The Vagaries of Sleep ~ or Lack Thereof

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I do a lot of sleeping during the day, when I’m sitting on my couch, watching TV. I have the hardest time sleeping at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping. It’s very frustrating.

The word sleep occurs in Scripture 73 times in 65 verses, depending on the translation. (The above quoted numbers are for the New King James Version. In the King James it’s 82 times in 72 verses; in the New Living Translation it’s 63 times in 62 verses, and in the ESV it’s 61 times in 54 verses.)

I’m going to list some of my favorite verses on sleep…


I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for You, LORD, make me safe and secure. ~ Psalm 4:8, NET.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. ~ Psalm 121:1-8, NIV.

Even though verse 4 is where sleep is mentioned, I love the whole Psalm. It talks about God’s love and care for Israel, and all His children, both in this life and on into eternity, and it fills me with great comfort knowing how much God loves me.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for He grants sleep to those he loves. ~ Psalm 127:2, NIV.

In other words, don’t worry about where your next meal is coming from. God is your source; He will be faithful to supply your every need (see Philippians 4:19).

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. ~ Proverbs 3:21-24, NIV.

I love those passages! They give me hope that I’ll be able to sleep well on a consistent basis once the issues that are keeping me awake are resolved.

And now to the aforementioned issues…

I have a terrible case of insomnia, and I’ve had it for many years. I also have sleep apnea, even though I don’t snore. I have to use a CPAP machine with a full face mask every night. Otherwise I spend the whole of the next day sleeping in front of my TV.

Even when I do use my CPAP machine I don’t usually sleep that well, because I sleep in fits and starts, usually about three hours at a time, and once I wake up I usually can’t go back to sleep. Sometimes I can, but once again I wake up after about three hours. Every once in awhile I can sleep longer, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I know I have PTSD, and I’m fairly certain that’s a big part of what’s keeping me awake. In addition, there’s something about trying to fall asleep in silence that’s frightening to me, so I play Christian music or Scripture (the audio Bible downloaded from the internet) at a low volume to deal with the fear. Doing that helps a lot. I also know that I almost never remember my dreams, and the ones I do remember are really weird, and are usually nightmares.

I’m hypervigilant about practically everything. I jump at loud noises, and I cringe at being touched unless I know the person. I’m also terrified of going to the doctor. Fortunately I have a wonderful doctor who understands my issues and doesn’t make me do anything that will trigger a panic attack.

I don’t trust men at all. For the most part, men are the enemy, and men with beards are especially dangerous; the bushier the beard, the more treacherous the guy. There are a few men I feel like I can trust, McT (my therapist) being one of them.

Those are the issues I’m aware of. It sounds like there are a lot of them, I know, but I’m not worried about that. I’m trusting that God will deal with all of them at some point so I can start getting the sweet and peaceful sleep He promises me in His Word.

In the meantime I’m doing my level best to maintain God’s peace in my heart…

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! ~ Isaiah 26:3, NLT.

Hope Deferred, or the Unfulfilled Could

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Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ Proverbs 13:12, NLT.

I wanted to be a doctor since I was in the sixth grade. It was my lifelong dream, and I never considered any other occupation or career. My grandmother spent years fostering that desire by giving me books of medical illustrations (The Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations by Frank H. Netter).

Because medicine was my dream, all throughout high school and college I took classes that furthered my goal, plus I spent time reading articles about medical subjects that piqued my interest. And once my grandmother had started buying me medical books, I decided to buy them for myself as well, only the ones I got for myself were on different subjects.

I bought books on biology, cell biology, and biochemistry, in addition to the medical books that my grandmother was giving me, plus I had the textbooks from my classes that I added to my burgeoning library as well.

I loved having all those science books. They made me feel smart because I understood the information contained in them, but I’ve come to realize that that’s a lousy reason to buy a book. I’ve spent thousands of dollars over the years buying books solely because they made me feel smart. The problem was, once I had them I never did anything with them. I didn’t read them, I never even opened them, except for initially, right after I got them home.

Right after I bought them I had to play with them (what I call inspecting a new purchase). I would open the book and check out the table of contents to see if any of my favorite topics were there, and if so, where they were located. Then I would leaf through the book to see if I could find any interesting illustrations or diagrams, and scrutinize them to see if I could understand them, and if I could recognize any of the words in them ~ and I usually could.

