Life Interrupted

Life can be strange sometimes, you’ll be going along doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing and wham out of nowhere things get flipped upside down. It reminds me of the scripture in proverbs 16:9 that says “a mans heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”. We forget sometimes that if we have given our heart to the Lord, then we’ve given him our lives to do His will. This is what happened to me 3 years ago when God directed my steps right into Jury Duty! While I cannot give you any details about the trial itself I can tell you of my experience. 

It all started with that “dreaded” jury duty letter. The last time I got one of those my children were very young and I was their primary care giver so it was easy for me to get out of it with a simple letter. This time however my kids were independent and I had no excuse or reason that I could not attend the jury selection process. It was back in May of 2015, I had to send the portion in that said I would be part of the process as they let you know clearly it really isn’t a choice, unless you have a valid reason that makes you ineligible. A couple of months went by and I hadn’t heard anything back from them and I really believed I was in the clear. Then in the middle of August I got a letter letting me know that I had to show up for jury selection in September. Now I have to be honest I had no desire to be in this process because, periodically throughout my life I had only heard negative things about jury duty and that “you better hope you don’t ever get chosen for it”! This became my mindset, so when I got called to the courthouse I was not happy. It was early in the morning on a Tuesday that I had to be there. When I arrived I was surprised at the sheer number of people there, I estimate between 100-120 people, not what I was expecting. With that many people there I was put at ease, because I thought what are the chances out of all these people that I would get picked, after all they only needed 14 people. I had also prayed and told God that this wasn’t my thing so if He could get me out of it that it would be much appreciated. The morning started as they gathered all of us into a small court room where we were seriously packed in there like sardines, I mean, you couldn’t get away with not touching the person on either side of you it was very uncomfortable. They then informed us that it was a murder trial that we were being considered for. They also told us what the jury selection process looks like and what to expect. They broke us down into 4 groups of 20 (they weeded out quite a few people in the very beginning, people who had heard about the incident in question, or people who knew of and were acquainted with the victims, police offers, lawyers or any other person that would be involved in the trial). You were not referred to by name just by number. I really wanted to be part of the first group called because they were going to get out of there first and I just wanted it over with. Well, as it stood I was not chosen for the first group, so I prayed ok Lord put me in the second group, but that didn’t happen, I wasn’t chosen for the third group either! As I was sitting there and they were calling the final numbers for the fourth group I started to think my number might not be called at all wouldn’t that be great. Then I heard my number and it was the third last number of the day! God has a sense of humour! Out of ALL the people there how did I get picked almost last!? I kept myself calm as I was overly confident I wouldn’t be chosen for this. I wasn’t happy that potentially I wouldn’t be out of there until 6 pm and I had been there since 8 in the morning. Finally it was time to come before the judge,the defendant and the lawyers, (on a side note I just want you to know that I ended up being the very last person to do this… THE LAST person of the day!) As I got in front of them I was not worried of being chosen. I was sworn in and asked specific questions when I was done it was time for the yay or nay, let me explain here that the defence lawyers and the prosecuting lawyers have to be in agreement as to who they want on the jury, so if the defence said yes and the prosecuting attorneys say no then you are not selected and visa versa. I looked over at the defence lawyers they had the first say and I saw them nodding their heads, then I heard my first yes and with bated breath I looked over at the prosecuting attorneys and I heard the words yes from them the next thing I heard was the judge say “you have been selected “ and the madame registrar turned to me and said “you are juror #_ be here Monday morning at _ o’clock”. I was stunned didn’t God get my memo? Ummm hello!? I didn’t want to do this, what just happened !? I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t upset, I was very upset. I could find no reason in my head as to why I had been chosen, why I had to do this. This was going to interrupt my life and I didn’t want that. I drove home and I questioned God, I told Him I didn’t understand and I had a melt down of sorts. My family was also less that happy about it, none of us knew what to expect, but we expected the worst (oh by the way I did get home after 6pm as was predicted). As that evening went on I began to calm down and started thinking that there must be a reason why, and just because I didn’t know what it was God knew so I decided to just relax about it. Monday morning rolled around and the trial started, I sat there still kind of numb to the idea of being there, that was until I heard inside of me not audible, but in my heart I heard “ Lisa, you were born for this” the second I heard those words I knew God was speaking to me, I sat straight up, leaned in and listened intently. I thought if I was born for this then I got what it takes to do it and from that moment on it all turned around for me. The trial was 7 weeks long, and we were sequestered for 4 days, no family contact, no tv, radio or cell phones just me and the 11 other jurors and 2 chaperones, we had to stay away from the public as well, we were only allowed to speak to waiters or waitresses to place our meal orders, that’s it. It wasn’t an easy process coming to a verdict, you have 12 different people with different opinions and perspectives. When we finally reached a verdict it was quite a relief, we were confident it was the right verdict. It was over and we were happy that justice was being served. In the midst of the trial and deliberations I saw my purpose in being there, I knew why and I was so glad God chose me to be part of that jury. It was a learning and positive experience, an experience that I would not discourage anyone from having. To end this blog I want to leave you with one of my favourite verses in the bible Psalm 139 :16 “your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book before a single one of them began”. God indeed directs our steps, He knows what’s best for us. So if you find yourself with a life interrupted, trust that God knows exactly what He is doing, You were born for this, you were born to win! So, Remember sister/brother You got this, because God knew about this and He has you in His hand!

