Category Archives: God Loves Me!

Younger Me Gets Wiser, Part 2

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Welcome to the promised continuation of Younger Me Gets Wiser, Part 1.

As I said at the end of Part 1, I want to talk to Catherine Belinda about the lying we were forced to do throughout our childhood because of Harry’s threats.

Everyone knows it’s a sin to lie. The Ninth Commandment is about lying,

You must not lie. ~ Exodus 20:16, TLB (The Living Bible).

The New King James Version puts it this way,

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ~ Exodus 20:16, NKJV.

So when Harry started telling us we had to lie about what he was doing to us or he’d kill us, he put us between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. And he showed us he meant what he said by playing Russian roulette with one of his revolvers between our legs. At age two there was no way we could have known that the gun had blanks instead of real bullets in it, so we lied because we were terrified of that gun and we were horrified at Harry and his threats, so we became compulsive liars as a result. But we hated having to do it, and we hated Harry for forcing us into it.

I know God hates lying. He always, ALWAYS tells the truth,

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.

So in our minds, when we told lies, that meant God hated us. So Harry must have been telling the truth when he said that. It certainly made sense at the time.

But I have to tell you, Catherine Belinda, God does not hate you. He doesn’t hate you for lying, or for anything else for that matter. God doesn’t blame you for lying. He blames Harry, because Harry forced you to do it. You didn’t have a choice, and God knows that.

And the cool thing is, God, in His great mercy, engineered a situation when we were in the fifth grade, after Harry and my mother had separated, that made it so we were able to stop lying. And this situation is a perfect example of Romans 8:28,

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28, NLT.

What happened was this. I was walking home from school one day, and I was carrying a heavy load of books, because I had a lot of homework to do. As I was walking, I heard footsteps behind me, and then suddenly, someone grabbed me from behind, and as he gripped my arm, he hissed, “Ah, I’ve got you!” in a weird, creepy voice.

I gasped and jerked away, and as I pulled away, I half-turned so I could see what the person looked like and what they were wearing. It was an older man with light brown hair, and tan clothes, and he was wearing a vest. Then I ran away, and as I was escaping, I heard him laugh with this maniacal laugh.

With his sinister laugh ringing in my ears, I ran from him as fast as I could, given all the books I was carrying.

My mother had given me strict instructions on the route I was to take on my way to and from school but it was boring, so I hated using it. However, on the day the guy grabbed me, I wasn’t thinking about anything other than finding the fastest route to get away from him. That turned out to be the direction my mother didn’t want me go.

When I looked back I could see he wasn’t following me, so I slowed down and heaved a sigh of relief. By that time I had reached an intersection where there were stores and businesses on all four corners, and up and down both sides of the street. As I was standing there trying to figure out what I should do next, a friend from school approached me. Her name was Amy* (name changed to protect her privacy), and she asked me what I was doing. So I told her what had happened ~ that someone tried to kidnap me as I was about to walk home from school.

At first she didn’t believe me ~ I was making a pretty shocking claim after all ~ but as I continued to tell her what happened, and I described what the guy looked like, she began to accept my story. Then she suggested I go home with her so I could tell her mother what had happened. Looking back, I don’t remember why it was important to do this, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So we went to Amy’s house. The problem with doing this is that getting there required going through an alley that my mother had specifically and expressly forbad me from using because she said it was dangerous. But I didn’t know any other way to get there, so we went through the forbidden alley, and nothing happened, so I decided my mother must have been wrong.

Then we arrived at Amy’s house, and I told her mother about the guy grabbing me, and she asked me if I had told the police about it. I hadn’t thought about doing that, so I told her, no, I hadn’t. Then I asked her what time it was, and she told me it was about five o’clock. That scared me because all of a sudden I realized I would be two hours late getting home, which meant my mother would be really mad at me. So I left and headed for home as fast as I could go.

When I arrived home it was about 5:15, and as expected my mother was steaming mad.

“Where have you been? Why are you so late,” she berated me, because there was absolutely no reason on earth why I should be getting home so late.

“Mom, a guy tried to kidnap me on the way home from school,” I told her.

“Are you kidding me? That’s the biggest lie you’ve come up with yet,” she scoffed at me.

“Mom, it’s not a lie! It really happened! I was leaving school and this guy grabbed me! I was able to pull away from him, but it really did happen. He tried to kidnap me,” I tried to convince her, but it felt like a losing battle, given the amount of lying I’d done over the years. But Harry was gone now, so the need for me to continue lying was no longer there. The problem was, I couldn’t seem to stop.

