Category Archives: An Attitude of Gratitude

My Blocked Brain

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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!!

Discombobulated and Disorganized. But Jesus.

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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!!

Having Flashbacks In the Dentist’s Chair

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

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

Turns out I was wrong, very wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then I personalized it,

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

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

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

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

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

I’m so glad I did!

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

No Average Joes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah!! Thank you Jesus!!

An Attitude of Gratitude ~ Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E‘en so, come quickly Lord Jesus!!

I Am That Wretched Man (or Woman).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Shame Allowed

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Every once in awhile something happens for which, unaccountably, I feel so much shame that I can’t talk about it with anyone. I was able to talk with McT and one friend about it, but it’s taken me several days to convince myself that I need to blog about it.

In a previous post (A Cross Stitch, New Kitties, and Two Smoking Needles), I talked about becoming the proud parent of two new kittens. Well, on Wednesday, the 28th, five days after bringing them home, Margaret died.

She died! What am I to do? She died!

I felt such devastation that I was overwhelmed and at a loss for words, for action, for anything and everything. All I could do was cry out to God, “My God! Why? What happened?”

About twenty minutes before it happened, she had allowed me to pick her up and pet her. This was surprising to me, as she hadn’t let me come close to her at all before that. Then all of a sudden she let me hold her and pet her. I cuddled her for about fifteen minutes, then she got down and disappeared, and I continued to watch TV. Then I got up and tried to find her.

I didn’t have to look very far, because she was on the floor around the corner from the couch where I was sitting, and when I looked at her I could see that she wasn’t breathing, plus her mouth was wide open. When I touched her she was cold and stiff.

Shock coursed through my body. What did I do wrong? I left fresh food and water out for her ~ for both of them ~ at all times, and I made sure that the litter box was clean. Plus I changed the water every day. Surely I couldn’t have done something wrong, but maybe I did.

Did I kill her? I was terrified that I had done something to cause her death, but I couldn’t think of anything that I might have done. I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to take her to the vet the next day, because she needed to be seen, and because she had been acting like she wasn’t feeling well. But then she died before I got the chance.

I emailed the woman from whom I had adopted them, and told her that Margaret had died. She replied that she didn’t think I was responsible, that Margaret must have had some kind of undiagnosed heart condition. She said she would pay for a necropsy to find out the cause of death, but after doing some online research, we both decided that was way too expensive. I felt like I could accept her idea of an undiagnosed heart problem, so we both let it go at that.

So now I’m left with the confusion and desolation I feel because of her death, and the hole in my heart that’s there, even though I only had her for five days. And as I said at the beginning, unaccountably, I feel a huge amount of shame. I don’t know why, but I do. Somehow, even if her demise wasn’t caused by me, it must have been my fault. There must have been some way in which I was responsible. It’s not logical, I know, but there it is.

I wonder if at least part of it doesn’t go back to Harry blaming me for stuff that I couldn’t have been responsible for when I was little, and for the cult rituals doing the same thing. There was one particular ritual that they did when I was about two where I had to answer questions, and if I got the wrong answer, a man was slowly lowered into a bonfire and burned alive.

The problem was, the questions were unanswerable. There were no right answers, though there was no way I could know that, especially at age two. So I had to answer these unanswerable questions, get the wrong answers because there weren’t any right ones, and listen to the screams of agony of the guy as he was lowered into the bonfire. And the whole thing was all my fault ~ or so they told me.

Talk about the essence of torture, both for the guy being burned alive, and for little two-year-old me!

But I’m no longer living in that reality. I’ve been set free from that life, thank God. And interestingly, I named the other kitten Charlotte, and she, thankfully, is alive and well, even though she still won’t let me near her. I discovered in the process of deciding on Charlotte’s name, that “Charlotte” means “freedom”. Maybe that’s why God motivated me to name her that, I don’t know. All I know is that before I brought them home, the name Charlotte was the only name I could think of.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32, NLT.

And this is the truth that will set you free,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10, NLT.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” ~ [Isaiah 28:16, Greek Version], Romans 10:11, NLT.

So, regardless of how I feel, I must go on what Scripture says. If God’s Word says I am FREE, then I AM FREE. That means NO SHAME ALLOWED!! I did not cause Margaret’s death, and I did not cause that man to be burned alive!!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1, NIV.

To Publish Or Not to Publish, That Is the Question.

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I haven’t been able to write much in awhile. I’ve been working on a post, but it’s too long, and I can’t figure out how to shorten it. I’m trying to decide if I should publish it as is and let you all read it, and hope you won’t be bored. The problem is, it contains details that I feel are important in telling the story that I’m trying to tell. I know I’ve published long posts before, but this one is longer than most.

So this post is going to be about whether I should publish the other post. Silly, I know, but that’s where I’m at. And in the process of making my decision, I may meander around a bit here, because sometimes that’s how I think. So if some of what I write here sounds irrelevant, it will only sound that way.

