Category Archives: Beauty

I Go to the Bathroom With Cats

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Anyone who has cats has experienced this. When you go into the bathroom, your cats go with you, because, you know, there are SOOO many interesting things to play with in there! And privacy? As far as the cats are concerned, they’re the only ones who deserve any of that. You certainly don’t. So if you want to go into the bathroom to use the facilities, so to speak, you’ll just have to get used to doing it in the presence of your cats.

There are some people who’ve decided they don’t want their cats in the bathroom when they’re in there, so they close the door so the cats can’t follow them in. The only problem with that is that the cats don’t like being shut out, so they respond by sticking their paws under the door and moving them around. I don’t bother with that, because I live alone with my cats, so I just leave the door open.

My cats have discovered that they’re big enough to climb onto the bathroom counter, as well as my dining room table. Plus, I discovered that they found the three necklaces that I’d been keeping on the bathroom counter next to the sink. Silly me, it never occurred to me that I would need to find a different place to keep them before the cats found them.

Oh well! Too late! They found my necklaces and decided they were lovely to play with, since they were all shiny and sparkly, so they played with them until two of them went down the drain in the sink. The third one got shoved off onto the floor and played with down there, and then they got bored with it. I’m so glad that necklace didn’t end up down the drain like the other two. Otherwise I might not have noticed they were gone. Fortunately, once I realized they were gone, I was able to get my wonderful housekeeper to dredge the other two out of the drain while she was cleaning.

I have the BEST housekeeper!!

They also figured out how to pull out the drain plug and play with it. From now on the cats won’t be spending any time in the bathroom unless I’m in there too. The door will remain closed otherwise.

All of the above was written several months ago, after which I put this draft away for awhile. Solomon and Gracie have grown considerably since I last looked at this, so I thought I’d get it out again, and hopefully I’ll be able to finish it now.

Solomon and Gracie are now a little over a year old, thirteen months according to the vet, and I’ve come to the conclusion that if Solomon were human he would like bathroom jokes. I suppose that sounds a little strange, but the reason I think that is because one of his favorite pastimes is to stick his nose into Gracie’s butthole and take a sniff. Gracie almost never returns the favor, but that doesn’t seem to bother Solomon. He just sniffs on and on.

Another thing he likes to do is when I’m in the bathroom he likes to chase his tail behind the shower curtain. I haven’t seen him chase his tail anywhere else in my apartment, just behind the shower curtain. He also likes to play hide-and-seek behind the shower curtain. He likes to go back there and just sit. If I look at him back there he’ll look up at me and meow, otherwise he just sits there.

The two cats have very distinct personalities. Gracie is very dainty and ladylike, and Solomon is goofy, and all boy. His tail is thicker, and he lets it trail out behind him like a flag, while Gracie’s tail is thinner and kind of pointy, and she always has it curled tastefully and elegantly around her body. Plus, Solomon talks all the time, while Gracie is the silent type. Whenever Solomon moves he lets out a squeak. Every move is accompanied by some sort of vocalization. On the other hand, I call Gracie, Gracie the Inscrutable, because she’s quite mysterious most of the time.

Both of them are very affectionate, however, which is wonderful.

Below you’ll see the most current photo of them. I just took it a few minutes ago. Oh, the wonders of smart phone photography!

Solomon is on the left, and Gracie, looking her usual inscrutable self, is on the right. Aren’t they beautiful? Biased as I am, I think they’re gorgeous! And they’re so much FUN!!

I’m so grateful to God for giving me these two amazing and rambunctious cats. At times they try my patience, but even then I’m blessed to have them.

The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. ~ Proverbs 12:10, NLT.

Through the Eyes of Jesus

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I’ve come to realize that everytime I look in the mirror I have two choices. I could see myself as Harry, the devil, and the world would have me believe that I am, or I could see myself as God sees me. Satan and the world, working through Harry, tried to convince me that I was ugly and worthless. But God thinks I’m beautiful, and He valued me enough that Christ was willing to go to the Cross and die to save me from my sins. And since God is smarter than Satan, and He’s certainly smarter than Harry was, I think I’ll stick with God.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7, NLT.

