Category Archives: Love

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!!

Of Litter Boxes and Love

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Every once in a while I’m confronted with just how much I hate cleaning out Charlotte’s litter box. I hate cleaning it, and I hate changing the litter as well. You can well imagine that this is, by definition, a real problem, because cats need to have a clean litter box if they’re indoor cats, which Charlotte is. Otherwise they start doing their business, if you know what I mean, everywhere but the litter box, and I’ll leave the results of that fiasco to your imagination.

My frustration with the litter box comes from the fact that Charlotte pees on my bed if she doesn’t like the condition of her litter box.

How, you might ask, do I know that’s what my cat is thinking when she pees on my bed? Well, I’ll tell you.

The only time she pees on my bed is when I’m not cleaning out out her litter box often enough, and one could interpret that to mean that I’m not keeping it clean enough to keep her satisfied, so she punishes me by peeing on my bed.

She’s also peed on my cross stitch, and that’s a worse sin, if possible than peeing on my bed. I’ve put in hundreds of hours on this cross stitch, and I expect to put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours more, and the thought that Charlotte could ruin it in one fell swoop simply by peeing on it fills me with…

Well, I’m not sure what it fills me with, but you can be sure it’s not good. So I guess I have to pray for God’s help to forgive her. And then I have to figure out how to get the stain out.

There’s a saying: dogs have owners; cats have staff. It seems to hold true in my case, and she’s only five months old. I’ve long had the feeling that whatever cat I own ~ that she actually owns me. You know, I pay the rent, but Lily, or Rosie (the cat I had before Lily) and now Charlotte rules the roost. And it feels like it’s especially true with Charlotte, as young as she is, because she feels like a baby-tyrant. And just so you know, I’ve only ever had female cats, except for Dennis the Menace when I was a kid, but I wasn’t allowed to choose him. My parents did that, because I was only five at the time. Other than Dennis the Menace, I don’t like male pets. They have too much visible equipment for my taste.

If I look at it from a more practical and logical perspective, I know that cats have a heightened and acute sense of smell. So smells most of us can barely notice are probably bowling Charlotte over because they’re so strong. So while I can’t smell her litter box even when I’m right next to it, she can probably smell the litter box downstairs when she’s in the loft upstairs. All of which says I need to put aside my own frustration and work harder to keep it clean ~ which I’m doing because I love her.

In an interesting aside, I’ve never been able to smell marijuana, and have therefore never been able to get high on it, something I don’t regret at all. When I was in college, I would come into the lobby of the dorm where I was living on a Friday or Saturday night, and the friend at the front desk would ask me if I could smell the grass as I was coming to the lobby from my room, and I would tell her I couldn’t. Her response was always that she was surprised, because the smell was so overpowering, you could get high just walking through the building.

Not only can I not smell marijuana, but I can’t smell much of anything at all, because a kid in seventh grade band class punched me in the nose for telling the teacher that they’d left the room. I was incredibly naive back then, and I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to rat on other students, so when A.S. (name changed and disguised to protect their privacy) left the room as the teacher was taking roll, I made the mistake of telling the teacher about it when he called their name. Then when they came back, someone else told them about it, and they came up to me and punched me hard in the nose because I’d tattled on them. My nose bled so heavily that day that my dress was ruined, and they had to take me to the hospital to have it X-rayed to make sure it wasn’t broken.

Fortunately my nose wasn’t broken, but my sense of smell was forever changed. About the only things I can smell now are certain flowers, in particular gardenias.

That was over 50 years ago, and I’ve forgiven A.S., but I still can’t smell much more than a few kinds of flowers. I’m okay with that, and if I’m stuck with a sense of smell that’s narrowed down to a few flowers and nothing more, then I’m grateful that I can smell flowers, because flowers are beautiful. Gardenias have a truly heavenly scent. I hope Heaven will smell like gardenias, though I imagine it will probably smell even more amazing and wonderful than that, even beyond my wildest imagination.

7 We speak about the mystery of God’s wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. 8 Not one of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as Scripture says: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (Isaiah 64:4), Names of God Bible.

I’ve wondered about God’s wisdom in giving me this particular cat, because I’ve had so many problems with her. But I’ve also wondered if I jumped the gun and got a cat too soon out of impatience, because I wanted a cat so badly. So maybe I got the wrong cat because I should have waited for God to send me the perfect cat ~ and maybe that’s why I’ve had so many problems with her. She certainly has tried my patience, that’s for sure.

So that’s the latest chapter in the continuing saga of Charlotte the Cat. She continues to be a mystery, because I don’t understand much of what she does, and she remains the cat with more energy than any cat I’ve ever seen or known. She is the busiest one cat I’ve ever seen. She allows me to be closer to her if I’m sitting on my couch, but she still runs away if I walk towards her. At least for the time being I’ve solved the problem with her peeing on my stuff by keeping her out of my bedroom entirely, and keeping her away from my cross stitch. My bedroom door is always closed, and my cross stitch goes with me wherever I go, or it stays in my bedroom behind closed doors.