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The struggle is real, but my God is greater than my struggle

In the last little while I have experienced some hard times, but in the midst of these difficulties God has not left me, He has actually shown me His goodness and is working out these difficulties for my good. I was sitting here and thinking about what God has done for me in the past, how He has helped me through many a hard times. One peticular time I recalled was when I was dealing with pretty bad fear, depression and anxiety. I fought so hard to keep my head above water daily, I struggled alone and I struggled silently, I didn’t know at the time how to let people in. I was seeking God in my desperation, finding scriptures that would help me, listening to sermons and getting wisdom from them. I was in the thick of it from 2007-2009/10ish. I remember one cold winter morning coming out to my family room in the morning, turning on the fire place sitting in front of it to read my bible and pray (before everyone in my family was awake and out of bed). I remember I struggled that morning, I hated the fear that had oft times overwhelmed me rendering me paralyzed, I didn’t want it anymore I wanted quiet within me and peace to come over me. I remember that as my time with God was coming to an end that I decided to lay myself right in front of the fireplace, turned on my MP3 player, put my earphones in and began to play the song Unafraid, by Joy Williams. As I lay there I began to silently sing the song and when it got to the chorus tears running down the side of my face into my ears I began to sing, no confess the chorus of this song which says, “unafraid cause I know who you are, unafraid starring life in the face, cause I know who I am is who you made, so here I, here I stand UNAFRAID” and I meant every word of it, even though I didn’t feel it, even though my past didn’t show it I was determined to make those words true in my life. Well several years have come and gone and I did finally overcome, I got the quietness and the peace I was looking for and it only came through Jesus Christ. I can’t nor will I say that fear, depression or anxiety haven’t knocked at my door, because they have, but like the lyrics in the song says “I stand unafraid”, I don’t let that fear in. If ever I do let it in (and I have) that lack of quietness and peace alerts me to DEAL with it and because Luke 10:19 belongs to me, I use the authority in the name of Jesus to kick it to the curb and I’m so grateful for 1 John 1:9 because its there for me to know God doesn’t hold anything against me! God is good, Psalm 34:8  Tells me to taste and see that the Lord is good and King David said in Psalm 27:13 “I had fainted Unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”. God was with me the whole time I struggled, with every failure, every fear, He never left me, He encouraged me every step of the way and He saw me through the hard times. And I am convinced He will see me through again! I am utterly dependant on Him, there is no other way for me But Jesus Christ.

Broken…but not destroyed

This is the third portion of My testimony a long time coming but, here it is. I do recommend that you read the other 2 parts before this one click here Broken, My testimony, and here Broken, My Testimony cont’d.