The only books that were different were the books of medical illustrations that my grandmother gave me. Once I had them I didn’t ignore them like I did all the other science books. I still have those wonderful books. Periodically I still open them and peruse them. They remind me of how amazing God is, of what a marvelous Creator He is, and of what an extraordinary thing He’s done in designing and creating our bodies.

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank You, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything You do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly You know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when You created me in the secret place; carefully, skillfully You shaped me from nothing to something. ~ Psalm 139:13-15, The Passion Translation.

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.

Then, after years and years of buying books and taking classes, and hoping and desiring and preparing for a career in medicine, I started having memories of horrific abuse that happened when I was a child, before dreams of medical school ever began. Just the process of remembering was so disabling and debilitating that I couldn’t function. I tried to take the MCAT (the Medical College Admission Test) and did very poorly on it, but I decided to apply to one medical school anyway, even though my test scores were poor, and of course, I wasn’t accepted.

So now what? It had never occurred to me that I might not be able to be a doctor. I always assumed that this was God wanted me to do with my life. How better to serve God than to be involved with healing people? I never really asked Him about it, I just assumed. (Bad idea, by the way. You should always, always talk to God before pursuing a career path.)

You know what they say. If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans. Well I guess God had a good, long laugh at my expense, because I spent years telling Him my plan to go to medical school and become a doctor, all without knowing about my past and the destructive effect it would have on my life and ability to do things like go to school and study hard subjects.

Because I was drowning in the disappointment of losing medical school I couldn’t see beyond the disappointment to let go of that so God could lead me to something else. Even more, it never occurred to me that what God had planned for me would be even better ~ lots better ~ than anything I had planned for myself, including medical school. Plus, in the process of going through the emotional archeology of my childhood ~ a necessary endeavor, to be sure ~ I came to understand that having to touch people’s bodies as a doctor really turned me off. In some respects it actually frightened me, notwithstanding all the reverence and awe I feel for God because of His amazing creation.

And once I realized I had to give up on medical school, I spent years, and I do mean years, trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I tried music for a couple of years, but I couldn’t stand the idea of all that practicing. Then I figured out I could draw, so I tried graphic art and 3-D animation, which were a lot of fun but not where I was supposed to be career-wise. I also thought I might go to graduate school and become a therapist, but that didn’t pan out either, again because of my background. I even thought I’d go into forensic psychology ~ and racked up thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for the schooling, only to discover that I couldn’t handle the work, once again because of my background. The classes just stirred up too many memories.

Fortunately, God isn’t moved by such obstacles, and He always had a plan for my life. The problem has been cluing me in to what that plan was.

It’s only been a short time since I’ve come to realize all this, so I’m still processing what it means. But I think one thing I have to do is release the whole medical school thing: my lifelong desire to go, the disappointment in losing that dream when I had nothing with which to replace it, and all the years of wandering around blindly since then trying to land on a productive life, all without success.

I’m 68 years old now, and it feels like it’s too late to begin a new career, but somehow, thankfully, I don’t think God works on the same timetable as humans do. I think I need to trust that God, Who loves me beyond all imagining, and always has my best interests at heart, will have a plan for me that I will love and that I can do, even at my age. I need to trust that God’s plan for me will be a good plan, a fun plan, and a productive plan that will help me serve Him and bring Him glory ~ my fondest desire, by the way ~ while at the same time providing for my needs.

Because at the end of the day, God is a GOOD God, and He only has good plans for me. I choose to believe that!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinking the Anger Titanic

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In my last post (Taken Over By Aliens) I wrote about the way I tend to catastrophize everything when I get upset, amongst other things. It doesn’t take anything for me to get upset, it seems, and I’d really like it to change. It’s exhausting to get upset and angry all the time, especially when it’s over little things. If I only got angry over big things, then maybe it wouldn’t happen so often, but it happens ALL the TIME!! And I’m SOOO TIRED of it!!

I just want it to STOP!!