God is good ALL the time, regardless of what’s happening, good or bad, in my life.

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!!

Rats. I Just Gotta Let Myself Feel the Pain, ‘Cuz Wherever I Go There I Am.

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The other evening as I was watching the news, they announced that Olivia de Havilland had died, and then later on they announced that Regis Philbin had died as well. While Olivia de Havilland might not be as familiar to many people nowadays as Regis Philbin was, she was very familiar to people my age and older. She played Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind, one of her best known roles, and one for which she received an Oscar nomination. She was 104 when she died.

My point in mentioning these people’s deaths is that when I heard the news of their passing, it hit me rather hard ~ harder than I would have expected ~ and I’ve reached a point with this blog where my first thought when I’m upset about something is to come here and talk about it with you, my followers.

So here I am…

My immediate reaction when I heard the news of de Havilland’s and Philbin’s deaths was to run away. What ran through my mind was that everything was happening way too fast, and I couldn’t control it. And then I reminded myself that I’m not in control anyway, and running away is useless, because regardless of where I go, I’m still with me. Or, wherever I go, there I am, one of my favorite existential statements.

It’s impossible to escape from myself, and it’s also impossible to escape from God,

I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your Presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your Hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night ~ but even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You. ~ Psalm 139:7-12, NLT.

Though, now that I think of it, while I might want to escape from myself, I don’t want to get away from God, because God is the only One who truly understands me and wants the best for me. And once I realized that I couldn’t run away from the pain of losing familiar parts of my life, and that I couldn’t control how quickly everything was happening, I started to cry, because I realized I had to let myself feel the pain.

And who wants to do that? It’s so very painful afterall, and no one likes to experience pain.

But then I remembered that Jesus allowed Himself to feel pain. He wept when He learned that Lazarus had died, the shortest verse in the Bible,

Jesus wept. John 11:35, NKJV.

And the cross was the ultimate expression of Jesus feeling pain, because on the cross He bore the sin, pain, and sickness of all mankind forever. In fact, that was why He came to earth and assumed human flesh in the first place,

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but He has now revealed Him to you in these last days. ~ 1 Peter 1:18-20, NLT.

I love that. God chose Jesus to be my ransom long before the world began. It just boggles my mind that God would plan that far ahead for my salvation, and I love Him for that. That says to me that He was thinking of me for a very long time before I was ever a thought in my parents’ minds, and not only me, but every single human being who ever existed.

And if Jesus can make that choice, can choose to do the hard stuff, even the hardest stuff of all, and experience the excruciating agony of the cross, and even worse, the abandonment of His Father, so that I ~ we ~ can have relationship with Him, well, then I can make the same choice, and allow myself to feel the comparatively small pains of my life.

I thank You, Jesus, and my Father, and Holy Spirit, for giving me that choice, and for giving me the ability and strength to make it!

WOW!! PRAISE GOD FOREVERMORE!!

Joyful Celebration and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

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Today, March 20, is my birthday. I turn 67 years old today. I’m not one of those people who is afraid of getting old. I’m proud of my age because it’s proof of God’s work in my life. God has gotten me this far, and I give Him all the glory.

Today I’m going to start working on a counted cross stitch project that I purchased for my birthday. It’s a beautiful sampler from a company called Long Dog Samplers. Long Dog Samplers is based in Great Britain, and is owned by a woman named Julia Line. She’s the one who designs all the samplers, and every one of them is truly a work of art.

I actually bought three samplers from Long Dog Samplers. Originally I was going to buy five or six, but that would have been too expensive, so I whittled it down to three. The one I’m going to make first is called Plight of Fancy, and it looks like this:

Plight-of-Fancy

I was drawn to this sampler because of the vivid colors, plus samplers are my favorite kind of cross stitch. Julia (her friends call her Jools) got her inspiration for this sampler from 17th century European band samplers. I think it’s beautiful, don’t you?

I’m also going to do some reading, and I’m going to see if I can get some ice cream, which, given the current quarantine situation, should be an interesting endeavor. I’m going to see if I can order some Ben & Jerry’s pints. I have two favorite flavors: Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core, and Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core.

Here’s a little update: there’s this company called Instacart where you can order and pay for your groceries online. Then one of their shoppers will go to one of the local markets, purchase your order for you, and deliver it to your home. So that’s what I did, and my order just arrived!

Way cool! Now I can celebrate my birthday with Ben & Jerry’s!

I think I’ll be using Instacart again. It’s so much easier than leaving and going to the store myself, especially now when everyone has to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus.

I want to end by listing what I’m grateful for. I have SOOO MUCH for which to be thankful!! First and foremost is the cross and Christ’s sacrifice for my sins. If it weren’t for Jesus dying on the cross for me, I would be dead, because one of my suicide attempts would have succeeded. I thank God that none of them did. I’m so glad to be alive that I can’t express it in words.