“Then I should call the police so they can try and catch him. What if he does this to someone else,” she said.

“Call the police? I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right. He should be arrested so he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Plus, I want him to be caught for what he did to me. It was really scary!” I answered.

“All right, I’ll call them. In the meantime, I want to know what happened,” she replied.

Relieved that maybe she was finally beginning to believe me, I began telling her what had happened. I told her about the guy grabbing me by the arm, and what he said to me, and how scared I was, and what he looked like. And I told her about his weird laugh as I escaped from his grasp and ran down the street. Then I told her about running into Amy, but I didn’t tell her about going through the alley or going to her house. I knew that would make her really mad.

“And that’s what happened, Mom,” I stopped, hoping that finally she would believe me.

Then a policeman arrived to take a report of my story. I described what had happened to me, starting with where I was when the guy grabbed me ~ across the street from my school, and what he looked like ~ light brown hair combed straight back with no part, and what he was wearing ~ tan clothes and a sweater vest with buttons down the front.

Then I told him about running into my friend Amy, only I left out the part about going through the alley, and going to her house, because I was afraid of my mother’s rage if she knew I had done those things. It didn’t occur to me that if I had just told the truth about everything it might have made my story about being grabbed more believable, but I was too frightened of my mother’s anger to be able to think about anything else.

Then the policeman REALLY scared me when he said he was going to Amy’s house to see if her story matched mine. Since I knew it wouldn’t because she would tell him that I had gone home with her, I knew I was in real trouble now. It was bad enough to be caught in one of my lies by people in my family, but to be caught by a policeman? The thought of that absolutely horrified me. Even thinking about it filled me with shame and self-hatred. It didn’t matter that the whole reason I lied in the first place was because Harry had forced me into it. To be caught in a lie by a policeman was so unspeakably awful that I couldn’t describe how bad it made me feel, plus I couldn’t tell him why I lied, because that would expose Harry ~ and those threats still loomed large in my mind, even though he was gone.

So the policeman left for Amy’s house, and returned about half an hour later. He talked to my mother for about fifteen minutes, while I sat curled up in a ball in a chair, waiting for the axe to fall.

Surprisingly, my mother wasn’t boiling over in anger. Maybe that would come after the policeman left. Instead of yelling at me she sat down next to me and waited for the policeman to talk to me.

“Amy’s story of what happened was different than yours. You knew it would be, didn’t you,” he asked me.

“Yes, sir,” I mumbled. “I’m sorry I lied,” I added softly.

“Why did you do it?” he asked gently.

“Because I was afraid Mom would be mad at me if she knew I’d gone through the alley, and gone to Amy’s house,” I responded.

“So did someone really try to kidnap you?” the officer asked.

“Yes!” I told him emphatically, “and he really looked the way I said he did, too! Everything about that part of my story is the truth!”

“Okay, then.” he said. “I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson from this. Can you tell me what that lesson might be?”

“That lying is a bad thing to do,” I replied, “and I promise I’ll never tell another one!” I asserted vehemently.

“That’s great,” he responded. “I hope you’ll be able to keep that promise.” Then he said goodbye to my mother and left.

I was feeling a certain amount of dread, because I was afraid that my mother had been nice because he was there. Maybe he had been a mediating influence, and now that he was gone, the axe would fall, and she’d let loose on me with her rage because I’d lied and made her look bad in front of a police officer.

But none of that happened. She was unaccountably nice to me, and she didn’t get angry at me at all. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall, but it never did. I wanted to ask her why, but I figured I should probably keep my mouth shut and just accept it rather than pressing my luck. Even so, I walked on eggshells the whole rest of the evening, just in case.

After I went to bed, I made a vow to God that I would never tell another lie. I slept very poorly that night, and I ended up in my mother’s bed, because I had nightmares all night long. I kept having this dream that someone was coming to get me, and I could hear chains clanking down the hall, dragged by kidnappers coming to chain me up. It was terrifying! In reality it was the dog’s collar clinking on the floor as she moved around in her sleep, but in my magnified imagination I didn’t know that. All I could think of was that kidnappers were coming to get me with their chains, and they were going to chain me up and torture me because I’d lied to a policeman.

As I look back on my childhood, and on this incident in particular, I can see God’s hand working quite clearly. At the time, if someone had suggested that God engineered that kidnapping attempt, I would have been shocked. I would have decided that God must be a mean ogre who does bad things to kids like me. But my thought process would have been the thinking of a child based on the fact that I couldn’t see the whole picture as God can. God can see the end from the beginning, as it says in the Book of Isaiah,

Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’ ~ Isaiah 46:9-10, NKJV.