Sometimes we take a step in the right direction, but in all appearances things still look and feel the same. A lot of the time we want to see immediate results and if we don’t see them, we can get discouraged. I had made a decision that made way for change in my life, I was desperate, but didn’t fully understand my desperation. I wanted what I heard in church to be true and for it to be working in my life, the only problem was I didn’t know how to attain it. I went back to church and got connected with other believers, and although I was now around like-minded people and good teaching and preaching, my life still looked and felt the same. None of my problems just up and disappeared, the only difference was, was that now I was praying about things instead of just trying to take care of them myself. The first thing God did was light a fire under me, he sent an acquaintance of mine across my path and she began to share the good things that God was doing in her and her family’s lives. It was reminiscent of my Pentecostal days when I was young and it sparked in me such a desire to know God the way she did. That day my fire and desire for God was rekindled. I’m laughing right now looking back at all this because back then I had absolutely no idea just how much I didn’t know and still needed to learn. I embarked on a journey that I am still on today, however I’m much farther along the path now. One of my problems was that I way over estimated my faith, just like your mind tells you, you can run 5KM no problem even though you haven’t  run in a year… I can hear you laughing, its good to know I’m not the only one whose mind has over estimated their ability. You can know theory inside and out but that means nothing unless you put it to practice. You can know how to build muscle in theory, but unless you put it to action you will gain nothing. This was me. You have the picture now. Needless to say I expected BIG things to start happening and when it didn’t I started to see the first signs that I was broken. I was 29 before I even considered what happened to me at 13 to be rape. I with everyone else blamed myself. One night at church God spoke the truth to my heart, He wanted me to begin to face the truth and even though I didn’t know why back then I understand now. If we don’t face truth and be honest with ourselves we cannot change, and we cannot be healed. This was a big revelation for me. I was unaware how steeped in shame I was and how guilt ruled my life. I lived in a continual state of unrest, of negativity and I always felt I needed to try harder, I needed to be better, I wanted to be better, but failed miserably. It’s sad that I lived so much of my life this way and it hurts me that right now people are living this way, my heart goes out to them. I had learned love was conditional and even though the church taught Gods love as unconditional, I had never seen or experienced it. I believed Gods Love for me was conditional, that it was based on what I did and how good I was. So I drew the conclusion that I wasn’t good enough for Gods love. Any time I felt I did anything right I searched to feel that love and approval, but it was always over shadowed by my past, by my sin, and by  guilt and shame. I clearly didn’t understand the cross of Christ. I was seriously going out of my mind, my family so unaware. I withdrew from my family, I became very religious, trying to dot every I and cross every T. I lived by rules and more rules and I lost myself in it. I didn’t even attend my friends Jack and Jill party and I was a bridesmaid!!! how sad is that. I got to the point I didn’t even want to leave my house, when I did go out I’d come home and have a melt down. I would just cry. I wouldn’t have admitted it then but I was depressed and suffered from bouts of anxiety. In the midst of all this I was crying out to God asking Him to heal me, to heal my emotions. I began reading my bible, Christian books and listening to Christian teaching material. One day as I was cleaning my house, memories from my past kept coming across my mind. This disturbed me to my core, I had spent all my time burying my past and now it was trying to dig its way out. I naturally thought it was the devil and I kept rebuking him and casting down those thoughts, but they just kept coming. I eventually caught on that it wasn’t the devil, God wanted to do something with this. So I got still and asked God what He was trying to get across to me. He brought back to my remembrance a teaching I’d heard about forgiveness, I by the power of the Holy Spirit understood that God wanted me to forgive all the people who had hurt me from my past. I went through each memory one by one, starting with my earliest memory. Out loud I said “by faith I forgive (name of the person) for (and mentioned the hurt and what they did to me), so for example I would say ” I forgive “Johnny” for calling me names and hurting my feelings causing me to feel bad about myself, I release him and hold nothing against him anymore in Jesus name Amen”. I don’t know how long it took me, all I know is that after I had done that I had a new freedom, and it felt so good that I just wanted to stay there. Although I had moved a step forward there was still more to be done, more things that needed to come up and out for my sanity’s sake. There were  many lies that I believed about myself, things others said I was and things I determined on my own I was. In order to be free, truth and light had to come, but they couldn’t come unless I had invited them. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, actually I had avoided digging up anymore of my past for weeks until finally one day I couldn’t take it anymore. One night when everyone was in bed I got alone with God and I opened myself to Him and His truth. The bible says that the Holy Spirit is our teacher. ( John 14:26  But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you).The Holy Spirit taught me that night and brought truths to my heart from His word and with each incident that had taken place in my life God was healing and truth was bringing more freedom. In that I began to finally learn why Jesus died for me, my view of God began to change, He was starting to no longer be this harsh, unaccepting God that I had to earn my time with, but to look at Him as Father. That night wasn’t the last of the healing that needed to be done, God knows not to overwhelm us, so He will bring things to us a little at a time. On another occasion not long after I was sent an emotional healing package in the mail  from Joyce Meyer ministries. I opened it up and read the letter and proceeded to open a pamphlet of women’s testimonies about their emotional healing. As I read every testimony I refused to relate to these women. I remember thinking I was fine and that these women clearly had been messed up  by sexual abuse and rape, oh but not me, those things didn’t affect me (can you hear the sarcasm?). I stood there all set to reject this package, thinking I didn’t need it I wasn’t messed up like “those” women. How utterly sad, I was so oblivious to my pain. So God stepped in, I was standing in front of my couch as I went through the pamphlet, I all but wrote it off when I heard my 7-year-old son playing in his bedroom, in that moment inside of me, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but right on the inside of me I heard, “Lisa is it ok for someone to come into your house walk up your stairs and sexually abuse your son”? I got so mad, with clenched teeth I was like “absolutely not, why in the world would you ever say that to me”!? and ever so gently He said “if it’s not ok for someone to do that to your son, then why is it ok that someone did that to you”?  I got it, I fell in to the couch with tears in my eyes and realized I needed more healing emotionally. Needless to say I ordered the package. I was sent cds and a book called “Beauty for Ashes” by Joyce Meyers. When I opened the book to read it, all of my held back emotions came out, I couldn’t see the words through my tears and I hadn’t even read one word. Eventually I read it and Gods word in it brought even more truth and freedom to my life. I began to dare to believe that God loved me and my fears began to dissipate.

At this point I am going to end this blog, there is so much more I could write, however I will leave it until next time. My prayers are for all those who are suffering, that you would find peace and rest in Jesus. That truth and light would be brought into your life so that you experience the freedom in which Christ died for you to have.

Have we forgotten?