I’m also grateful for God’s Word. I love the Bible, and I fall more in love with it everytime I read it, because each time God shows me some new aspect of His character, or some fresh tidbit about the way different parts of it are connected to each other. He also shows me in many different ways how deeply He loves me, which is always healing to know.

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. ~ Psalm 19:7-11, NIV.

So on this anniversary of my birth I have much to be thankful for. I used to think my birthday was cursed because it’s usually on the first day of Spring. In the cult the first day of Spring is a fertility rite, and is celebrated as such. So I used to think that the cult planned my birthday to be on March 20th so I could be used for sexual purposes in the cult, and as a consequence I hated my birthday.

But in recent years God has shown me that He wanted me to be born on March 20th, because it is the first day of Spring, and it’s symbolic of the new birth in Christ. When I understood that I felt much better about it, and now I like the fact that my birthday is on the first day of Spring most years.

God is SOOO GOOD to me!!

God is good ALL the time!!

I Would Make a Terrible God

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I would not want God’s job, not for any amount of money or the most amazing and desirable gift. For one thing, I would make a lousy God. I just don’t have the wisdom needed to do all the things God has to do, and make all the decisions He has to make. I have a hard time managing my own affairs, much less trying to oversee anyone else’s life.

For another thing, I wouldn’t want the responsibility. God must have incredibly thick skin to do what He does all day long without caring what people think of Him. I mean, He wants people to love Him because He wants a relationship with them, but He does what’s best for each person without regard for whether they’ll be happy about His decisions or not. There aren’t too many people who’ll be happy about having to suffer, but sometimes that’s what’s needed for the development of a person’s character. And I’m convinced that God is much more interested in our character growth and maturation than He is in whether we’re happy or not.

I realize that makes Him sound like a bit of an ogre, and He’s not. He’s a good God who loves His creation. The Bible says God is love,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~ 1 John 4:7-8, NKJV.

It doesn’t say that God feels loving, though I’m sure He does. It says He IS LOVE. In other words, love is a part of who He is, not just how He feels. There’s a difference, and it’s reflected in His actions, as it speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV. 

You could substitute the word God everywhere that the word love is used in that passage, because in essence they’re synonymous words for the same thing, because, as I quoted above in 1 John 4:8, God is love.

God feels intensely and deeply, but He’s not moved by His feelings, nor is He ruled by them. Feelings are notoriously unreliable, and if you let yourself be ruled and led by them your life will be stormy and unstable.

This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I’m still learning it. It’s not an easy one to grasp, but I’ve discovered that if I found my life on the solid rock of God’s Word, my existence, both day-to-day and longterm, is much more peaceful, joy-filled, and productive than if I live according to the shifting sand of my emotions. I still stumble, of course, but it’s much easier to pick myself up and go on, because I can always call on God. 

Just so long as I remember that being God is God’s job, not mine. And I would make a terrible God anyway.

The Gadarene and Me

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I’ve always felt a great affinity for the Gadarene demoniac, whose story is told in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-37. As the story goes, Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee and landed in the region of the Gadarenes  (some manuscripts say Gerasenes; still others read Gergesenes), because Jesus had told them to go to the other side of the lake, and land there.

When they disembarked their boat, they were immediately set upon by a demon-possessed man, known as the Gadarene demoniac, so called because he had many demons, and he had been unable to live in civilized society for a long time. Luke 8 describes it well,

As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. ~ Luke 8:27, NLT.

The passage also says that people had tried many times to restrain the man with chains and shackles without success. Each time he’d simply broken the chains and torn off the shackles, and then was driven into the wilderness by the demons who possessed him, deserted and abandoned by everyone who knew him,

For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was guarded, bound by chains and shackles, he would snap the restraints and be driven by the demon into deserted places. ~ Luke 8:29, CSB.

Over the years I’ve mentioned several times to a number of people that I’ve felt like I could relate strongly to this poor soul, but each time my feelings were discounted. I was told that any feelings I might have for this man couldn’t be real because I’d never been possessed by a legion of demons as he was.

I hate it when someone treats me like that. By denying my feelings, they’re denying who I am as a person. No one likes being disrespected like that ~ because that’s exactly how I felt whenever someone told me that ~ completely disrespected. And it’s taken me all these years to understand that, and to figure out that those people were wrong.

It’s not a matter of whether or not I’ve been possessed by one or a million demons that makes the difference. What makes it so I can relate to this guy is the fact that I understand how he FELT. Because whether or not I’ve been possessed by any demons at all, I’ve experienced the same feelings he did. I’ve felt abandoned and rejected, as he surely must have felt when he was driven from his home and forced out of his town, both by the demons that controlled him, and by the neighbors and friends who feared him.

