clear for me as I read Psalm 27:4. I’ve heard of people having one verse that’s their life verse, and I’ve always wondered about that, because I’ve never had one. But now I think I do, and it’s Psalm 27:4. It’s kind a cool realization to have, and I’m pretty excited about it. I feel like it gives a focus to my life that I didn’t have before.

Change of subject. I guess this is kind of a potpourri post, cuz my thoughts are meandering all over the place, and every zig in my zag feels important enough to write about, even though the topics are diverse and scattered all over the place.

My ophthalmologist warned me about a year ago that I would need cataract surgery at some point in the future. The idea of someone, ANYone messing with my eyes fills me with terror, all commands in Scripture to fear not notwithstanding. I know what the Bible says.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV.

And then there’s this,

Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. ~ Isaiah 41:10, Hebrew Names Version.

I like these verses because they remind me that God will always be with me, and help me. Another beautiful reminder is from Psalm 23.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4, Hebrew Names Version.

I am an artist, and color is of inestimable importance to me. It’s not as valuable as my salvation is, to be sure, but color is one of the best ways I use to worship God, because His creation is so wonderfully and beautifully colorful. For instance, take a look at this:

This is a Mandarin Fish. Isn’t it gorgeous? And isn’t God amazing for creating such a beautiful creature? And then there’s this:

This is an Emperor Angelfish. Once again, look at how beautiful it is!

And check this out:

This is a Royal Gramma Basslet (I think I got the name right). Just feast your eyes on those vibrant colors! And how ’bout that eyespot on the dorsal fin. That’s a protective feature. God is SOOO SMART!!

The oceans are absolutely littered with fish that are equally as beautiful as these three are. And those are just the marine examples! On land the immense variety of flowers and birds are so incredibly beautiful that it leaves me speechless every time I have a chance to look at them!

Needless to say, I don’t want to lose my vision, especially my color vision, for any reason. I’m trying hard to trust God, and trust that, regardless of what happens, God knows best, but it’s very difficult. Maybe I’m worrying needlessly. I hope I am! But the idea of anyone doing anything with my eyes just freaks me out, and the changes in my vision over the last few months have been rather drastic. I can no longer drive at night, and I’m having a very hard time reading ~ and I LOVE to read! Even doing my cross stitch has been hard, but I’m still trying to do it.

So that’s where I’m at. I’m still looking for a cat, but I don’t know if I’d be able to see a cat to choose it because my vision has gotten so bad.

HARRUMPH!! Patience and shuffle the cards, as the saying goes.

I love God, so I’ll try and trust that He has my best interests at heart.

Boy, is it hard to say that and believe it!!

But this is what Scripture says, and Scripture is where I’ll find Life:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV.

Flawed and Fallible

Standard

Yup, that’s me. I am a flawed, fallible, and sinful person. That’s why I’m so incredibly grateful for the Cross and what Christ did there for me. Christ’s death on the Cross, and His subsequent resurrection mean everything to me, because without them I would have succeeded in one of my many suicide attempts, and then I would have ended up in Hell. So there isn’t enough gratitude throughout the whole universe for me to express how grateful I am to Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit.

That said, I still mess up on an extremely regular basis.The difference is, because I have Christ in my life, I can ask Him to forgive me according to 1 John 1:9.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9, NKJV.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently became acutely aware of just how flawed and fallible I truly am, and it’s probably at least partly a result of the abuse from my childhood. If you’ll remember, I’ve said before that the pain inflicted on me when I was little is my parents’ responsibility, but I bear the burden for what happens now as a result. I’m an adult now, so I can’t blame my childhood if I decide to go out and rob a bank or burn down a house (which, by the way, are things I would never do, just so you know). This post isn’t about that. It’s about how I function in relationships.

Relationships are very difficult for me, something that’s fairly common for people who are survivors of child abuse, and especially for people who’ve experienced childhood sexual abuse. The only time I was safe when I was little was when I was alone, so I learned fairly quickly that being an introvert was the best way to keep myself safe and abuse-free. Of course being an introvert didn’t protect me from Harry and his horrors, but nothing could safeguard me from that. God made things easier, however, because He gave me the ability to become multiple, and that saved my life many times over. So even though I couldn’t keep myself free from being abused, at least I could stay alive.

Recently I got into a difficult interaction with a dear friend. She’s probably the best friend I have in the world, and I love her dearly. I will do anything for her if it’s within my power, even to the point of dying for her if need be. She’s been with me through thick and thin, and she knows everything about me.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13, NKJV.

I’ll call her Sylvia for purposes of anonymity and privacy.