It took me many years to be able to come to that conclusion. I had to wade through a whole lot of pain and emotional sludge before I was able to reject what Harry had beat into me every day of my life, and believe what God said about me in Scripture.

There’s a saying that says beauty is only skin deep. Well, I beg to differ, because God, Master of the Universe, Creator of All Things, says otherwise. Whoever said beauty was only skin deep was ignorant. More to the point, they had their eyes focused on the wrong things. Skin-deep beauty is only what you can see on the surface, but there’s so much more underneath that. As 1 Samuel 16:7 says above, God looks at the heart, and I think that’s where the true beauty lies, for it’s out of the abundance of the heart that one speaks.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45, NKJV.

One can read beautiful poetry or speak deadly curses. The one will create positive feelings, and the other will cause sadness and depression.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

Those four lines are from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, Aurora Leigh, and I think they are some of the most beautiful poetry I’ve ever read anywhere. They talk about God’s presence everywhere on earth, whether you see Him or not, and if you choose, you will recognize that He’s there, and everytime I read those lines I think beautiful thoughts, and God shows me new things from His Word.

How cool is that!!

2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3“This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5“Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. ~ Exodus 3:2-5, NLT.

As far as the negative is concerned, I’ve heard enough evil, gloomy, bleak, and fearful stuff from Harry and my mother to last me into eternity. All that negative input made me hate myself. It also motivated me to become self-abusive, and it drove me to consider suicide. I tried it nine times, but thankfully I was unsuccessful. At the time I was mad. I thought, “Geez! I can’t even kill myself right!” But now I’m so glad my efforts were ineffective. I’m excited to be alive, and in love with Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

If only everyone could see themselves, as well as other people, the way God sees them! It would make such a difference in people’s lives, and in the way culture is played out. People would be able to see the true beauty in the people around them, as well as themselves, and things like plastic surgery would be much less common, or maybe even not be practiced at all.

So those are just some thoughts I’ve been thinking about, with Resurrection Sunday on my mind (it was yesterday), and being grateful for all that Jesus Christ did for me on the Cross and three days later in His Resurrection, and all that He continues to do for me every day. Any gratitude I express now can’t come close to what I really feel, but I’ll say it anyway, because I can’t keep silent about it.

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

God has blessed me with such abundance that I can’t even describe it, and I am SOOO GRATEFUL!! God is SOOO GOOD!! Thank You Jesus!!

The Big Seven-Oh, or Seventy Years of Gratitude

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Today is my birthday and I’m seventy years old. Seventy years old. WOW!! That means I’ve lived seventy years. Seventy years is a VERY long time. That means God has kept me alive for seventy years, through nine suicide attempts, through my mother’s attempts to kill me when I was a baby, and through all of Harry’s threats to kill me if I told anyone what he was doing to me.

I think it means I’m kind of a miracle, given all that God had to do to keep me alive through all those years and all that mess, and I thank Him for it. I’m incredibly grateful to Him for it!

But what I’m most grateful for is what Christ did on the Cross. If He hadn’t gone to the Cross and died for my sins, then all that other stuff wouldn’t be worth a hill of beans. So more than anything I’m grateful for my salvation. It’s far and away the best decision I’ve ever made.

It turns out that 70 years is equal to 25,550 days, which is the same as 613,200 hours, which translates into 36,792,000 minutes, which is equivalent to 2,207,520,004 seconds. That’s 2 billion, 207 million, 520 thousand, and 4 seconds, just in case you got lost in all those numbers like I did. And it turns out that in these same seventy years, my heart has beat 2,450,000,000 times. That’s 2 billion, 450 million times. WOW!!!

That’s a LOT of seconds, and a whole lot of heartbeats!

It may seem kind of silly for me to go from years all the way down to seconds, and even more so on the number of heartbeats, but I’m doing it to remind myself and anyone who reads this that God has been faithful in fulfilling His promises to me, and has kept me alive through thick and thin every second of every day throughout the years of my life, from the day I was born onward.

I find that amazing, given what I’ve experienced in my life! And it fills me with gratitude towards God, and Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit for all that they’ve done for me.