When I was talking to McT about it during my FaceTime session on Tuesday, I told him how distressed it made me feel everytime I got upset, because I felt like I must be disappointing God. Instead of trusting Him with whatever the situation is, I get upset about it and fall apart. Thankfully I’m no longer hitting myself, but I don’t want to get upset about it either. I just want to keep my peace and trust that God has the situation in hand. But somehow I can’t seem to do that, no matter what I do.

It’s SOOO ANNOYING!!

Then McT presented me with an entirely new thought about this problem, one which I had never considered before, and it completely changed my perspective on it. He suggested that maybe my responses to these situations that make me fall apart are because of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

PTSD?? PTSD?? Oh my! I had never thought of that before!! If it’s PTSD that’s driving my responses, that makes me feel like I’m not doing it on purpose!

Let me explain what I just said…

When I was a kid and I did something like spilling the milk at the dinner table, I had to act remorseful ENOUGH, otherwise my mother accused me of spilling it on purpose. Remorseful ENOUGH meant doing something like cleaning up the spilled milk mess that I had just made while apologizing and crying and hitting myself. I think this was probably the genesis of the self-abuse that happened in later years. I had to act abjectly apologetic. This involved a great deal of weeping and crying and expressions of sorrow. I never could seem to convince them (my parents) that I didn’t do it on purpose. None of my explanations or expressions of remorse and sorrow over this seemingly heinous act of spilling the milk were ever adequate to persuade them or satisfy them that I wasn’t the evil child who was trying to make things difficult for my mother.

It makes me feel frenzied inside when I think back to these situations, panic-stricken that I could never make it right, no matter how hard I tried. I can see the little ones running around frantically inside, grasping at air and screaming in terror because my mother was sitting there stone-faced, because one of us had clumsily knocked over a glass of milk by accident. And if she was sitting there stone-faced, that meant we were gonna get hit.

IMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRY!!!!

Damn, Mom!! You NEVER knocked over ANYTHING by accident??!! You were the PERFECT CHILD??

I DON’T THINK SO!!!

When I started writing out I’m sorry over and over and over again, it’s like a deep and gigantic well of tears was released, and I started to weep and sob huge gulping sobs. I think I had never really dealt with the spilt milk issue. I may have more to do. If so, God will be there with me to do it…

So the idea that PTSD could be what’s behind me getting upset all the time? Well, that generates a whole new line of thought for me. For one thing, instead of God’s judgment, which is what I’ve always felt when I’ve worried that He’s disappointed in me, all of a sudden I can feel His mercy. If it’s PTSD then I can feel His mercy and love. It’s like PTSD gives me a valid reason for why I do what I do, and I’ve never had that before.

And maybe PTSD explains why I’m angry in the first place.

Now that’s an interesting thought, and one which I’ll probably have to explore further in future posts…

I don’t want PTSD to become the catchall excuse for everything in my life, like for example, why did you rob that store?

(I’m trying to think of an example that involves something that I would NEVER EVER do…)

Well, I robbed that store because my father hit me when I was little, so now I have PTSD. The PTSD made me rob the store.

NO!! NO!! NO!!

The PTSD that I have now as an adult is a result of the abuse inflicted on me by my parents when I was little. But now that I’m an adult, what I do with that is MY RESPONSIBILITY. I can’t blame any wrong behavior or sin that I might commit now on what they did to me as a child. I am responsible for my actions now, even if they are informed by what happened to me as a child.

Okay, so back to PTSD and my anger…

I get angry ALL the TIME, and over the littlest things, as I explained earlier. It happens a lot while I’m watching TV, and especially when I’m watching programs about true crime, and in particular while I’m watching programs about child abuse and domestic violence. I spend a lot of time yelling at the abusers in the TV programs, and telling them what jerks they are, and telling the police in these programs what they should be doing that they aren’t, and even telling everyone what they should be saying to each other. No one ever says what I think they should be saying!

It would be funny if it weren’t so indicative of what’s going on my heart. I’ve come to the realization that I’m probably yelling at Harry, and at my mother, and at everyone else in my life who didn’t protect me but should have when I was little. In other words, my anger at my parents is projected onto the people in the programs I’m watching on TV, because I don’t know the people on the TV from Adam’s housecat (if Adam had a housecat…).