Sylvia’s mother died on February 25th of last year, so this whole year has been really hard for her. Most of the time I’ve been fairly good about being available when she needs me, but the last month or so I blew it big time, because I fell into my usual little hermity way of doing things, and in the process I’m ashamed to say I forgot about calling her for a couple of weeks. (I didn’t forget about her; I thought about her all the time, but somehow calling her became separated in my mind from thinking about her, as strange as that seems.) But I just plain forgot about everyone else for a couple of weeks, and poor Sylvia got the worst of it because she was the neediest, legitimately so. It ended up being more like a month because once I realized I’d neglected her for two weeks, it took me another two weeks to get up the courage to reestablish contact. I knew she’d be mad at me ~ justifiably so ~ and I’d have to apologize, which I didn’t mind doing. I was wrong, after all!

I wrote a post back on June 18, 2019, entitled I Would Make a Great Hermit in which I related why I like being alone so much, and why it’s so easy for me to do my hermity thing, so to speak.

So I had a lot of apologizing to do, and Sylvia and I had to figure out how I could change the way I do things so the last month of me neglecting her wouldn’t happen again. We set up a time when I went to see her and we sat down and talked it all out. And we decided that I would text her every couple of days just to say hi, and maybe I would include a funny cat photo with my text (I have a LOT of funny cat pics. I find them on Facebook ALL the time in this Facebook group I’m part of, Episcopal Cats With Problems.) Below is a classic example.

So I think I’ll leave it at that. Every time I look at the above photograph I start giggling helplessly. I think there are nine cats in that box, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how they all crammed themselves in there. One of the things I’m most grateful to God for, aside from the Cross, is a sense of humor, which I know I got from Him, because I know He has one too. I’m sure He laughs every time He sees photos like this just like we do.

My Blocked Brain

Standard

It’s been about two weeks since I tried to write anything, mostly because I made a muddle of the post I was working on, and I just couldn’t finish it. So I decided I would try writing a train-of-thought post, just so I could get myself putting words to paper, so to speak, thereby, hopefully, unblocking my brain. We’ll see how it goes…

I got myself on a reading program ~ finally, though it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to maintain it over the long haul. As much as I love God’s Word, I struggle to read it consistently every day. As the Bible says, “…The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~ Matthew 26:41, and Mark 14:38, NIV. Sometimes I’ll go for months without reading it at all, even though I use it all the time. I quote it here in just about every blog post I write, and I use it when I’m praying for myself, and for other people. But I know I need to keep reading and studying regularly to keep my spiritual tank full, plus I always have fun when I’m doing my reading.

I suppose that sounds strange. How can you have fun when you’re reading the Bible? Well, I do. I don’t find the Bible at all boring. The Bible is full of fascinating stories, and beautiful poetry, and gorgeous imagery. Now, to be sure, you have to believe that God exists, and that the stories contained in the Bible are true, but that’s not a problem for me, because I do believe in God, and I love Him passionately, and I believe that the stories in the Bible are true, because God is a god of miracles, and He can’t lie. So if He says something in the Bible happened, then it really happened, because God can’t tell a lie.

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19, NLT.

God means everything to me, as does Jesus Christ, His Son, and so does the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved me gloriously by dying on the cross, and coming back from the dead, and the Holy Spirit lives in me, and guides and teaches me everyday as the guarantor of my hope of eternal life, and of God fulfilling His promises to me.

And you too trusted him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory. ~ Ephesians 1:13-14, J.B. Phillips New Testament.

When I’m reading my Bible, I get to spend time with God, and learn more about Him. Reading the Bible means I get to dive deeper into His Word, and come to a deeper understanding of who He is. God is an endless well of beauty and mystery and holiness and truth, and He wants us to search Him out so we can know and understand Him, even though we’ll never reach the bottom of that well. His mysteriousness is one of my favorite things about God, because there’s always something new to learn about Him, and the Bible is the place to look for the answers to your questions about Him.

When I say that Jesus saved me gloriously by dying on the cross for me, I mean just that. Not only did He save me because I’m a sinner ~ because I am a sinner. We’re all sinners, and if you think you aren’t, then you’re deceiving yourself. Just ask yourself about the last time you lied.

“You must not tell lies about other people.” ~ Exodus 20:16, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV, Commandment Number Nine.

Or how ‘bout the last time you coveted your neighbor’s car because yours is in the shop and his never breaks down.

“Do not want anything that belongs to someone else. Don’t want anyone’s house, wife or husband, slaves, oxen, donkeys or anything else.” ~ Exodus 20:17, Contemporary English Version (CEV), Commandment Number Ten.

