Category Archives: Obedience

The Continuing Saga of the Monster’s Death

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It’s been five or six days since Harry’s death, and I’ve had some time to cogitate on what that means for me. You wouldn’t think there’d be any meaning at all when someone dies who had pretty much no relationship with me, but he had a hugely destructive influence on my childhood, so regardless of whether there was any current relationship, it’s going to mean something to me when he dies. The problem is to figure out what that is.

The first conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m taking too much responsibility on myself for whether Harry accepted the gift of God’s grace. While Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature, ultimately the responsibility for making the seeds of the Gospel bear fruit is God’s problem,

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ~ Mark 16:14-15, NKJV.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV.

I love this passage from Isaiah. It says so many things to me. It tells me that God’s Word is alive, and that God will always make His Word bear fruit. It also says that God always keeps His promises ~ that He can always be depended upon to do what He says He’ll do, and He’ll always be faithful to keep His Word. In addition it says that God loves His Word ~ at least it says that to me. He loves it enough, and cares about it enough, that He will work to protect it and make sure it comes to fruition anytime it’s spoken.

So if I’m worried that I should be doing more to make sure that Harry makes it into Heaven, I’m worrying way too much. If nothing else, the decision was made the moment he died. Once he’s gone, there’s nothing more any human being can do to influence Harry’s decision, or God’s judgment about Harry’s destination. Plus a friend reminded me a couple of days ago that when someone ends up in Hell, they’re there because that’s where they want to be.

I guess I have a hard time believing anyone would actually want to be in Hell, because I know a little of what Hell is like, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, not even my worst enemy.

All that aside, I’m feeling bereft. I never had what most people would call a father. Certainly Harry wasn’t a father to me, and I never felt loved by my stepdad either. He tried, but I think maybe the damage done by the time he came around was so extensive that he couldn’t get beyond it to relate to me as he would to any “normal” person.

So, as I said, I feel bereft, regardless of the fact that Harry wasn’t in my life, and hadn’t been since he left when he and my mother got divorced when I was ten. It’s strange, because he was never a father to me, yet now that he’s gone, I miss him like he was, though what I’m missing may be the hope that he would become a father to me.

I’ve been hunting for a surrogate father my whole life, and everytime I thought I’d found one, something would happen and he’d go away. I finally gave up looking. I can sort of see why it’s not good to trust in an earthly substitute, but sometimes you need a pair of physical ears to talk to, and a pair of physical arms to give you a hug, and sometimes you need them to be male ears and arms ~ and I could never find that, not anywhere. It turned out to be impossible.

As I was talking with McT about this today, he got me thinking about the few times I saw Harry after the divorce. I can probably count them on one hand. There were two before my stepdad adopted my sister and me so we’d have his last name. Then there was a gap of twenty years or more, until I was about thirty-three. I hadn’t had any memories yet, and my Aunt Priscilla, Harry’s sister, suggested I visit him in West Virginia where he lived with his second wife. I hadn’t seen him in at least twenty years, and the first thing he did after I got there was take me out and buy me five pairs of underwear.

At the time I wasn’t sure how I felt about that gift, but it didn’t feel as truly weird, perverted, and inappropriate as it has since come to feel. When I told McT about it today, immediately his face got all scrunched up, and he said that it was a really inappropriate gift for a father to give his daughter.

I stayed with Harry and Elizabeth for a week, and all I remember about that time, aside from the underwear gift, was that Harry and Elizabeth argued a lot, and it was all about me. All these years I thought it was because she was jealous of me, but as McT and I were talking about it today, it came to me that they were arguing because she was telling him that his underwear gift was bizarre and wrong, and he was arguing back because he couldn’t understand what she was saying. To him, giving your daughter underwear was a perfectly natural thing to do.

EEeeewwwww!!!!

I know someone whose father gave her a red bra for her sixteenth birthday, which I always thought was really wrong. It’s strange how I couldn’t see that Harry’s gift of underwear to me was just as strange until I saw McT’s reaction. I guess I was too close to it to be able to see how weird it was, but now I get it really well!

Like I said above, EEeeeeewwwwww!!! Now it gives me the creeps! Back then it made me feel a little strange, but I had no idea why, because I’d had no memory of being abused by anyone, much less by Harry. In fact, I had no memory at all of the first ten years of my life. Those years were a huge blank for me. Since then God has been filling in the void with substance, though sometimes I’ve found myself wishing those years had stayed empty, because not knowing at times feels better than knowing.

And interestingly, it was after I got home from that visit that I had my first abuse memories, and they were perfectly awful ~ and I was in a therapy appointment with McT when they came out.

The only other meeting with Harry that I remember was a short one. I don’t remember when it happened, except that it was about thirty years ago ~ in the nineties, I think. The only thing I remember about it was that it ended in a fist-bump. Fist-bumps have only been popular in the last two or three years, and when he gave me one thirty years ago, I perceived it as him rejecting me and pushing me away. It felt incredibly off-putting. Now, I think, it’s supposed to be sign that someone is cool. Maybe that’s how he meant it, I don’t know, but that’s not how I took it. So maybe I misread his signal to me in that instance. Maybe I need to ask for his forgiveness.

So now I’m left with what to do with all I’ve discovered, and the first thing I know I must do is forgive. Always forgive. Forgiving has become foundational to who I am, and it’s not hard to forgive Harry, or anyone else who’s hurt me. The only one I have a problem forgiving is myself, though that’s getting easier as well, thank God.