When I was multiple there were times when a child alter would come out. If that happened when I was out in public, my behavior would get a little strange. It would look like I was talking to myself, or all of a sudden I would start talking like a small child, or I might have a panic attack and begin hitting myself. That kind of behavior in a public place is terribly off-putting to other people, and I had very few friends, because most people who knew me weren’t willing to put themselves in the position where they might be embarrassed by my weird behavior should I be triggered by an environmental cue into having a panic attack, or switching into another alter.

So while I’ve gotten used to being alone, and most of the time even enjoy it, there used to be times where I got lonely, because most people didn’t want to be around me. Now I really like being alone, at least partly because I never feel alone. I can always feel the presence of the Holy Spirit with me and in me, and I talk to God all the time ~ my version of prayer, I guess.

Once I realized that God had been with me throughout my childhood, saving my life and protecting me from the worst of the abuse, I understood that everything He’d said in His Word about never leaving me nor forsaking me was actually true.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, ESV.

This promise is quoted from the Book of Joshua,

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Joshua 1:5, NIV.

I find that promise to be cause for great rejoicing, and very comforting. For the first time in my life I have someone who is willing to keep His promises, who will always tell me the truth and not lie to me, and who will always be with me wherever I go. Also, if the Bible is any indication, and if McT is telling the truth (McT is my therapist and I trust him), then God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit actually like spending time with me. McT says I’m a delight to be with.

I’m not quite sure what to do with that information. The most obvious thing would be to accept it as true, but I want to ask McT how he knows that. He said that he himself finds me delightful to be with, but he also said that God thinks I’m a delight to be with as well.

So how does he know that? ‘Tis a puzzler for me, and a delightful one at that, pun intended.

And on that note I’ll end, at least for now, but I’m sure this is a topic I’ll be revisiting often.

Am I Afraid of Anger, or Do I Get Angry at the Fear?

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I originally wrote this post back in April of 2013 for a blog that I kept on another blogging site. That blog was shut down by the website without my consent, and I was never able to get it back, so from time to time I’m going to repost some of the posts I wrote from that blog as they seem appropriate to what I’m dealing with now.

This post contains a letter that I wrote to my biological father to deal with some of the unexpressed anger and rage that I feel about what he did to me. My therapist suggested that I write it but not send it, so that’s what I’ve done. Here’s the post:

April 10, 2013 ~ I’ve come to realize that most of the anger I feel and/or express is misplaced and  misdirected, either at myself, or at the people in whatever TV program I’m watching at the time, especially if it’s something having to do with someone being raped or abused, or being treated unjustly or unfairly in anyway. I also get angry at certain news stories having to do with violence against children or women, or about registered sex offenders.

I’ve also found it interesting and a bit puzzling that I’ve never once felt, much less voiced, any anger towards my father for all the awful, horrible things he did to me. I have forgiven him, and I’ve never ever had any desire for revenge, but by the same token, I’ve also never felt any anger towards him. I don’t know if it’s because I’m terrified that he’ll come after me or because I’m afraid I’ll go ballistic if I start letting it out, or just what.

So maybe it’s time for me to do something about it. It’s not good to hold anger inside, especially for long periods of time, and while I’m getting better at not holding my anger inside, when I do let it out it’s almost always directed at the wrong person. So I’m thinking I should do something to express some of it towards my father, instead of towards me and all the other people who aren’t supposed to get it. My therapist says I should write him a letter, but I wouldn’t have to mail it to him. So that’s what I’ll do.

May 15, 2013 ~ I think it’s curious and probably significant that, after I start thinking about writing a letter to my father to tell him how angry I am at him, even if I know he’ll never see it, all of a sudden I avoid this blog like the plague. I wrote the first part of this post at the beginning of April and now it’s the middle of May.

Up until now I’ve always avoided dealing with any real feelings about Harry, and I think the reason is because I’ve been afraid, terrified, actually. Terrified that I wouldn’t be able to control my anger, petrified I’ll go ballistic and do something I’ll regret later ~ all because I’m panic-stricken at the idea of no longer hiding my true feelings about him. As I was sitting here thinking about what to write, I beat a retreat in the middle of this paragraph to play solitaire. Sometimes it helps me to think. Actually I think it’s an excuse for not having to think or write about what I’m supposed to be working on. Anyway, I started playing Solitaire and it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to (I was losing game after game) so I got more and more frustrated, and I ended up hitting myself a whole lot. Which is the point of all this in the first place: I get angry at myself instead of getting angry at the person ~ Harry ~ who’s the one I should be getting angry at.

So I’m going to step out in faith, and instead of being afraid of the anger, I’m going to get angry at the fear, and I’m going to start writing that letter. So here goes.

Harry:

First, I have to say that there are certain things about my childhood for which I’ve always been grateful: the piano lessons, and the love for classical music that you and Mom instilled in me, plus the keen intelligence, analytical mind, and desire for knowledge that have made me a voracious reader, and given me a life-long love of learning.