Over the past few months I have been pondering some things. I have been wondering how did we get here, to a place of such division, to a place where our opinions matter more than the people around us do? We can blame social media, because that’s the place where our opinions have mattered the most. It is the place where anything can be said “no holds barred” because I am at my house and you are at yours, everyone can remain anonymous. I for one won’t blame social media or any other outside causes. I mean we can have valid arguments for why we believe these things are to blame or at the least partially to blame, but here’s a question, does that take away our individual responsibility? I have a few questions more that run through my mind, like, what am I responsible for and who am I responsible to when it comes to my life? When did “my opinion” become the only right one ? and Whatever happened to “I agree to (respectfully) disagree”?  Opinions are not facts, they are a belief system held by a persons own thoughts toward any given topic. For example, it is my opinion that vanilla is better than chocolate. I’m not saying  that those of you who like chocolate better than vanilla are wrong, I’m simply stating my own preference and belief. It is clear that something is wrong if we get offended by someone else’s opinion, and its not usually their problem we are offended. Are we not free anymore to have a difference of opinion? I am going to touch on a sensitive topic in this post. I am going to touch on the elections and the voting in of now President Donald Trump. I have stayed as far away from the topic as I could get because of such strong, no forceful opinions on the matter. I don’t live in the United States, but I know what its like to have someone I didn’t vote for get elected and  I also know what its like to have someone I did vote for get elected. This particular election shocked me, I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen such biased news reporters, who gave their opinion and made it obvious what “side” they were on. I say this unbiasedly because I’m on the outside looking in, whom ever was voted in would have nothing to do with me. In all honesty, (please don’t let this ruffle your feathers) neither candidate was a good candidate, they both had their issues. I can see and I have also been there that if you like or want something you can turn a blind eye and willfully not see the problems with it, where do you suppose the saying “love is blind” comes from. We choose as individuals what we want to see and how much we see. Right now  I’m still seeing (I do thank God for free speech), the news, articles, blog posts and social media stuck on this topic. This is very sad to me. I’m actually not surprised with the “worlds” behavior, they are doing what they know to do. As for me and I know I’m not alone, I believe in God, and I choose to put my faith and trust in Him and His word. If I claim to be a believer then, *I must be a doer of His word and not just someone who hears it and knows it in my head, but to know it in my heart and do it (James 1:22). For” a moment” I got carried away with this topic, until  I was reminded of (King) David, who frequently in the Psalms  would remind himself of the things God had already done for him, that God had been faithful and that it was God who brought him through all his troubles. I realized that somewhere along the way I had forgotten who God is. I had forgotten how big God is and how powerful God is. I had let  these circumstances, *the cares of this world (Mark 4:19), to dictate my words and my actions. This isn’t right, because  I’m saying to God that these troubles are bigger than what He can handle and that the resurrection of Christ has no  power to save and that is simply not true!   Today I was reading in Daniel chapter 4,  the story  of  King Nebuchadnezzar who dreams of a great prosperous tree that gets cut down to its stump is bound with an iron and bronze band, and a harsh declaration is made over the tree, this becomes very troubling to the King. As the story goes he calls on all of his people for the interpretation of his dream and none of his people can interpret it. Finally Daniel is called and God gives King Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of his dream through Daniel. The interpretation;  the tree represents King Nebuchadnezzar and the cutting down of and the declaration over the tree means  that the king will soon be cut down. The angel declares that the stump and its roots remain in the ground, that it be bound by an iron and bronze band……. and that the king will be drenched with dew of heaven and for him to live  with the wild animals and that his mind would be changed from that of a human to that of a wild animal and that he would live like that for 7 periods. Daniel urges the king to repent that he might not suffer this plight. Sadly the bible says that 12 months after the dream and interpretation King Nebuchadnezzar declared from his balcony over looking Babylon “Is this not great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? “. What I read next struck me, the voice from heaven spoke these words to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven  from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, UNTIL YOU LEARN THAT THE MOST HIGH RULES OVER THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND GIVES THEM TO ANYONE HE CHOOSES”. It hit me, Daniel chapter 2 says it best…He (God) removes kings, and sets up kings. Have we have forgotten that our *God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)? If God set up King Nebuchadnezzar and in the kings pride removed him for a time then  that is true of him today. God rules over all, the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water,HE turns it wherever HE pleases (Proverbs 21:1). If we have been doing what 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says and we have been praying for our own countries, our government, our judicial systems and for those in authority, then we can expect good things from God. *We should expect God to keep his word (Hebrews 6:18). If the man/women chosen to lead your country/ my country isn’t the person you would have chosen you should NOT panic, you should NOT go with the flow and to let the negative media and the negative people around you  get you to forget YOUR GOD! *The one who gives grace to the humble and resists the proud (James 4:6). If the person running your country now seems the furthest from capable one can get, take your eyes off of them and *put your eyes on God (Hebrews 12:2), put them on His word. Like King David, remind yourself of how big God is and what God can do, because I’m telling you this,  there is strength in unity and *if we are divided against ourselves our nations our kingdoms will fall(Luke 11:17), these are not my words but Gods. He is bigger than all this, *rest in His unfailing love (Hebrews 4:3, Psalm 6:4). He knows what He is doing, *let us not be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-6), we don’t know everything! *God on the other hand knows the end of a matter from its beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10). Use the power and the privilege of what God has given you, *PRAY (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and *cast all your care on him for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)!