Jesus also saved me from my childhood. If it wasn’t for God protecting me from the worst of my parents’ abuse, I wouldn’t be here to write this blog and tell you my story. God gave me the gift of multiplicity, which helped to keep me alive, and protect me when the abuse was too much for me to bear. I used to hate being multiple, but now I’m very grateful to God for the multiplicity, because I know how instrumental my alters were in keeping me alive. Multiplicity is a gift from God to help a child survive what is otherwise unsurvivable. Anyone who thinks multiplicity is demon possession doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Well, I think my blocked brain is blocked no longer, thank God, and I think I’m pretty much done with this post. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge, but I said what I wanted to say.

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.

In the Greek, the word masterpiece is poiēma, from which we get the English word poem, which is a thing of beauty, and that’s how I want to finish this post, because while that’s how God sees me, that’s also how I see God’s Word, because the Bible is a masterpiece.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-11, NLT.

One of the main reasons I love the Bible is because it’s a record of who God is, and what He’s like. And if the Bible says God can or can’t do something, then that’s what God can or can’t do. You can take the Bible at face value. What it says is the Truth. Jesus is the Word of God, and He’s also the embodiment of the Truth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.~ John 1:1,14, NKJV.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.~ John 14:6, NIV.

I’ve been lied to many times in my life, so truth and integrity and honesty are important to me, and if I find someone whom I can trust to tell me the truth all the time, then I will give myself fully to that person. I’ve found that trustworthiness and integrity in God and in Jesus Christ, and in His Word. He’s healed me and saved me, and given me His Word to teach me and show me that He keeps His promises. I’m very grateful for everything God has done for me. He has my undying gratitude and love. I can never thank Him enough for saving me from Hell, and for saving me from the hell of my childhood.

Thank you, Jesus, thank you God, and thank you, Holy Spirit!!

The Saga of Charlotte is Finished, or, Hindsight is Always Better.

Standard

I’m feeling sad because Charlotte is gone. Over the weekend I was able to send her back to Debbie, the woman from whom I adopted her. While it makes me very sad that I had to do it, I’m also glad because, hopefully, Debbie will be able to find a more suitable placement for her. I was not that situation, unfortunately, though I wish I could have been.

This whole situation with Charlotte has taught me a number of things. For one thing, I’ve learned that I need to be much more patient when I’m waiting for God to answer my prayers.

I had prayed for a new cat after Lily died, but sometime around June I started feeling desperate for the companionship that a cat has always provided for me. So I started looking online for a new cat, even though I sensed that I might be rushing things a bit. I prayed for God’s guidance as I always do, but I tried to ignore the guidance He was sending me, which was a hesitancy, and an intuition that I should wait.

And for the record, it’s always a bad idea to ignore that hesitancy and intuition that invariably is from the Holy Spirit, telling you to wait, as it was telling me.

But I didn’t want to wait. I was feeling a bit frantic and desperate, because I was missing someone to take care of, and pet, and cuddle, and talk to.

Yup. I talk to my cat. Every pet owner I know talks to their pets as if they were human and can respond in kind. When I’m leaving to go someplace I tell her how long I’ll be gone and that I love her, and sometimes I tell her where I’m going as well. It matters not that I don’t hear a response. What matters is that she hears me say it, whether she can understand it or not.

And even more, I was missing the comfort and peace that a purring cat has always provided me. There’s just something about a purring cat that makes me feel contented. It’s hard to feel upset when you’re sitting with a cat in your lap with its motor on, with it’s body vibrating from the purring, and the sound of the roaring in your ears. I have especially missed that aspect of having a cat.

So I pushed aside God’s leading. I told myself that maybe His leading was actually the devil trying to put doubt in my mind that I wasn’t really hearing from God. That happens to me all the time anyway, so I tried to fool myself that this was one of those times, but of course, it wasn’t.

The Bible says that God isn’t the author of confusion,

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33, NKJV.

Certainly I was confused, but it was because I was creating my own confusion. It wasn’t because of anything God was doing.

So I started looking for a new cat.

And lo and behold, the devil found one for me! If you need patience, don’t pray for it. If you do, the devil will give you many opportunities to practice it. And that’s what happened here. I found a beautiful little three-month-old, part Siamese, blue-eyed kitten who was being fostered. They told me she was feral, but because she was being fostered, she had improved and her behavior was better than it had been at the beginning.

So I ignored the part about her being feral with bad behavior. I overlooked all the negative things that they were saying about her, and I only saw how pretty she was. I refused to look deeper to see the heart of darkness (the devil) that was motivating her.