This has been a really long post, I know, but this is a difficult topic, so I hope everyone will read the whole thing all the way through. Mostly, I want to give glory to God for helping me to think everything through with the proper insight, and for helping me to see Harry through the eyes of Jesus ~ as God sees him.

I know Jesus loves Harry as much as He loves me, or anyone else, so I have no right to hold unforgiveness or hatred against him, so I choose to bless him, and I wish peace and healing towards him.

I hope and pray he accepted God’s gift of salvation before he died! Glory to God for the cross!!

The Mystery of Forgiveness

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The Bible says only God can forgive sins,

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is He saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” ~ Mark 2:5-7, NLT.

This is a mysterious thing to me, because, while I understand the part about God being the only one who can forgive sins, I don’t understand why God then says that we are to forgive people as well. He even says if we don’t forgive other people, then He won’t forgive us. How can we forgive anyone if He’s the only one who can forgive? Makes no sense to me,

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15, NIV.

It becomes more understandable, at least to me, if you think of sin as being against God and God alone, as King David said in Psalm 51 after he’d sinned with Bathsheba, and conspired to murder her husband, Uriah the Hittite,

Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your judgment against me is just. ~ Psalm 51:4, NLT.

But that still doesn’t explain why God requires us to forgive if He’s the only one who can forgive. How is it possible for us to do so if He’s the only one who can? I don’t get it!

I know from hard personal experience that forgiveness on my part is a good thing to do. I’ve actually made myself physically sick by holding on to unforgiveness towards my sister because I was so angry at her for something she did to me that was incredibly hurtful. When I finally forgave her I was instantly healed, and all the turmoil and confusion that had entered my life because of the bitterness and unforgiveness I had entertained towards her simply left, and I was at peace again. It was a wonderful object lesson, and not one I plan on repeating.

So regardless of whether I understand why I’m supposed to forgive, I’m going to continue to do so. It’s enough that God commands me to forgive, even if I don’t understand why. It’s kind of like your mother telling you, “Because I said so!” when you asked why you had to do something when you were a kid, only it’s God saying it. It has so much more meaning and significance when God says it, seems to me.

So that’s my rumination for today. I don’t necessarily need anyone to solve it for me. It’s just something I puzzle on periodically, is all.

Thanks for letting me meander! I love all my followers! I wish I had more!

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!

The Gift of Free Will

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Something I’ve been thinking about recently is that Jesus was 100% obedient to God’s leadings 100% of the time. That just boggles my mind. I’m doing well if I’m obedient maybe 50% of the time.

Of course Jesus spent huge amounts of time in prayer, plus, even though He was 100% human, He was also 100% divine. But He was 100% human, and anyone who is human will always be tempted to disobey God.

Though all I’ve ever wanted is to know God and please Him, until now I’ve felt like a complete failure in that area. But I’ve come to realize that my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t please God, but rather that I doubted my faith in God. And notice that I said I doubted my faith in God, not that I doubted God. It’s an important distinction. Throughout my life, with everything I’ve been through ~ all the horrific abuse inflicted by Harry and my mother and the cult ~ I’ve never doubted that God existed, only that He loved me.

Now I’m confident that I do have faith in God, because I’ve been seeking Him ever since I became a Christian. It says in the Book of Hebrews,

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.

So if I’m to believe Scripture, and I definitely do, I must be pleasing God, and I must have faith, because I’m seeking Him, and I always have been. Sometimes I question my motives, but I’ve never stopped seeking Him, regardless of the reason why.

Praise God! Thankfully, that question has now been resolved!

But there’s still the problem of my almost constant disobedience, at least that’s what it feels like, though I think I know why I have such huge problem with it.

When I was being abused in the cult there would be someone in a white robe sitting on a throne telling the others what to do to me, and that person on the throne was God. And sometimes the person looked like Harry. So now when I’m trying to be obedient to God I can’t tell if it’s God, or the devil, or maybe Harry in my head telling me what to do. It gets all messed up and confused inside.

I used to have panic attacks about it all the time. Now I just try to live the way I think God wants me to and be done with it, though every once in a while I become aware of a specific leading. When that happens I go through the same confusion trying to figure out who’s talking, and whether I should obey whatever the instructions are. It’s never of any great import or significance, but if I can’t be obedient in the little things, I can’t realistically be expected to comply in the big ones, because I’m never sure whose voice I’m hearing.

A long time ago I did a drawing that well illustrates what this looks like:

Jesus-Harry-Satan Face of Confusion

The face with the halo and heart-shaped features is Jesus, the face in the middle is Harry, and the face with the horns and fangs is Satan, and they’re sitting on a throne in a white robe just like they are in my memories. The two mountains are my-mother-the-iceberg hanging around during cult rituals, pretending to ignore what they’re doing to me. And the Satan side is holding a cross dripping in blood, while the Jesus/God side is holding a dagger dripping in blood.

All of that is to say, that’s what the confusion looks like when I try to be led by the Spirit, because I can’t tell who’s talking to me.

I thank God that He’s not bound by my confusion and/or insufficiencies, and the Bible says that God is not the author of confusion,

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace… ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33a, ESV. 

I have to believe that God is able to lead me regardless of any hindrances or confusion on my part. Otherwise what hope do I have of being able to follow God given my present difficulties? I choose to trust that God is merciful and trustworthy, any problems I have in following Him notwithstanding.

Thank you Jesus for your unchanging love and faithfulness!