I could be dwelling on all the bad, evil, and negative stuff that’s been in my life, but what good would it do me? It’s not happening anymore. It’s in the past, and I can’t change it, or wish it away, and I certainly can’t pretend it didn’t happen. I know I relate abuse incidents that happened when I was a kid ~ things Harry or my mother did to me or whatever ~ but my purpose in doing so is to demonstrate how God has been working in me from the time I was born onward to save my life and keep me alive long enough for me to decide to accept His free gift of salvation, and then He could begin to heal me. It’s never to glorify the abuse, or the evil that was done to me.

And looking back, I don’t think I would want to change any of it. If I were to change any of my life, what would I change? Would I ask for different parents? Would I ask to be born in a different country or a different culture? If I were to change any of it, even a little bit, then I wouldn’t be me, and I’ve grown to like myself. And besides that, if I were to come from different parents ~ which could mean that there would be no abuse in my (new) background ~ then I would be someone else. I would be another person with different DNA, and different siblings, or maybe no siblings at all.

And while having a different family, and therefore different DNA, and no abuse, thereby making me a completely different me would be something to consider, I don’t think I would want anything different than what God has already given me. The main reason for this is that if I were a different person, there’s no guarantee that I would have the kind of relationship with God that I have now, and God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the most important aspect of my life. I can’t live without them. I don’t know but what I would reject God and become an atheist if I were this different person. I would really not want that. In fact I hate the very idea of it.

While the life God has given me has been full of suffering, it’s also been a life that’s full of God, and I would much rather have a God-filled life that’s full of suffering than a life empty of God with no suffering. To me the life separated from God actually has greater suffering than a life filled with God. So I’ll take my life any day, because, though it’s been filled with suffering, it’s also been full of God, and the presence of God makes all the difference.

Jesus + nothing = EVERYTHING!!!

10My aim is to know Him, to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings, and to be like Him in His death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. ~ Philippians 3:10-11, NET.

Cranky, Crabby Me, and Yet He Loves Me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’M DONE!!!

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

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

Well, maybe…

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

And then there’s this…

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

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

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

Thank you, Jesus!!

Pursuing Holiness While I’m Cursing God and Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!!

Love Lavished, Etc.

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This will a bit of a hodgepodge, because I’m writing it in the middle of the night, and I want to get it published so I can go to bed, plus I’m sort of train-of-thought writing, which means I’m meandering. I could separate the different parts into discrete posts, but that would take more time, and I don’t want to expend that much energy. Plus I’m finally writing again, and I don’t want to break my momentum.

I’ve become more aware recently of God’s love for me in a number of tangible and real ways. I had a portrait painted of Lily, and I was prepared to pay for it myself. But when I told some friends I was doing it, one of them said she wanted to help me pay for it. And then she surprised me even further by paying for the whole thing.

It’s a wonderful work of art. The artist really captured Lily’s essence. Her name is Rita Kirkman, and here’s her website: https://www.ritakirkman.com/works. Lily’s portrait is located under the Pet Portraits category, and you can see it below.

Lily redecorating my hair while I sit at my desk. This was her favorite thing to do.

Rita Kirkman lives in Texas, and I chose her because she works in pastels. I’ve always loved pastels, because it’s the closest thing to working in pure pigment. I think this portrait is beautiful, and absolutely perfect. It looks just like Lily, and I love it. If you want to have a portrait of your pet done, Rita Kirkman is the artist to go to, that’s for sure!

I’m extremely grateful to my friend, Helen for her wonderful gift. Thank you, Helen!! You are such a blessing to me!!

I love looking at it everyday. It fills me with delight everytime I see it, and it reminds me of all the goofy things Lily used to do. Having it hanging on my wall so I can see it all the time makes it so I don’t miss her so much, and for that I am very glad. That was a good part of the reason I wanted to have it done in the first place. Now I’m pretty much ready for a new cat. I just have to come up with the money to pay for it.

It turns out that I have pay a $500 pet deposit to my apartment complex this time around. I didn’t have to when I moved in with Lily. I don’t know why they’re placing that added burden on me this time. $500 is a huge amount of money to come up with all at once, plus I have to pay $50 pet rent every month. That part I knew about, because I had to pay that every month for Lily ever since I moved in here. It’s the $500 that I have the problem with. I’ll just have to trust God to come up with the money, because I need a cat.