The battery on my laptop died, so I had to purchase a new computer. I got a really fancy new iPad. It has a separate keyboard, and a huge hard drive, At first I didn’t think I’d be able to retrieve anything from my laptop, but God has been resurrecting the battery at different times, so when that happens, I get the things I want and send them to myself in assorted emails. It’s been working quite well. There were a number of Long Dog Sampler charts that I had saved on my hard drive, that I needed, so I was able to send those to myself, plus some of the things I need so I can finish the sampler I’m working on (it’s called Pandemic, and it’s also a Long Dog Sampler design).

There were a whole lot of photos I’d saved that I really wanted, so I’ve been able to get a lot of them as well. I’m still not done, but I’m making progress. In addition, there were a number of papers I had written for various classes that I didn’t want to lose, and I was also able to retrieve them.

Another thing I’ve discovered I can do is that while my laptop is functional I can go through and justify the margins of all the posts that I wrote since I started using the iPad. This is because I haven’t figured out how to justify the margins in WordPress for the iPad ~ at least not yet. Hopefully I will before too long, because I hate unjustified margins. They look so sloppy to me.

It’s been a lot of fun getting all the stuff transferred from the old to the new, and I’m grateful to God for making my laptop available so I can do it. It’s a time-consuming task, but an enjoyable one.

At some point in the near future I’ll post a pic of my cross stitch that I’m working on. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. It’s a huge project, probably the biggest piece I’ve ever made, but I think it will be beautiful once it’s finished.

I think I’m going to publish that post as is with only a little more editing.

See? Meandering around in my thoughts while I’m writing about seemingly irrelevant stuff helped me decide! Thank you, Jesus! And thank you, everyone for being patient with me as I figure it out. I love you all!

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 it 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 makes me feel everytime I get upset, because I feel 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 my 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 milky mess 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 heinous act of spilling my 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!! I don’t think so!!

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 teaching, and 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. … 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!!

At Least She’s Pooping!

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Sometimes a reality is so odious you’d rather it didn’t exist at all, but if you look at it from a different perspective, it turns into a silver lining.

Lily is my cat, and she’s twelve years old, plus I think she’s showing signs of aging. She throws up a lot, and she’s started pooping outside her litterbox, though fortunately, I’ve never stepped in it. Also, she meows a lot more, and more loudly, than she used to.

This is Lily. It’s an older photo, but it shows her blue eyes and her orange coloring. The vet says the black spots on her nose are called freckles. They’ve become much more pronounced since this picture was taken. She’s a flame-point Siamese. I think she’s beautiful!

Lily From the Side

I took her to the vet about a year ago to try and resolve the vomiting issue, and she said Lily had pancreatitis. So she changed her food, and said she might become constipated with the new food, and if she does I can use Miralax. The only problem with that is, she didn’t tell me how to use the Miralax, and I felt embarrassed at the idea that I’d have to ask her how to use it. Silly, I know, but that’s how I felt, because Lily has become constipated. I don’t know how badly, but she’s not pooping everyday. So I’ve started praying to God that He keeps her pooping.

Oh, the things we pray for! I think we must provide God with many occasions for amusement, though thankfully and mercifully, He’s answering my prayers, regardless of how ridiculous they seem to me. Plus just the fact that I’m praying means that I’m communicating with Him, which is always a good thing.

I know I should just break down and take her to the vet. If nothing else I got a notice in my email that she’s due for her vaccinations, so I could take her in to get the shots and while I’m there ask about the vomiting and the constipation, thus killing two birds with one stone. I’ve also thought of asking if she could be in the beginning stages of feline dementia. I didn’t know such a thing existed in cats until I started working on this post, but discovered, unhappily, that it does.

It’s taken me about three weeks to write this. First I couldn’t come up with a title, and then I had too many titles, so I couldn’t decide which one to use, and finally I landed on the one you see above.

The righteous cares about his animal’s health, but even the merciful acts of the wicked are cruel. ~ Proverbs 12:10, CSB.

Keeping a grateful mindset ~ an attitude of gratitude, if you will ~ sort of requires that I look for silver linings when I’m in difficult situations, and it’s become more and more natural for me to think along these lines as God heals me from my past. So rather than bemoan the fact that Lily keeps pooping outside her litterbox, I’ve started reminding myself that at least she’s pooping, which means she’s not constipated, at least not completely anyway.

And if I get upset enough to have a panic attack, I remember that at least I’m not hitting myself, and I’m very grateful for that.

Those are just two examples, and there are others I could list, but these are the only ones I can think of at the moment. I’ll probably come up with more after I’ve published this.

Isn’t that always the way? Oh well. If that happens I’ll have more fodder to write more posts!

I love being a blogger!

So that’s where things are at, and I think I’ve finally reached a stopping point. Thank you, Jesus! I’ve been wondering how I was going to end this. Silly me, but I couldn’t figure it out. But now I have, thankfully. That’s been part of the reason it’s taken me such a long time to write this. I couldn’t figure out how to end it, so I’d write some, and then put it away for a while. Then I’d come back to it and write some more, and yada yada yada…

But now I’m done. Oh, thank you, Jesus. I feel like it’s ending a little weirdly, but at least it’s ending.

I just realized that’s another silver lining!

How cool is that?