I have a lot of things to say to you. A LOT. You’re supposed to be my father, at least that’s the title they gave you on my birth certificate. I have to tell you, however, that I don’t buy it. You’ve never been a father to me. I’ve had a lot of memories of things you did to me when I was a child that no father should ever do to ANY child, much less his own daughter ~ that no human being should ever do to any other human being. Even animals shouldn’t be treated the way you treated me. So I have a hard time calling you my father.

You abused me. You abused me physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. You made me hate you, and you made me hate myself. Everytime you abused me you told me you had to do it because God hated me. Everytime you abused me you told me I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face. I don’t know why you felt the need to say those awful, hateful things to me. It took me many, many years of healing before I could believe that God didn’t hate me, and many more years after that before I could believe that anyone, much less God, could love me. I’m still working on whether or not I’m ugly. I think I can finally say that I’m not ugly, but I’m not sure I can take it any farther than that yet.

I’ve finally decided that maybe you told me those things because you were projecting onto me how you felt about yourself. However, that’s no excuse for that kind of cruelty! Do you have any idea the kind of pain just those two statements spoken over and over into my life have caused me? Agony! Do you hear me? Agony! You caused me years and years of anguish and agony, plus nine suicide attempts just from those two statements, not to mention the torment from all the other horrific and terrible things you did to me.

You abused me within an inch of my life. The only reason I survived infancy is because God gave me the ability to become multiple.

You forced us to lie about what you were doing to us so you could keep on beating, raping, and otherwise assaulting the life out of us. You told us that if we ever told anyone what you were doing to us you would kill us, and then you played Russian Roulette with your revolver between our legs to make sure we believed you. There was no way we could have known back then that the gun was loaded with blanks. We were children, tiny children, so we had no choice but to believe you, and we had to become liars that no one could trust as a result. You stole our integrity,  our innocence, our childhood, and our hope when you did that, because you left us with no recourse and no ability to seek rescue.

Do you remember our habit of picking our cuticles? We started doing that at a very early age, as young as age two. Do you know why we did that? Because you told us we couldn’t tell anyone what you were doing to us, so we had to come up with a way to tell people without using words that we were in peril. So we picked holes in our cuticles, sometimes to the point of getting them infected. Tragically for us, our efforts were all for naught, because no one ever caught on or reached out to help.

You used rape as punishment for wrongdoing, and you kept changing the rules so we never knew what they were. It didn’t matter what we did or how we did it, it was never good enough, so no matter what, we were wrong and had to be punished, which meant you had yet another excuse to rape and/or hit us. I don’t know what we did to become the brunt of your rage; I doubt we did anything. We think you just needed a scapegoat, and we were small and weak enough that we couldn’t fight back.

And then there was the time when we were three when you decided that just raping us yourself wasn’t enough; you needed to spice it up by getting your friends involved. So you orchestrated a little gang-rape with four of your cronies. I don’t know what you were hoping to accomplish that day, but it certainly couldn’t have been anything good.

Do you have any idea of how traumatic that event was for us? That one incident was so devastating, so damaging to us that it, and you, caused the creation of 12, that’s right, twelve, new alters. It was so horrific that Catherine Belinda, the core personality, decided she’d had enough of your lies and betrayals. She determined that she couldn’t stand your abuse any longer, so despite the risk and menace inherent in your threats, she resolved to tell someone, anyone, what you were doing to us. But God and the rest of us, knew that you meant business when you said you’d kill us if we told. So God and the rest of us hid Catherine Belinda away and put her to sleep, and kept her that way for the next fifty years. In her place a new alter was created to run things. The new alter’s name was Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, but she answered to Catherine Belinda’s name so no one would notice or suspect anything was different.

You know, all we wanted was to be accepted and loved. That’s all any child wants. Was that too much to ask? We don’t think it was, but you couldn’t even give us that. A child is a gift from God, yet you treated us like trash. You acted like we were your personal property to kick around and beat up as you pleased. We were a small, innocent child! You were nothing more than a cowardly bully, picking on your own daughter, someone who was too small and defenseless to stand up for ourselves. If you’re going to pick on someone, pick on someone your own size!

I think the thing that hurts me more than anything else about all the horrors you visited on me/us throughout the years of my childhood is that you made it nigh unto impossible for me to have a relationship with a man, or with God. I’m terrified of men and I’m terrified of sex. As a consequence I’ve never been able to consider even going out on a date, much less anything more serious, because I might have to let him touch me, and ultimately I might have to marry him and have sex with him.

Fortunately, as far as a relationship with God is concerned, God had other plans, and it’s only by His grace and mercy that I’m alive to tell this story, or that I know anything about Him at all. I owe my life to God and to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and it’s only because of His healing power that I’m able to trust Him or believe in Him. I will never be able to express enough gratitude to God for all He has done for me in setting me free from all that you did to me. One thing you should know however, is that the God of Love who healed me won’t allow me to hate you anymore.