God is blessing me in so many amazing ways. Lily’s portrait has been a big one, but other than that, it’s been a lot of small, simple things. I’ll see a beautiful flower, and I’ll be reminded of how marvelous God’s creation is, and how He’s given us the ability to appreciate beauty. Or I’ll see an interesting cloud formation as I’m driving along the freeway, and I’ll think about how God put it there.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. ~ Psalm 19:1, NLT.

There are so many amazing and wonderful things to see and think about in God’s beautiful world. Certainly there is a great deal of ugliness out there. The devil is alive and well and trying to deceive people into following him. But there is also a great deal of beauty as well, because, while the devil may be at work, he’s not more powerful than God, and ultimately, God will have the last word.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, NKJV.

I love the above passage of Scripture. It’s so full of God’s wisdom! I love that last phrase, “…they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” That’s talking about my precious Lord Jesus.

I can’t wait to meet Him, to see Him face to face, to know Him even as He knows me now!!

E’en so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!!

Ideas Flitting In and Out

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I’ve tried to think of a good title for this post, and I finally came up with the above offering. I thought of My Brain Has Flown the Coup or possibly, I Have No Idea. Or Is It Ideas? Or maybe, Depression Is a Mack Truck and I’ve Been Mowed Down.

That last should tell you something about my state of mind, and it’s also the main reason why I haven’t posted in almost a month (my last published post was on May 14th ~ Of Life and Death, and Life Again). The main reason I’m so depressed seems to be because of the death of Ravi Zacharias, but I don’t really understand why that would be so. I know where he is, and I know that I will get to meet him in person one day, as well as, and even more importantly and marvelously, the fact that I’ll be able to meet Jesus and greet Him face to face ~ always my fondest and deepest desire.

But for some reason I just can’t seem to shake this deep funk of a depression that I’ve fallen into, and it started when I heard the news that Ravi Zacharias was dying, and then that he had died.

It feels like I’ve fallen ~ or been pushed or thrown ~ to the bottom of a deep, deep, waterless well, from which there is no exit. And if I cry out for help the only answer I get is the echoes of my own shrieks and cries. The darkness is so thick that I can’t see my hand in front of my face, but if I feel for the walls, my fingers touch slimy stones up as high as I can reach. I feel like I’m about four years old, and I’m terrified. Someone has thrown me down here somehow, and abandoned me here, and I don’t know why.

What did I do wrong?? 

What did I do wrong??

What I’ve just described has all the earmarks of a memory, and I wish, oh how I WISH, I didn’t have to be alone while it’s coming up!! I know God is with me. He’s always with me, but it would be so much easier if there were a physical, trustworthy person here. I haven’t seen McT in person ~ in his office ~ since the quarantine began in March. I’ve had phone appointments with him, and I’ve so appreciated his willingness to do that, but there are times when you just need a physical presence. He does read these blog posts, however, so I know he’ll find out what’s going on soon enough.

In light of what just surfaced, and from what I’ve come to understand about Ravi’s position in my life, if I can word it that way, vis à vis him being one of only two or three positive male role models that I’ve ever had in my life, maybe this depression has been about feeling abandoned when he died. While I know that Ravi didn’t abandon me, I think his death triggered this memory, and the abandonment contained therein.

I don’t understand how people can be so cruel! What could a four year old child possibly have done that would have warranted being treated like that?!?!

I forgive them. I forgive them. I forgive them. I forgive them! I FORGIVE THEM!!!

I forgive them, and I ask God to forgive them. I pray that God forgives them.

Now I just feel inexpressibly sad. Sad for the little girl that was me, who had to live through such hell. I used to hate her, but now I love her soooSOOO MUCH!! She was so incredibly brave and courageous! I’m crying now at how valiant and lionhearted she was throughout the years of her existence. If it hadn’t been for her the rest of us would never have made it. That was Catherine Belinda for you! I celebrate you, Catherine Belinda, and I thank God that He created you!! I thank God that He created you first!!

God is good. God is good ALL the time, and I love Him so!!

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 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 2:8-10, NLT.

The Beauty of the Cross

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This is Passion Week. For Christians it’s possibly the most important week of the whole year, with the possible exception of Christmas.