I think the abuse is the iceberg that sank my Titanic anger, and as I work through my pain, I’m raising my Titanic back to the surface so it can be reassembled to sail again, hopefully this time without incident. And all the people who died when it sank are all my alters from when I was multiple who were so wounded and abused by my parents. Thankfully I was integrated back in 2003 by God, and through the efforts of a wonderful prayer team at the church I was attending at the time. So those alters have been healed and integrated into the whole that is me now.

But it’s time, I think, to deal with all that anger. I don’t know how that will come about, but God does, and McT is a really good shrink, probably the best I’ve ever had. He’s led by the Spirit, and he loves God and His Word.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NLT.

I’m grateful for the freedom that God has brought me as I’ve trusted Him more and more, and the Holy Spirit has certainly been instrumental in this. All three Persons of the Holy Trinity have, and I can’t express enough gratitude for everything they’ve done for me. Jesus went to the Cross for my salvation ~ I’d be dead if it hadn’t’ve been for that. The Holy Spirit has been guiding and comforting and helping to counseling me all these years since I got saved, because that’s His job,

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. … These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~ John 14:16-18, 25-27, NKJV.

I know that’s a pretty long passage of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit is a pretty vast subject, and I wanted to make sure I covered everything about Him, and what He’s done and is doing in my life, though I’m sure I could find more.

I’m so thankful and grateful and appreciative and blessed and (these are the only adjectives I could find in my thesaurus for my feelings towards God…), and… and… and…

Jesus plus nothing equals EVERYTHING!!

Taken Over By Aliens

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I’ve had a hankering for several days to just write, and when I feel like that I’ve found it’s best to obey the urge and start typing. The problem has been finding the time, but I’m here now…

So I’m going to write about whatever comes to mind, and I have some ideas.

There are times when I feel a great deal of anxiety, because it seems like nothing is going the way it’s supposed to, and everything is falling apart. During those times I’m much more prone to panic attacks, though I’m so pleased that I’m still self-abuse free ~ praise God for that. It’s just that, even though I’m no longer hitting myself, I feel like I’m disappointing God because I’m not trusting Him when I get upset. I should be turning to God when something bad happens instead of getting upset.

I tend to catastrophize everything, and I’ve done it my whole life. Instead of leaving the problem in God’s hands and trusting that He’ll take care of it, I automatically jump to catastrophic-worry mode. It always happens, as hard as I try to do it differently.

There are periods when I’m able to remain at peace, and rely on Scripture when I get upset, for instance, Isaiah 26,

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

And I like to personalize it, because then I feel like I’m actually praying it directly to God about me,

Thank you, Father, that You will keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, NKJV, Personalized.

You know, when I’ve ruminated on a verse of Scripture, repeating it to myself over and over, it has the desired effect. If the verse is Isaiah 26:3, I end up regaining the peace that I lost when I got upset in the first place, which is wonderful, because I hate losing my peace, and I can’t imagine it’s terribly pleasing to God either.

On top of everything else, I’m going to have to take my computer in to have it worked on. About six months ago I noticed a tiny screw had come out of the bottom of the computer, and I couldn’t put it back in no matter what I tried. So I took it to my computer guy, and he told me, of all things, that my battery is swelling.

My battery is swelling?? That really doesn’t sound good. In fact it sounds just plain weird. Kind of like my computer has been taken over by aliens (if I believed in that sort of thing).

The problem with taking my computer in is that I’d be without it for however long it takes them to replace the battery, and during that time I’d have to use my iPad for everything, including blogging here. And I REALLY don’t like writing on my iPad, and I mean I seriously dislike it. It’s a total pain. It takes longer, plus you have to change keyboards everytime you want to use a number, or you have to capitalize a word, or add punctuation. It’s just a royal pain. So you have to change keyboards, and then you have to change back. BLECK on the whole process! Plus my iPad isn’t working all that well either. I broke it a couple of months back, because even though I’m no longer hitting myself, I’m still having a big problem managing my rage and anger. I’m not hitting myself, but I’m taking it out on other things ~ like my iPad.

Poor thing! What did it ever do to me?! It didn’t do what I wanted it to. But that’s dumb. It’s an inanimate object, and when it does something, it’s only responding to something I tell it to. It’s a computer, and computers are only as smart as the people who use them.