That’s right. Jesus loves you just as much as He loves me or anyone else, without reservation or condemnation, and because He’s healed me, He’s helped me to forgive you for everything you did to me. And yes, I have forgiven you. I don’t want revenge, I don’t desire any kind of evil to come to you, and I wish only good for you. This teeny weeny paragraph stating my forgiveness may sound a little simplistic and trite, like nothing more than a bunch of platitudes after my great long letter expressing a lot of pent up rage and vitriol. In truth I was only expressing my heart and my truth as I saw it. But my forgiveness is real and heartfelt, and the ball is now in your court. It’s your choice as to whether you will accept or reject it, because with my forgiveness, I’m also offering reconciliation with you and the possibility of a relationship. I don’t know if that’s something you desire, but my offer is there if you choose to accept it.

That’s all for now. I wish peace with God and health for your body and soul. I know that you now suffer from emphysema and are on 24-hour oxygen, and I wish healing for you from that as well.

Blessings and Peace,

Sarah

Well, thankfully it’s finished. As an addendum, I want to add a little bit of history to bring the story of the multiplicity aspect up to date.

As I said in the middle of the letter, at age 27, in October of 1980, I changed my name from Catherine Belinda Pfaff to Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. At the time I was only just beginning to have memories of being abused and I had no idea I was multiple. I thought I was changing my name to cut myself off from a heritage of abuse, and I thought I was choosing a new name. So I chose three names that were Bible names or words with really good meanings, and that meant things I had never meant to anyone before: Sarah means, “Princess,” and Sarah, of course, was Abraham’s wife and the mother of Isaac. Abigail means, “a father’s joy, or a joy to the Father,” and Abigail was one of David’s wives, and a virtuous woman in the Bible. And Kuriakos means, “belonging to God” and is used twice in the New Testament.

In reality, I was already Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, but I was consciously unaware of it. Everyone inside decided that the name of the body, which had been Catherine Belinda up until then, should be changed to match my name so there would be more congruence between inside and outside. It made sense. Catherine Belinda was hidden away and asleep, and had been for a long time, and would remain that way indefinitely, so it didn’t make any sense to keep using her name. It made much more sense to use my name because I was running things, so we found a lawyer amongst the people at my church, and we went to court and change it to my name. And strangely enough, the change wasn’t at all hard to adapt to. It was like that should have been my name all along. I’d had this weird feeling for awhile that Catherine Belinda was a name that belonged to someone else ~ which turned out to be true, interestingly enough, in a strange sort of way. Plus all my friends said that Sarah Abigail fit me much better than Catherine Belinda did. Funny thing! Maybe that was because Sarah Abigail was actually my name and Catherine Belinda wasn’t.

And being Sarah Abigail Kuriakos has made a huge difference in my life, and brought me closer to God. Everytime I hear the names I hear their meanings, and God has used that to heal me a tiny bit everyday. Plus I’m no longer multiple. In October of 2001 I decided I wanted to seek integration, so I went to the pastor of the church I was going to at the time, and asked him if they could help me with that. I knew that the process of integration takes many years, often in excess of ten, if it’s done in therapy, and I wanted God to do the healing, not some shrink. So my pastor and some people in the church who knew of my background set up a team of prayer warriors, and they prayed for me once a month over a period of 18 months, and by the end of that time I was fully integrated. It was a wonderful thing. Instead of being many I was one ~ for the first time in my entire life! There was no longer any chaos or confusion inside. Blessed peace! Wow!! Praise God!! And the really cool thing was that the process was complete right around my fiftieth birthday. And just before the final integration was done, God woke up Catherine Belinda and brought her out of hiding so that she could be integrated into the whole along with everyone else. Amazingly, God had been watching over her the whole time, and had been causing her to grow while she was asleep, so when she came back it wasn’t a huge shock to her system. I was seeing a really good Christian therapist at the time, and she was fully supportive of the prayer group’s work. I remember the day when Catherine Belinda woke up. It was March (?) of 1999 and the day of the First-Brush-Stroke Ceremony at the Bowers Museum for Raúl Anguiano’s first mural, and I had been invited, amazingly enough. I was working at Pearl Arts and Crafts Store in Huntington Beach, and Raúl had come into the store for his art supplies for the ceremony and for the mural completion to follow, and I had decided that I was going to be there when he came in, come what may. So when he came in, I was there and I helped him get what he needed. He was such a nice guy! So he invited me to the ceremony, and he allowed me to come and watch him paint the mural afterward, over a period of weeks. Wow! And then he gave me a gift of one of his small lithographs, personally signed by him to me!