 

Believe The Love

There is nothing more sobering than being corrected, when you come face to face with the failure of not doing right it can be a hard pill to swallow. Recently being corrected myself, I know the feeling, however I also now know the freedom. The bible says * “whom the Lord loves He corrects” I didn’t believe that before, I didn’t believe that correction or discipline came out of love, I believed that it came out of the disapproval of me. The “love” I experienced growing up was conditional, based on how “good” I was, and so I concluded that I was unacceptable and I was being disciplined because I was bad. I hated being in trouble, but I couldn’t escape the bad behavior, the more I didn’t want to do it the more I did it. As I grew older, I accumulated more disapproving people in my life, people who didn’t know true love themselves and discipline was harsh. I went to a church who preached Christ from the pulpit but truly didn’t understand the love of God. I was part of the youth group there and there came an opportunity for all the youth to go to Acquire the Fire in Oklahoma. Our youth group planned fund raisers to help pay for the trip and  I was a part of it, I had a hand in raising those funds. My parents were going to send me and pay what I needed to go, this was a big deal because I had strict parents and this would have been the first time they ever let me go anywhere without being under their watchful eye. Sadly the Pastors and youth pastors of the church called my parents in to meet with them and that’s when they told them, I wasn’t good enough to go, they didn’t want me to come because they “thought” I was a bad kid. Knowing what I know now I was their best candidate to go, if anyone needed it most it would have been me, but I was denied. That hurt me so badly, it only served to  reinforce that I was unacceptable, I mean these were the pastors of the church certainly they knew their stuff right!? This was punishment because I guessed they were right, I was a bad kid. These things set me up to look at God wrong and take discipline the wrong way. I avoided God and stayed distant from him, I felt like he was always mad at me. Maybe you can relate to me, to my story. Perhaps the people who should have known better just didn’t and they treated the precious and beautiful to God as worthless and ugly and tried to imply that’s how God sees you. Now I know the truth, I know that* Jesus came for the broken hearted, he came for the ones in prison, he came for the one who didn’t know any better, he came for me, he came for us all. *For God so loved THE WORLD He gave His one and only son. We are priceless to God, He paid so much for us. If we wouldn’t waste our resources on junk then why would we think God would!? If you will bare with me for a minute, let me give you an analogy. If you bought something of high value, a prized possession you would put it on display. Now lets say that that possession is breakable, so you of course would go to great lengths to protect it, you want it on display but you want it safe. What if one day your prized possession was sitting in a precarious position, its sitting right on the edge of a ledge and any big movement could knock it off. What would you do? You would walk over to that prized possession and move it to a safe place, you would “correct” if you will its position. That’s what God does with us. His correction is never to hurt us but to protect us, it helps us. Sometimes we are careless with ourselves and we forget our inherent value and we hurt ourselves through disobedience and a lack of understanding. However, we are never beyond repair. *God is good, His word says that *its His kindness that leads us to repentance, He came to save, rescue and repair, *His love is so great that we will never get to the bottom of it. What I want for you to take a way from this is that Gods correction is your protection and its because he loves you and values you so much that he is not willing to lose you. We cant look at/to people to lead us we must look to God and by *His spirit He will lead us and guide us into all truth. So instead of feeling bad about being corrected, remember this God loves you and you are valuable to him and he wants to keep you safe. *Believe in the love God has for you, its freedom.

(* all scriptures used , Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6,Luke 4:16, John 3:16, Psalm 34:8, Romans 2:4, Ephesians 3:19, John 16:13, 1 John 4:16)

Breakable

We are born breakable, with a label on us that says ” fragile handle with care”! I am sorry to say that not every parent, care giver or person in our lives heeds this warning and they treat the fragile recklessly, not valuing the treasure that they have. You are a treasure and should be handled with care. No matter how broken you are, you are not beyond repair. God will gather all the broken pieces of your life and fashion them into a new more beautiful vessel than it was before. Give God your broken pieces today and let Him make something beautiful out of you!

Remembering the past

Memories can be funny things, I mean some memories we want to and readily do remember, others we are indifferent to not caring to remember them at all, and some, we would rather never be remembered again. A couple of weeks ago God brought a memory back to me that I had completely forgotten about, It played out before my eyes like it was a movie. I saw my 13 year old self at the starting line of the 100 meter dash, ready to race and ready to win like I had done so many times before. The gun went off and so did I, as the race progressed a sickening feeling came over me as I saw not one but two of my classmates pass me, I pushed harder but it was too late the race was done and third place was best I did. I was devastated. There’s where the Movie ends and old feelings came flooding back. You see I was or should say I am an athlete through and through, I like playing and participating in all kinds of sports and at school is where I shone the brightest. In those days the only place I didn’t feel like a reject at school was gym class and on sports teams. Before that day I had won pretty much every track and field event that I was strong in, the 100 meter dash just happened to be my favourite. Losing that race was so devastating to me, like someone pulling the rug out from underneath you. That’s who I was and who I was, was being changed from winner to loser and in my already fragile emotional state it was almost more than I could handle. The worst part of losing was that I was losing to two of the “popular” girls, who taunted me. These girls tortured me making my life a living hell at school. In the early days they used to pretend to be my friend they would set me up and do stuff like invite me to sit with them at lunch and then when I did they would make a big production out of it, they would act all disgusted with me and ask me why I was sitting with them and telling me to get away from them because I was “such a loser” ! They embarrassed me more times like that than I care to admit. I fell for their tricks over and over again because I just wanted to be liked by them. Big sigh, oh those were the days. I lost a piece of me that day. Learning now who I am and putting all the puzzle pieces together, my life is taking shape. I can see that loss in a different light and with a new perspective. The best part is that I’m not that desperate kid anymore, I am not longing to fit in and fearing rejection at every turn. Gods love and acceptance has transformed my life. I have learned that to be able to accept love I need to love myself and to be accepted I need to accept myself,and Gods acceptance and my acceptance of me are the only ones that matter and any others are just bonuses. It’s nice to be liked by people, but people are not the gage by which I see myself anymore, Gods word tells me who I am, I am loved by God, blessed, accepted, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed, and free!