In her defense, she came to me with a littermate, who I named Margaret, but about five days after they arrived, poor Margaret died, probably from an undiagnosed heart problem. And a good part of Charlotte’s problem may have been that she was lonely because she missed Margaret. She didn’t know me at all, and the one and only thing she was familiar with abandoned her soon after they arrived. I’ve wondered if somehow she blamed me for Margaret’s abandonment and death, because it happened at my house right after they got here.

Charlotte was a very smart cat. She figured out how to open doors using the doorknob, and she also figured out that she could use the bathtub as a litter box. At some point along the way, I started noticing that she was peeing in the bathtub (when she wasn’t peeing in my bed or on my cross stitch!), and pooping in the litter box.

She never took to me. She never adapted to living with me. I could never get her to come to me. She never would let me pet her, or even touch her at all. If I ever walked toward her ~ even if I was clear across the room or at the other end of my apartment ~ she would bolt away in terror, and race upstairs to my loft.

That was always incredibly frustrating to me, and it was hard not to take it personally. Rejection is still something I’m sensitive to, and even though Charlotte is a cat, I really had to work at convincing myself that it wasn’t about me, because her rejection was so consistent.

So now I’m back where I started, without a cat. Harrumph. And I’ve decided that I’m going to wait until it’s right this time. How will I know, you ask. I’ll know because I’ll have God’s peace, the peace that passes all understanding.

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7, RSV.

I’ve experienced that peace when I was trying to make a decision before, and it’s pretty amazing. It calmed any confusion I was feeling previously., and I was able to go ahead with the decision I was trying to make, which was a major one, buying a car.

This is a pretty long post, and I hope everyone will forgive me for dragging it out as long as I have, but I really needed to say all this stuff.

Discombobulated and Disorganized. But Jesus.

Standard

During the holidays I fall into chaotic and muddled places very easily. It takes almost nothing to throw me into a distracted (and distractible) state, and once I’m there it’s very difficult for me to get myself back on an even keel.

There are times while I’m like this that I wish I could just go Home and be with Jesus, but I know I can’t do that. However, even though I know it’s not the right time for that yet, there are times I still feel desperate enough to cry out to God to let me die and take me Home when I’m in the midst of the worst of the chaos.

I’m SOOO very thankful that God understands my heart at these times!! And I’m also extremely grateful that Christ came to earth and died on the Cross so that He could then sit at the right of the Father and make intercession for me.

Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25, NIV.

I love this verse, and I love the way the King James Version words it,

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25, KJV.

The New Living Translation is also wonderful,

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. ~ Hebrews 7:25, NLT.

And there’s a footnote attached to the word, to save, that says, “Or is able to save completely.”

I included three translations of Hebrews 7:25 because, for one thing, I love the verse, and also, it’s a verse that’s full of rich and deep meaning for Christians, and specifically me as a Christian.

As a result of reading this verse, I’ve always pictured Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father, and as He’s interceding for me ~ or anyone, for that matter ~ He’s saying to God, “I understand what she’s going through. I experienced that Myself when I was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness (for example).

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. ~ Matthew 4:1, NKJV.

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. ~ Luke 4:1-2, NLT.

Or when I feel discouraged, Jesus might say to the Father as He’s praying for me, “I know what that feels like! Remember the time when many of My disciples deserted Me?

53 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” … 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this,said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” … 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” ~ John 6:53-56, 59-60, 66-67, NKJV.

I know I’m using a really long passage of Scripture, but I kind of need this much in order to prove my point. In John 6, beginning in verse 53, Jesus was telling His disciples that in order for them to have eternal life, they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Now, you and I know that’s symbolic for Communion, but the Sacrament of Communion hadn’t been instituted yet, so when Jesus said that, no one had a clue as to what He was talking about, and as a consequence they took Him literally, and thought He was crazy and weird, when what they should have done was asked Him what He meant. I mean, maybe it was supposed to be taken metaphorically.

So many of His disciples stopped following Him because they couldn’t stomach (pun intended) the thought of having to cannibalize Him ~ because that’s what they thought He meant. (My interpretation. I could be wrong; I’m wrong about a lot of things.) So Jesus asked His inner circle if they planned on leaving too, and I love their response.

Peter spoke up and said, “But Lord, where would we go? No one but you gives us the revelation of eternal life.” ~ John 6:68, The Passion Translation.

That’s exactly what I would have said if Jesus had asked me that question! No one but Jesus has the Words of eternal life! It’s through Christ alone that we must be saved! There is no other.

So no matter how disorganized, or discombobulated, or distracted, or… or… or… I feel during this, or any, Christmas season, none of that really matters, because Christmas isn’t about my feelings or my circumstances. It’s about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

Christmas is about JESUS, and nothing but JESUS!!

Cranky, Crabby Me, and Yet He Loves Me.

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.