Well anyway, the day of the ceremony, I had this strange feeling all day long that someone new was using the body, that it wasn’t really me. My eyes felt hypersensitive to light, like I’d been in a very dark place for a long time, and my eyes needed to have time to adjust to the light. Fortunately I had a therapy session that afternoon before I had to be at the ceremony at the Bowers, so I spent my session talking about the weird sensations I’d been having all day, and what they might mean. We finally came to the conclusion that Catherine Belinda was waking up so she, along with everyone else could go to the ceremony at the Bowers. It seemed like God had planned it that way, so who was I to argue>

And then there was the whole situation with Klepto, who was a little four-year-old girl who stole things because that was the only way she knew of to get what she wanted. Of course stealing is, and always has been, absolutely antithetical to everything I am, so when she came out and started stealing stuff from work (I was still working at Pearl at the time), I got very upset. The first thing we did was talk to her and tell her she couldn’t do this. She had to take everything back, and put it back where she got it without getting caught, because I didn’t want to lose my job. Then, on the advice of my therapist, we changed her name to Elizabeth, because Klepto as a name was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. She came out one more time in a toy store where she tried to shoplift a game. Fortunately I came out and stopped her before she could leave the store with it, but it was rather embarrassing. And then she was integrated into the whole, and was no longer a problem, thank God!

So, God gave me the most amazing and wonderful birthday gift for my fiftieth birthday, and I’ve been eternally grateful ever since. I can’t thank Him enough. Certainly I’ve had my struggles since then. There was the whole seven-year period where I was angry at God because I couldn’t understand how He could allow me to be abused. It turned out that what I really didn’t understand was about God’s sovereignty, and that I didn’t have the right to challenge it, which was what I had been doing. And then I realized that all I really wanted to know was where God was when I was being abused. And ultimately God showed me. He showed me that He had been right there with me, protecting me by making me multiple, saving my life by creating new alters as they were needed. Each time there was an abuse incident that was severe enough to require a new alter, God put His finger on my personality in the exact spot where He wanted the split to occur. It was God who created Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, and chose her name ~ which gives the meaning of the names even more significance when I think of it in that light. Wow…

Well, I guess I’d better finish this and post it. It’s turned out to be VERY long, a lot longer than I expected, though all of it was important and needed to be said.

Until next time then…

Go To Forgiveness, Go Right To Forgiveness. Don’t Pass Through Guilt, Don’t Go To Condemnation.

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God’s been working some changes in me over the last few weeks, and I’m so excited that I have to tell everyone about it.

I don’t play computer games. Well, not very much anyway.

Well, two games.

Fine, three games.

Okay, okay, four! Gimme a break!

It really is only four: two online games, one called June’s Journey, and one called Ravenhill: Hidden Mystery. I also play a crossword game, and a game that’s a combination between mahjong and solitaire, called Mahjong Solitaire Epic. The two online games are hidden object games. I play the crossword game to, hopefully, increase my vocabulary, and I like Mahjong Solitaire Epic because it requires strategy and makes me think as I’m playing, plus the graphics are beautiful.

My point in talking about my computer games is that, until about three weeks ago, everytime I played one of the games I experienced a great deal of frustration everytime I made a mistake, with subsequent panic/rage attacks and consequent self-abuse.

I used to get so angry at myself when that happened! I had to forgive myself for the self-abuse, and forgiving myself has always been like pulling teeth for me, plus whenever I get upset enough to hit myself, I always feel like I need to ask God to forgive me.

Playing these games has always been a struggle for me, because I’ve always had the feeling that I’m not supposed to be playing them, yet if I stop playing, then I’m afraid I’ll get bored.

So about a month-and-a-half ago, in a drastic move, I deleted all my games. I got tired of feeling like I was disappointing God by playing the games, plus I knew I was spending way too much time playing, so I decided to get rid of all of them.

Then after about four days, I realized I’d made a mistake, especially with one particular game, June’s Journey. And of course, June’s Journey is the one I like the most.

When I deleted it I was at Level 299, going on Level 300, and I was in the middle of upgrading the pirate ship, with only the country mansion left to renovate (I’d already finished upgrading the lighthouse and the chapel). I’d been playing for about a year-and-a-half, and was far advanced. I then realized my mistake and tried unsuccessfully to re-download it at the same level as before, but when my efforts were ineffective I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to play June’s Journey, I’d have to start over.

So that’s what I determined to do, but I realized I’d been spending far too much time playing when I could have been doing other things much more conducive to serving God. Things like reading my Bible more consistently and going to church on a regular basis.

Then God showed me that it’s okay for me to play the games as long as I do it in moderation. I decided I could do that. That I could manage.

All of this transpired a little over three weeks ago. Then I re-downloaded June’s Journey. All of a sudden, all the frustration that had driven me to hit myself was gone, simply gone. It was like there had been a sharp arrow embedded in my mind that got dinged whenever I made a mistake, causing agony and self-abuse everytime, and God had supernaturally removed the arrow and healed the wound it had made. So now, since the arrow is gone, so is the consequent frustration, and the subsequent self-abuse.