Of course, I don’t know what that says about me…

Hmm…

Actually, I don’t think it says anything about my intelligence. What it does say is that, as I’ve already determined, I need to learn how to control my anger, which is something I’ve known for a very long time. I just haven’t made a concerted effort over the long term to do anything about it. I also think I’ll make it the subject of another post here.

Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. ~ Ephesians 4:26-27, CSB.

An Attitude of Gratitude

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I used to be an incredibly negative person. I complained all the time about how awful my life was, and how bad I had it, and none of it was my fault, because my childhood was terrible (and it was). Everything was my parents’ fault, and if only they’d been better parents, then my life now would be better.

Now, while part of that was true, I was ignoring all the wonderful parts of my life ~ all the amazing gifts that God had blessed me with just by being alive. I was suffering from a deep depression that was causing me to feel a great deal of emotional agony ~ because of my childhood, it’s true ~ and that was blinding me to the present-day beauty that was all around me in my adult life.

But here’s a truism: if you’ve had a difficult childhood, what happened to you is NOT your fault. But what you do with what happened to you once you grow up and become an adult? THAT is your responsibility. You can no longer blame it on your parents or your bad childhood. You’re an adult now. It’s time to grow up and start acting like an adult. I know it’s hard, but it’s something we all have to do, regardless of what happened to us when we were little.

Okay, ‘nuf said…

What woke me up to the present-day beauty and wonder that were (and are) in my life now, was when I realized that God had been present throughout my life from the very beginning, saving my life and protecting me from the worst of the abuse to which my parents had subjected me. Once I realized that, I could let go of the anger and rage against God that I’d been holding onto for many years. I couldn’t understand why He would allow me to be placed in a family where I would be abused within an inch of my life on a daily basis, where my mother would try to kill me from the time I was born on (during my infancy she tried to drown me and suffocate me with a pillow several times), where I would have to become multiple in order to survive, not just emotionally, but also physically.

But then I realized that the multiplicity was one of the gifts God had given me to protect me from the worst of the abuse, and to help me stay alive. For example, when my mother would try to kill me, God created an alter in me named Deadsally, who would come out and make me stop squirming so my mother would think she’d succeeded and stop trying.

Praise God! Isn’t He amazing? Isn’t He wonderful? I’m alive today because of what He did for me back then, and that was before I got saved. I’m absolutely gobsmacked at God’s goodness and kindness in my life! I guess He had to keep me alive so I could make a decision for Him! And I’m SOOO GLAD He did!!

So once I became aware of His presence in my life, my negative attitude changed to a positive one, and it happened overnight. One day I was steaming mad at God and the next day (well, almost… actually it took a couple of weeks before I was able to release all the rage. But it felt like night and day.) my perspective was completely different.

I had been raging at God, asking Him WHY? WHY had He allowed the abuse?? But once I was able to let go of the rage, I realized that all I really wanted to know was where He was while I was being abused.

Where was He??

Did He care?

Did He know about it??

These were the questions that haunted me, that shouted and shrieked in my mind. And once I stopped demanding to know why, God answered these questions. I was in church one Sunday, and during worship He showed me that He had been there the whole time. That was where He showed me that He had been there throughout my life. And when I saw that I started to weep with joy and gladness and love for Him. That was when my perspective changed.

So on this Easter Sunday, I am so grateful to God. I’m grateful first and foremost for the Cross, for without that, all the other stuff would mean nothing. But I’m also grateful for everything else He’s done for me, because if He hadn’t kept me alive throughout my childhood, I wouldn’t have been around to accept Christ as my wonderful Savior.

Thank you Jesus, and thank you my beautiful Father, Ancient of Days, Jehovah Jireh, I love You so!! I love You my lovely Lord Jesus, and I love You my precious Holy Spirit!!

E’en so come quickly Lord Jesus…

His Lovely Face

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This is Easter week. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, this coming Sunday will be Resurrection Sunday, and in between the two Sundays is Crucifixion Friday, or what the world calls Good Friday.

Palm Sunday, Crucifixion Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. Probably the three most important days of the whole year on the Christian calendar.

Some people think Christmas is the most important time of year for Christians, but without Easter, Christmas is meaningless.