Broken, My Testimony cont’d

This is a continuation of a previous blog called Broken, My testimony if you haven’t read it click the link, I reccomend you read that post first so that this one will make sense. I’m writing it in pieces because it is quite lengthy, There will be another post in continuation to this one so stay tuned.
Continued
…After that night in my parents bedroom I wasn’t the same. When everyone else didn’t fight for me, I stopped fighting for me. The negative feelings I had about myself interfered with my ability to make good choices. I turned to food, mainly sugar for comfort and by the time I started high school I weighed just over 200 pounds. Weight was a problem for me because food was my addiction, it is a vicious cycle that keeps you in a perpetual down ward spiral. I could share a whole blog post on my struggle with weight, However this post isn’t about my weight although it plays a roll, so I will save it for another day. The summer before grade 10 I lost 30 pounds and I maintained that weight loss give or take a few pounds until I got married. I was never at a comfortable weight and was self conscious all time about it. As I’ve said in a previous blog I was in one bad relationship after another. Sex was completely off the table for me and in high school that’s what all the boys wanted it seemed. I got rejected for that reason more times than I can remember. When I was 15 I met a guy and thought He was the one for me. He was two years older than me finishing grade 12 and he was already enrolled in a nearby college for the next year. He had his life figured out and that was a big plus. He was also of the same mind set that we would  not have sex before marriage and that was mind easing for me . Six months after we started dating he began to hit me, it started off slowly but gained momentum as time went on. The mind games and mental abuse were awful.  I wasn’t allowed to meet his friends, he said I was too fat and I had to lose some weight first. I didn’t lose any weight, but eventually almost 2 years after we started dating I met his family and a couple friends. He had managed to convince me that everything was my fault and I deserved what was happening to me. I think about it now and I don’t know how I managed to survive mentally through this time, it was truly only by Gods grace. Another blow to my self worth came one day when I was fed up with him hitting me. A lot of the time if he didn’t like what I said he would slap me across the face. This particular day we had ordered pizza with another couple at my house, my parents were not home. I asked about the price of the pizza because I could tell that he was upset about it, he told me it was none of my busines and not to ask him again. When the pizza came I answered the door he was standing beside me ready to pay, when I asked the pizza guy how much it was, my boyfriend didn’t like that at all, he paid the pizza guy quickly and right in front of the other couple he slapped me across the face. Feeling brave and knowing I wasn’t alone, I hit him back, he threw the pizza across the floor and proceeded to beat me up, the other couple that was with us turned their back on me and went into the other room until it was over. Again I got the message that I wasn’t worth fighting for. What is even more terrible is that we ate the pizza together as if nothing ever happened. I didn’t have the courage to leave him, but I knew I couldn’t stay. One night he dropped a bomb on me, something he knew could cause us to break up,but he was optimistic that we could work through it and stay together. After that confession I was able to muster up the courage to tell him we needed to take a break and he agreed. For the next four months I didn’t hear from or see him. I didn’t realize it then, that even though I felt alone I wasn’t alone and even though I felt hurt and abandoned, God hadn’t abandoned me. God saw me in my pain and sent me a rescuer, someone who would stand by me, someone who would eventually help me walk away from that toxic relationship for good. He was truly a God send, because I did contemplate going back to my abuser to spite everything he had done to me. Once out of that relationship I began to seriously date the man God sent me the one who “rescued” me. He was a complete gentleman, nothing like I had ever encountered before, he was so different from the rest of the guys I ever dated that I didn’t want to let him go. He was almost 6 years older than me and had a lot more life experience. I soon began to worry that he would he would leave me. I told him in the beginning that sex was off the table and he completely respected that, he said he would never make me do anything I didn’t want to do. This however did not bring relief to me, in fact it pushed me toward securing him by using sex.  One day I flat out asked him to sleep with me, he was a gentleman and he tried talking me out of it,  because he knew what had happened to me and what I had told him from the start. I convinced him that I was ok with it all. It took a while but eventually we did sleep together. After our first time I was instantly freaked out, I told him I changed my mind that I didn’t want to do that again, I was sorry and he too was sorry and we agreed to not make that part of our relationship. Sadly once we opened that door, it was quite difficult not to sleep with each other, with every time we did it, it got easier and easier to do. Eventually we got engaged and 2 years later we were married. I finally felt that my life was on the upswing and my past was completely behind me, but I was wrong. I struggled in my marriage, I struggled at work and I struggled to be the person I wanted to be. I tried to be perfect, I thought that if I did everything perfectly I would have no problems, and everyone would like me, but trying to be perfect just put me face to face continually with my failures. I had a constant underlying forboading feeling. I Attributed that feeling to the mess that my marriage was in and the negative circumstances happening in my life. I tried repeatedly to “fix” the problems, but to no avail. At the age of 25 after having my second child I became restless. We had just moved away from everything we had known for the last several years, to a new town where we knew no one. We found a church to go to shortly after we moved here, but we didn’t end up attending it.  One day it all just got to me and while the kids were napping I went to my room to pray. I sat on the edge of the bed and I remember thinking that I couldn’t ride any longer on my parents coat tails and I couldn’t run to mommy and daddy every time I had a challenge. I was now a mommy and I was responsible for them. I was thinking quietly to myself when I asked myself this question,  “do I believe in God because my parents do and because that’s the way I was raised or do I believe in God for myself”? As I sat there and pondered it over there was no denying that God was real, He was real to me and I believed in Him because I believed in Him. In that moment I rededicated my life to Christ and  I made the decision that I was going back to church and bringing my kids with me even if my husband wasnt going to come. It might seem cliche but the truth is that day my life began to change. To be continued.