And along with everything else, forgiving myself is now easy.

I can’t tell you what peace and joy this change has brought me! It feels like God has done a miracle in me. In fact, I think He did, because one day I was hitting myself, and the next I wasn’t, and in addition, it was suddenly easy to forgive myself. I don’t know why I would doubt that, or find it strange, because He’s been doing miracles in me for years as He’s healing me.

GLORY TO GOD! HALLELUJAH TO JESUS! THANK YOU, HOLY SPIRIT!

I thank God for His inexpressible and unfathomable gifts to me! He is so good to me!

Love, the Highest Ethic

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An ethic is defined as a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct.

In Ravi Zacharias’ latest book, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, which was released in April, he wrote,

…love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will inevitably be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer.

~ Ravi Zacharias, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 04/2019, pg 3.

I love this quote. I especially love the logic of it. It shows me that God is logical, in addition to all His other amazing attributes. He’s a God of love and He’s logical. How cool is that!

I’ve been on a kick about free will lately. I think the most important part of what Ravi Zacharias said here is the part about love, combined with the part about free will. Without love, free will is an impossibility, and without free will, human beings wouldn’t know how to love, because they’d be nothing more than robots, all of which means that free will and love are inextricably intertwined. And what follows after that is a kind of cascade of logic.

And then God brings it down to meet me where I live. God loved me so much that He gave me a free will so I could choose whether I wanted to love Him back, or reject His love. He could have said, I love you, and you will love Me back, and that’s the way it will be.

But if He’d done it that way, I wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter, and I would have been a love-robot, or a love-slave, loving God by rote. That wouldn’t have been real love, though, would it? That would be slavish obedience; Yes, Master, No, Master; not obeying because you adored Him so much that you would do anything for Him out of love.

God wanted humans to love Him freely, not because they had to, and not because He’d commanded them to. So He took a risk, a huge risk, and created every human being with a completely free will so they could make their own choices. And if that person chose to reject God and His love for them, then so be it. But if that human accepted God’s love, then he’d receive everything in Heaven and on earth that God had to offer.

The way I see it, God gave me the most incredible gift anyone could ever present to me, the gift of salvation. And I didn’t have to do anything at all to earn it. It was completely free. All I had to do was believe it was mine and receive it.

I knew I needed to be saved, desperately, but I couldn’t understand why God, Master of the Universe, Creator of all Things, would want to save me, probably the worst sinner ever, though if He wanted to do so I wouldn’t argue with Him. I’d just accept it. I’m not one to turn down free gifts! Not me!

Even at that, it took me many years before I could trust Him enough to believe that He meant what He’d said in His Word, because of all the lies my father (Harry) had told me. He had to abuse me because God hated me, and I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face were the two main ones, because they were a litany he repeated over and over and over again until they were ingrained in my nervous system. The guy in the white robe posing as God, sitting on the throne, who sometimes looked like Harry, telling the others what to do to me in the cult rituals, was the other big one. 

It took many, many years of consistently reading and studying the Bible before God was able to replace the poison and lies with the truth. But it did happen, and still is happening even today. God is still healing me, because there are times where I find myself falling back into old ways, and believing old lies. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but it does happen from time to time. Now I know that God thinks I’m beautiful. That’s a truth I hold onto very tightly.

The upshot of it is that I’m incredibly grateful to God for everything He’s done for me. Not only has He saved me so that I’m able to know Him, and I get to go to Heaven when I die, the best double whammy ever, but He’s healed me ~ and is continuing to heal me ~ from the worst childhood ever. And if that wasn’t enough, He’s supplied my needs beyond all that I could ask or think. I never knew I could be this happy, or have this kind of peace or joy! My gratitude to Him makes me want to serve Him, makes me desire to love Him back, just because He’s been so good to me!

I know I still blow it, I still sin from time to time ~ far more often than I’d like. But when I do mess up, I pray that God will forgive me, because I value much too highly my close relationship with Him to want to stay in sin. Humans can’t help but sin, simply by the very fact that we’re human, but once we’re born-again, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, and He helps us to not sin.

And that’s, once again, where our free will comes in. We can still make choices one way or the other. The Holy Spirit, being our Helper, aids and strengthens us, if we’ll take His assistance, to choose the right way. He’ll help us to avoid temptation,

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT. 

Jesus called the Holy Spirit variously, the Comforter, the counselor, the advocate, and the helper, depending on the translation,

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me… ~ John 15:26, NASB.

But we still have to make the choice to take the Holy Spirit’s assistance. I still have to make the choice to take His help, follow His advice, and sometimes I don’t, I’m ashamed to say.

Interestingly, I can still feel God’s Presence with me, even when I do sin. He never leaves me, He never forsakes me, just as He promised in His Word,

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, ESV.

It makes me want to try ever harder to not sin at all!

God so amazing!