I’m grateful for all these holidays, because Christ’s whole purpose in coming to earth in the first place was to go to the cross and die for my sins. And because He did it without sinning Himself, He was able to defeat, even cheat, death, so God resurrected Him after He’d been dead for three days.

I think God regards suffering, and the suffering of Christ in particular, as beautiful. The reason for this is that suffering builds character,

Christ, in the days when he was a man on earth, appealed to the one who could save him from death in desperate prayer and the agony of tears. His prayers were heard; he was freed from his shrinking from death but, Son though he was, he had to prove the meaning of obedience through all that he suffered. Then, when he had been proved the perfect Son, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who should obey him, being now recognised by God himself as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 5:7-8, J.B. Phillips New Testament.

I’ve long believed that God is much more interested in the development of our character than He is in our happiness, and suffering is one big way He works to accomplish that. And the very best example of this is Christ Himself, as is demonstrated in Hebrews 5:7-8, quoted above.

All of which is to say that Christ’s suffering on the Cross was perfect, and it’s the responsibility of every Christian ~ and certainly my chiefest desire ~ to be like Him in every way. In addition, His perfect suffering on the Cross is part of what enabled God to raise Him from the dead on Sunday morning (the other part was the sinless life He had lived from the beginning, as I stated above).

And now that I’ve entrusted my life Him, I have the supreme hope of seeing Jesus face to face when I go to Heaven.

I can’t think of anything more amazing than that!!

11 It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. 12 In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, Today’s Living Bible.

And that, as they say, is that!

The Monster’s Wife

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I saw a movie last week, called Girl In the Basement, about a girl, named Sara, whose father, Don, locked her in a secret basement in their house when she turned 18. She hated her father because he was a control freak, and because he’d been molesting her for years, since she was eleven, so she was planning on running away after her eighteenth birthday. He kept her there, hidden from the world, for 24 years. He made her his sex slave, and she gave birth to seven of his children during the time she was held captive in his cellar.

The first two children, Marie and Michael, lived with Sara in the basement. Next came a daughter named Lisa, and then twin boys, Alex, and one who died three days after they were born, followed by two daughters. Lisa, the remaining twin and both of the last two daughters were taken upstairs by the father to be raised by Sara’s mother, Irene, as purported foster children. Don had taken steps to have he and his wife certified as foster parents, and when Sara’s four children “appeared” on the front porch, with notes saying Sara couldn’t take care of them, Don and Irene were able to take them in easily and raise them. In reality Don had forced Sara to write a note for each child, saying that she couldn’t keep him or her where she was in Florida.

That had been Don’s lie all along, that Sara had run away to join a religious cult in Florida, and he had forced her to write various notes and letters periodically to perpetuate the deception.

As I watched this movie, I became more and more enraged at Don. Right from the start after he’d locked her in the basement, he made her call him Don instead of Dad, and the sexual abuse started immediately after she was imprisoned there. Also, if she did something he didn’t like, he would beat her in addition to raping her, all of which belied the way he treated Irene and Sara’s sister, Amy.

In reality, the story of Girl In the Basement was based on a real-life family drama that played out in Austria, and began in August of 1984, when Josef Fritzl lured his daughter, Elisabeth down to the basement of their house by telling her that he needed her help carrying a door downstairs. Once down there he locked her in the basement, and kept her there until she managed to escape in April of 2008 through a series of circumstances, after her oldest daughter, Kersten, became seriously ill, and Elisabeth convinced Josef to take her to the hospital.

Once Elisabeth and her children were freed from their captivity, they had a lifetime of rape, abuse, and consequent PTSD to overcome. And for Elisabeth, one of the most difficult things for her to deal with was the idea that her mother, Rosemarie, did little to nothing to try and find her once she’d gone missing back in 1984. She blindly believed whatever ridiculous tale Josef told her about where Elisabeth was, even though the police said that Josef’s stories were not plausible. It seemed like Rosemarie was willing to abandon Elisabeth to Josef’s devices. But why? Maybe it was so she, Rosemarie, wouldn’t have to subject herself to his abuse, though in Girl In the Basement, the father kept his life and abuse of his daughter separate from his life with his wife and family upstairs.