Forces of nature

Thursday morning the bad weather rolled in and we got the biggest ice storm I’ve seen in a long time. The inclement weather lasted for hours eventually leading to our power going out at just after 9 in the evening. What we saw the next morning in the aftermath of the storm was striking. The massive willow tree in our backyard was brought down to its knees so to speak! It is such a spectacle in our back yard that I couldn’t help but stop several times today  just to stare at it.  I’ve not been so close to anything like this before, I’ve seen it on tv but when it’s in your own back yard, and you see what the forces of nature are capable of you thank God it wasnt any worse!

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Broken, My testimony

This isn’t an ordinary run of the mill blog, this one is special. For weeks now, I might even be able to say months now, God has been putting it on my heart to share my testimony. At first I had some reservations about it, to start this is not an easy thing for me to talk about, it doesn’t just come up in casual conversation, it’s one of those things that I like to keep hidden away and pull it out only when it is needed, I will warn you now(*warning: the contents of this blog are of a sensitive nature and could trigger negative emotions and feelings, so readers discretion is advised). The other reasons I stalled on writing this was because I wasn’t sure how I was going to write this and not make my parents look like bad people, because they are not. I love my parents very much, as with every parent we all make mistakes, we can only parent with the knowledge and the skill or lack there of that we have at the time. I am convinced that my mom and dad raised me the best that they knew how at the time. Over the years I have watched my parents allow God to change them in the light of His word and I have so much respect and admiration for them today. I shared with them that I was going to write this blog and they gave me their trust and blessing to do it. Also in my concern came a part that I felt the church played in causing me much pain, however God showed me that it was only a couple prominent people in the church that hurt me, it wasn’t the whole church. I want everyone to know that, I value the church. Especially the one I am attending now it has been instrumental in my growth as a believer. I pray now that the words you read would bring glory and honour to God because without Him I wouldn’t be the person I am today. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the experience of your faith that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.
Amen
God knew me before the foundation of the world, His word says that my story was already written down before I even lived one day of it and just as God had a plan to redeem man kind when Adam sinned He had a plan for me. He knew what life would bring my way, what I would go through and endure and in His great love for me He prepared ahead of time a remedy for my wounds. This testimony is about Gods saving and redeeming grace, it’s about His love and about the reason He came for me. He came to heal my broken heart, He came to give sight to my blindness and to set this prisoner free! For that I am ever grateful.