I am writing about this because, aside from it being vitally important to the church as a whole because of its central place in church doctrine, it’s what gives my life meaning. And it’s that meaning that I want to focus on here.

The Cross. The Cross of Christ. For me there is nothing more beautiful than the cross and the crucifixion. All my hope rests in the cross, because that’s where Jesus took my sins upon Himself. He bore the punishment that I deserved. The innocent Son of God was willing to leave His Majesty and Heavenly Throne, and all that that entails, to come down to earth and assume the body of sinful human flesh. He was willing to come here and be tempted in every way the same as we are, and yet He would do it without giving in to temptation, without sinning. Not even ONE TIME!!

How amazing is that??!!

That gives me hope that there’s someone out there who understands me. Who understands what I’m going through on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis, because He’s experienced the same things, yet somehow He managed to get through them victoriously.

Now you might say, “Well, of course He was victorious! He was God!”

But let me remind you, yes, He was God. He was 100% God, but He was also 100% human. So the human part of Him had to endure the temptation, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy. The divine part is what helped Him succeed, but there was always that human part too. We can never forget about that.

So the divine part of Jesus knew what the outcome would be. That He would triumph over death and Hell, over all Satan’s plans. But the human part still felt the need to pray that His Father would take the cup away in the Garden of Gethsemane if it was at all possible, and He sweated drops of blood during His prayers because He was so stressed about it.

Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There He told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. ~ Luke 22:39-44, NLT.

Also, the divine part of Christ knew that He would have to be separated from the Father during the time that He would take the sin of the whole world upon His body, because God cannot look on sin, so He couldn’t look at Jesus at that point. But when Jesus was hanging on the cross, the human part of Him was in agony because of being abandoned by His Father for that period, even though the divine part understood why,

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me,
and from the words of My groaning? ~ 
Psalm 22:1, NKJV.

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) ~ Mark 15:34, NIV.

I’ve come to believe that the cup of suffering Jesus prays about in Luke 22:42 isn’t so much the physical suffering inherent in the scourging and the crucifixion, though granted, they are agonizingly and excruciatingly painful all by themselves. Rather, I think the suffering Jesus was praying about was the abandonment from the Father He had to endure while He was on the cross once He took on the sin of all mankind.

Think about it. The entire time Christ was on earth He experienced extremely close fellowship with the Father. The rest of us should be envious of that kind of fellowship! He could talk to God anytime He chose, and have no problem hearing God speak to Him. How many of us have bemoaned being able to hear from God like that? I know I have!

Many times He spent all night in prayer, and I’ll bet it wasn’t a chore, because He was talking with His Father. After one of those all-night sessions, He chose His twelve disciples,

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. ~ Luke 6:12-16, NKJV.

So the divine part of Jesus had the hope of the resurrection in mind, but the human part of Him experienced fear ~ for example when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (see above, also Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42). His divine part would have enabled Him to overcome the temptation to give in to the fear felt by His humanity, but He felt it nonetheless. Plus God sent an angel to strengthen Him, which probably helped a lot,

Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. ~ Luke 22:43, NKJV.

I wonder how many times we’ve had angels helping us and we didn’t even know it!

My pastor, Pastor Jack Hibbs, said something during his sermon this morning that made a whole lot of sense to me, given my life, and given what I’m writing about here. He said that people lose hope when they become afraid. I think that’s part of what’s happening during this pandemic we’re all going through right now, but it’s also relevant to me.

When he said that, I realized that’s why Harry was able to steal my hope throughout my childhood. He put me in constant fear and terror of being beaten and/or raped, plus he kept threatening me with his revolver if I ever told anyone about what he was doing to me. And he made me think that God hated me as well. So I was always afraid of him and of God, of being physically harmed and/or dying.

Then I found out that everything he’d ever told me was nothing but a pack of lies.

What a RELIEF!!! 

I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. God wasn’t who Harry had made Him out to be. All of a sudden I could hope again.

HOPE is the OPPOSITE of FEAR, and I received hope from the cross when Christ took away my sins and broke the power of death over my life. And at the same time He broke the power of death over me, and gave me hope, He also broke the power of fear over me.

Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard?

I think so!