The reason this story means so much to me is because I identify heavily with Sara/Elisabeth. I felt compelled to watch the movie over and over again, and I couldn’t stop. I kept yelling at the TV, shouting at Don about what a jerk and terrible person he was. But more than anything, I was angry for Sara about her mother, how she could have been much more proactive in searching for her. Why did she just accept on blind faith everything Don had told her about where Sara had gone? A lot of what he’d said wasn’t even plausible, yet she just took it at face value without questioning him.

It reminded me so much of the way my mother did nothing to help me throughout my childhood. She’d just left me to Harry’s evil devices. And there were plenty of signs that bad things were happening. For instance, I found a doctor’s report from when I was about four or five years old that said I had a rash around my mouth ~ and my mother did nothing about it. She didn’t question why it was there or what could be causing it.

I wrote a post back in January of 2020, called The Monster Is Dead. It was about Harry dying, and I wrote it the day after my cousin called me to tell me he’d died. And just so you know, my mother was the Monster’s wife.

I can tell you what was causing it. Harry was forcing me to have oral sex with him! That’s what was causing it!!

And after I’d begun to have memories of being abused, I told my mother that I was having sexual abuse memories. Her response was, “Well, I thought he was abusing you physically. If I’d known it was sexual abuse the divorce would have happened a lot sooner.”

When she said that anger just boiled up inside me. Children are killed all the time from being physically abused!! All I could think of was that she was making excuses for allowing Harry to do whatever he wanted to do to me!! It also told me that she knew something was going on and did nothing to stop it. I was just steaming I was so angry!! All those years!! All those years when she did nothing to protect me!! She just let it happen!! I asked her how she knew Harry was abusing me physically, and she said she saw bruises on me. So she KNEW!! She KNEW!! How could she not have tried to stop him!!??

And later when I told her that she’d said that to me, her response was, “I didn’t say that. I never said that!” Her denial was like a slap in the face, because she did say it. She did!!

After all is said and done, I know that I have to forgive her. Because I can’t go back and change the way things went. I can’t change anything about it. Even God can’t change what’s already happened. It’s done and over with.

I’ve already forgiven my mother for so many things, but right now, I’m feeling kind of… kind of stubborn. It just hurts too much. When I look at what she could have done but didn’t, I just want to scream. SCREAM!! So I don’t want to forgive her.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever considered the ramifications of what she could have done but didn’t. It was obvious to me that she was more interested in protecting herself than she was in helping me, which was kind of the story of my life. People have always been more interested in protecting themselves than they were in protecting me. I’ve never mattered that much to anyone.

I’m so grateful to know that I matter that much to God! Jesus died on the Cross to save my soul, and God expended a huge amount of energy keeping me alive and protecting me from the worst of the abuse from the time I was born onward, and that includes all the times I tried to end my own life.

So even though I don’t feel like forgiving my mother, I’m going to do it anyway, because God forgave me, and He commands me to forgive others. So because He forgave me, I can do no less.

I forgive you, Mom! I forgive you!

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~ James 2:13, ESV.

I love that verse, and I especially love it in the New Living Translation,

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. ~ James 2:13, NLT.

This is a big reason why I know I have to forgive my mother, aside from all the places in Scripture that tell me that if I don’t forgive her, then God won’t forgive me.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15, NLT.

I don’t ever want to be in the position where God can’t forgive me because I’ve been holding unforgiveness against someone! I’ve done that before, and it didn’t do anything to the other person. All that happened was it made me physically ill. So don’t do it, people!! It’s a really BAD IDEA!!

A Mystery Wrapped In a Conundrum Enclosed In an Enigma

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I used to have Multiple Personality Disorder, aka Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was integrated in March of 2003, around my birthday. Talk about a birthday present!

The reason I mention this is because a few days ago, I got a receipt in my email for $9.99 for one month of an Apple Music Subscription, and it’s supposed to renew on April 3rd, and every month thereafter. The problem is, I didn’t order an Apple Music Subscription, even though it was done on March 2nd from my computer using my credit card. I have no memory of doing it whatever. And apparently, there was a two month free trial period for the previous two months, because I was able to check the purchase history. Once again, however, I have no memory of doing any of this.

It’s kind of spooky-scary! I don’t like thinking there could be someone inside besides me after all these years of being integrated. It leaves me feeling terribly NOT in control, and my wallet being controlled by someone else, which is a very uncomfortable feeling.