I was born to parents who were young and overwhelmed with life, the hand that life had dealt them before my arrival was a bitter pill indeed. My parents met young and got pregnant young, in a whirlwind of events they found themselves set to be married before their first child was to be born. My mom was a run away, she grew up in the country and she ran away to the city. My dad was an immigrant to this country, he arrived here at the age of 12 and he and his family made their home in the city. When my dad brought my mom home his parents rejected her, she wasn’t what they wanted for their only son, but alas there was now a baby involved and much to their dismay they set in motion a wedding. My older sister was born 4 months after they got married and 9 months after that they found out they were pregnant with me. The story I heard growing up was how my mom cried when she found out she was pregnant with me, she didn’t want to have another baby, she would joke and say that she thought I would be born with ” the pill” in my hand to rub it in that their efforts to prevent me from coming had failed. We lived with my dads parents and my mom and them did NOT get along, there was a lot of fighting amongst them, I was too young to have any recollection of this, but this is what I have been told. My mom left my dad a few times, the last time she left him was on my 3rd birthday and we were gone for a while. My dad loved my mom he searched for her until he found her and begged her to come home. From there my parents got their own apartment , eventually moved out of the city and bought a small house in a small town. We didn’t stay there long just less than 2 years. We moved to an even smaller town and for the 6 years we lived there, my parents made it work. My mom was a stay at home mom and my dad worked in the city, so he would stay the week in the city with his parents and come home on weekends. From the moment I was born insecurity began to work its way into me. By the time I started school, I made “friends” easily however they were always fair weather friends, friends today and not tomorrow. I was a feisty kid, a fighter if you will, I didn’t solve my problems with words I solved them with fists, my older sister knows that all too well as we fought quite a bit and my parents were constantly pulling me off of her. It did work to my sisters advantage though, I was her ” body guard” so to speak and I would threaten to beat up anyone who was mean to her. I learned early in life that any problems I had I would just have to suck it up and deal it myself. My mom at this stage was fragile and even as young as I was I knew it. So I learned to bury  my emotions, my motto was “never let them see you cry”. When my parents would spank me or discipline me I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. As a result of that when I got spanked it was usually much harder than what my sister got, she would cry before she even got her spank. I kept all my problems and feelings to myself and it was convienient to bury things away, it felt like the no longer exsisted. The turning point in my family came when we got born again, although things weren’t magically changed I just knew there was something good about it. At the age of seven a family friends teenage daughter began to sexually abuse me, having me perform sexual acts on her. I knew there was something wrong with it because it was so secretive and it didn’t feel right, but I dared not say anything to my parents lest I got In trouble for it. It wasn’t too long after this started that her family ended up moving away and the abuse stopped. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be the last time I was sexually abused. The abusers turned from female to male and it was sporadic and usually someone my family knew. I developed early, my mom bought me my first bra at the age of 9, by the time I was in grade 6 I was a small C cup and that didn’t go unnoticed. At school the boys were always trying to see if they could get a handful, they didn’t leave me alone until one day at recess they got a lot more than what they bargained for. For whatever reason that day I chose not to wear a bra, at recess they chased me around the play ground until the took me down and one of the boys put his hand up my shirt, I will never forget the look of shock that came on his face as he realized he was touching my bare skin, he quickly got off me and walked away, the others boys followed suit. For the rest of that year and for the next they didn’t touch me again. I failed my grade 7 year and had to repeat the grade, I was so embarrassed. With a new year came new classmates and new boys who once again saw me as their “play toy”. I am sad to say this kind o thing followed me to just about the end of high school. When I was 13 I was raped, he was a 21 year old chaperoning our youth group for Canada day. He took a liking to my friend and I and chatted with us the whole night. This lead him to offer my friend and I a ride back to the church once the fireworks were over. We being 13 and very flattered we were noticed by him were happy to consent to his offer, it made us feel special. As we headed to his truck I suddenly found myself to be the only one going with him, my friends cousin found us in the parking lot and took her with them. At that my heart pounded and my mind raced I didn’t want to be alone with him, I really didn’t know why, he seemed like a nice guy. I quickly assured myself all was well and got into his truck with him. After a while as we drove I began to realize he wasn’t taking me back to the church, I didn’t recognize my surrounding at all, then he pulled in to a darkened parking lot of a school, drove around back parked his truck and turned off his lights. I was in trouble, he asked me for sex to which I said no, he tried different ways of getting me to give in, all those efforts were in vain, I wasn’t interested in having sex, I just wanted to go home. He used my age and naivety against me as time past he pressured me more. Thoughts swirled in my head, time was going by and my parents would be worried about me. Finally the moment came when I realized we weren’t leaving there until he got what he came for, I couldn’t consent verbally all I could do was nod my head. He wasted no time stripping me and having his way, I lay there completely still until he was done, it only lasted minutes. Neither one of us said a word as we got ourselves pulled together and left the parking lot. Finally he asked me if I wanted a drink and stopped at McDonald’s, that’s where he swore me to secrecy. My thoughts were that I never planned to tell anyone! I was so ashamed. I got home an hour past my curfew to parents who were completely losing their mind. I was bombarded by questions of where have you been, what were you thinking, it’s an hour past your curfew. I gave them a story they believed I encouraged them to punish me with whatever punishment they saw fit, I broke the rules so give me the consequences, I just wanted to be left alone I just wanted to go to bed. I tried so hard to bury this, but this was bigger than anything that had ever been before. Every night I cried myself to sleep, I would pray and beg Gods forgiveness, I felt so dirty, I just wanted to be clean, but nothing helped. About a week later the youth pastor from our church paid me a visit, I wasn’t hard to find I was in my front yard playing with my friends like kids do. He got out of the car and called me over. He confronted me right there on the spot about what happened after the fireworks that night, he asked me flat out if I had had sex with the chaperone. I was so embarrassed that my initial response was no, but he pressed and he was not nice to me, he told me to give it up, my chaperone had already told him and there was no lying about it, of course after that I admitted to it. He told me that he would tell my dad and that I was to tell my mom and that’s what happened. While I was up in my parents room telling my mother, my dad came flying in and slapped me so hard across my face that it left welts and to add insult to injury he swore at me, I had never heard my dad ever use that word ever and he was using it on me. In that moment I was broken, reduced to a million little pieces and I accepted the blame for it all along with the weight of the guilt and shame, it crushed me. I realize now that I became my chaperones scape goat. I was no longer allowed to attend the youth group, that was the punishment that was handed down by the youth pastor, but what was shocking to me was that they allowed the chaperone to chaperone again. I don’t know what he told them and I don’t know why EVERY adult never considered the big age difference between us and how they came to the conclusion to only blame me. No ever did asked me about what happened that night, they were all in a big hurry to get it swept under the rug, they just wanted it to go away, but what about me!? What happened on the outside to me was obvious, but what took place inside was hidden, even from me, I was eventually able to bury this away, but little did I know the lasting effects that night would have on me and my future. To be continued…