I especially like the way the New Living Translation puts it,

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. ~ Isaiah 46:9-10, NLT.

What that says is that God could see the end result if I continued to lie (I would continue down that negative path, and could end up in some very dire circumstances if I didn’t stop). But He could also see the end result if He arranged a situation that would help me to stop lying, because He knew that I hated doing it, but that I couldn’t stop on my own. As I said above, it’s a perfect example of Romans 8:28,

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28, NLT.

So, Catherine Belinda, even though it felt really scary and bad when that guy tried to kidnap you on the street, it was actually a good thing that God allowed to happen. God was protecting you and wouldn’t have allowed the guy to do anything more than what he did, because the purpose of it was to get you to stop lying, and grabbing you was scary enough. God wouldn’t have allowed anything worse. The important part was when you lied to the policeman. God knew the shock and embarrassment of that would be enough to traumatize you into stopping. I wish you didn’t have to go through that, because I know how hard it was for you, but it worked, didn’t it? We haven’t lied since then, have we.

That’s the thing about the sovereignty of God, Catherine Belinda. He can see everything that will happen to us over our entire life, while we can only see what’s going on for a day or two. We don’t have the same perspective that God does. Because He can see what will occur over our entire life span from the beginning, He knows what needs to happen at certain points that, to us, might seem really negative because we can’t see the whole picture, even though they’re actually necessary for our life to follow the positive path that God has ordained for it.

And for some people like you and me, Catherine Belinda, because of the abuse we endured when we were little, God had to make some fairly significant course corrections so that we would end up where He wanted us to be. That meant He had to perform a number of miracles to protect us and help us stay alive when we were little, and then once we had grown up, He had perform more miracles so we could be healed from the multiplicity caused by the abuse, and become integrated into one. And the healing process is still ongoing, thank God.

I love you, Catherine Belinda! You were who we all were before we became multiple. You are a survivor! Without you none of the rest of us would ever have existed, and none of us would have survived, because Harry or my mother would have succeeded in killing us. Without you there would be no one to integrate with. I’m so grateful to you, Catherine Belinda, and I’m grateful to God for you! You are brave and courageous and beautiful and wonderful!

Most of all, I’m grateful to God for everything He’s done in me and for me. I can never thank Him enough for all that He’s done in my life ~ for the cross and the resurrection first and foremost, because that saved my soul, and then for protecting and watching over me throughout my childhood, and then for so richly supplying my needs now. And what I’ve said here only barely covers everything He’s done, and is doing for me!

God is SOOO GOOD!!!

Cranky, Crabby Me, and Yet He Loves Me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’M DONE!!!

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

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

Well, maybe…

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

And then there’s this…

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

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

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

Thank you, Jesus!!

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

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

I should probably tell you how all this came about.

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

Alas, such was not to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pursuing Holiness While I’m Cursing God and Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!!

A Cross Stitch, New Kitties, and Two Smoking Needles

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I am now the proud owner of two new cats ~ well, kittens, really ~ they’re three months old, and litter mates. I’m going to name them Charlotte (which means “freedom”) and Margaret (which means “pearl”). I love naming my pets somewhat improbable names, and Charlotte and Margaret were the most improbable but beautiful names I could think of. Plus they have great meanings, and names with good meanings are important to me.

I adopted them from a PetsMart near me, and they are both a bit shy around strange people and places. So I’m keeping them in the bathroom, as that’s the smallest room in my apartment, and hopefully there will be less in there to frighten them. I’ve put a bowl of food and another of water in with them, and a litter box should they feel safe enough to venture out of the carrier long enough to use it if the need arises. .

Aren’t they beautiful? Charlotte is a lynx-point Siamese (Siamese-tabby mix) with blue eyes, and Margaret is a grey and white tabby with greenish-brown eyes that seem to change colors depending on the light she’s in. Charlotte is more shy than Margaret. They’re huddled up together in the back of the carrier at present, and Charlotte is squished behind Margaret. Anytime I glance in on them, Margaret looks up at me and hisses as if to show me how brave she is. It’s very sweet.

I’ve been working very hard on my cross stitch, and making great progress on it. The frustrating thing is, twice in the last three days I’ve lost a needle. I’m really excited and glad about the progress, but I can’t be losing needles right when I bring home two new cats! Needles and cats definitely don’t go together. So I’ve been frantically praying that God would show me where they are, or just plain bring them back to me before either Charlotte or Margaret has a chance to come in contact with them.

My most recent WIP.

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!!