I want to call Apple’s customer service phone number, AppleCare, but if I do, what do I tell them?

“Someone purchased a monthly Apple Music Subscription for $9.99 from my computer, using my credit card, and without my permission. No, I don’t know their name, and my computer never left my sight, nor did it leave my house.”

That makes no sense and is almost completely illogical. And I don’t think I can tell them I’m multiple. I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t understand that, or they’d think I was wacko in the most pejorative way. But I don’t want the music subscription. $9.99 every month is way too much money, and I won’t use it enough to warrant spending that much each month.

Aside from the practical aspects of this, why did it happen in the first place? If I created a new alter after being integrated for eighteen years why would I have done it? What perceived need could this new alter be meeting? And who is the new alter?

So it appears I have a mystery wrapped in a conundrum enclosed in an enigma, and it’s all contained within my mind. I know God knows the answer. He knows what’s going on, and why I did it. I just have to ask Him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5, NKJV.

To be sure I’ll also be talking to McT about this during my appointment tomorrow, if for no other reason because I need help figuring out how to cancel the subscription without completely embarrassing myself, and without having to lie. But aside from that I also need to understand why it happened so it doesn’t happen again.

I thank You for Your goodness and love, my Father, and I ask for Your help in figuring out this problem. I need Your wisdom and understanding, and I ask for Your mercy and grace, and Your forgiveness if I’ve sinned in any part of this. I want You to be glorified in every aspect of my life, and that includes every aspect of my healing. So I thank you for showing me the whys and wherefores of this situation, and for helping me to keep You first in all things. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

A Furry Loneliness

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I miss Lily. I can’t even describe how much I miss her. My apartment is as silent as a tomb, even with the TV on. I’ve never felt lonely before. I’ve never minded being alone before. But now that Lily is gone, all of a sudden I’m experiencing loneliness. For the first time in my entire life I know what it is to feel lonely, and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. It feels like there’s a cat-shaped hole inside me that wasn’t there before.

I’ve heard it said that there’s a God-shaped hole inside every person, and the only way to fill it is to get saved. God filled that hole in me back in February of 1972 because that’s when I got saved. So while the God-sized hole has been filled and will remain so, the cat-shaped hole is suddenly empty, achingly so.

I never thought there was such a hole in my heart. I only knew about the God-shaped hole, and that’s the only one I ever worried about, because it’s the only one of any real importance. Knowing about ~ and filling ~ this cat-hole I’ve discovered won’t really do anything except make me feel better. A filled cat-hole won’t get me into Heaven, and it won’t bring me a relationship with God. Only Jesus Christ in my life will do that, and that’s the way I want it. Jesus is everything to me. Lily was a gift from God in the first place, so maybe that cat-shaped hole was placed in me by God, I don’t know. Maybe a cat in my life will be the way that God alleviates loneliness in me, in addition to relationship with Him.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year I’ve spent my time during quarantine playing with Lily before she got sick, watching TV, playing June’s Journey (my computer game), and working on a counted cross stitch sampler.

That cross stitch sampler is a whole story all by itself. Especially since Lily died it’s provided a way of distracting me from the pain and grief of losing her so that I’m able to focus on something else. I love working on it. I enjoy planning what colors I’m going to stitch where. And aside from all other considerations I just love color. I love being surrounded by color. Color feeds my soul. I love that God created humans with the ability to see in color, and then He gave us such a beautiful and colorful world to look at. That’s one of the things that tells me He’s a good God. Way back in March of 2020 I wrote a post on beauty that’s one of my favorite posts ever, called When Faith Becomes Sight. It’s got lots of pictures in it, and I had a great time writing it.

I’ve been meandering around as I’m writing this. I started writing it well over a month ago, and then I just stopped writing altogether. Then someone new started following me earlier this afternoon, so I decided I should start writing again so my new follower ~ as well as everyone else ~ would have something to read. I am supposed to be a blogger afterall, so I should blog, seems to me.

And here’s a picture of my most recent WIP (work-in-progress) of my sampler:

I still have a whole lot of work to do. I’m working on the bottom right corner of the sampler, but I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I hope you like what you see here!