Jesus Messiah

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Taken in our yard in 2017, it takes my breath away every time I see this.

The aching in my tired bones,

the broken in my being,

I bled for love,

the kind where you own authenticity,

and by some strange miracle,

unlike most, they cherish

you regardless.

I fought the good fight,

and still-

searching far and wide,

my heart grieved.

On my own, apart from the

Prince of Peace,  I sank deeper

into the black hole of depression.

Times I thought the road to nowhere,

which I had mastered,

a permanent dwelling

place.

In falling snow, on broken leaves

I moaned out loud for just a

breath of Grace, a kiss of peace,

I dared to hope, I called out to the heavens,

Jesus, I need you more than ever~

And somewhere in the whispered wind,

amid the raw of nature,

I heard you call

my name.

 

 

 

 

Green Are Your Eyes

 

My brother came up for a visit a few weeks ago, and as we conversed he brought up the wedding that my father spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on.

“They were devastated,” he told me, dead seriously at that.  Craig lived in California at the time.  My mother was battling ovarian cancer, although she, nor the doctors, knew.  I remember one phone call from mom, in which she told me daddy had cried for days-and to this very day I wish I had run away……because I didn’t have the strength to stop the snow ball that kept rolling, gaining momentum, until it was so big it crushed me in its wake.

I did not choose this particular war.  It chose us, Dwain and myself.  I was in such angst that my mother sent my sister to baby sit, rather than sit down and discuss my strong resistance to a wedding that never, ever should have taken place.  In a therapy session, with my parents, the man with all the answers (he thought so anyway) asked my mother why she was so angry.

“The fucking whore just wanted a party.”

The therapist looked at me and then at my father.  When I looked back at him his glasses were askew and he appeared alarmed-distressed, if you will.  I had warned him.  I knew it was coming.   My father, always and forever my best friend and supporter, offered this:

“Honey, he said, looking at my mother as if she’d lost her mind-“Why don’t you let us get you an apartment, just be by yourself for awhile so you can figure things out.”

I couldn’t and didn’t consider that option.  I loathe the fact that I hurt my parents in any capacity whatsoever.   It breaks me and was a contributing factor in my rush to oblivion, alcohol, pills, cocaine………..my heart was a ball of fire, and I wept more than I smiled.

But, green were his eyes…….and their melodic and hypnotizing pull are evident this very day.  And for that, oh for that I am incredibly blessed.

One Spinal Cracker

 

A few days ago, I told y’all the story about my unpleasant encounter with a woman from my exercise class, the trainer actually.  I called her Harriet.  

Harriett was hysterical after my factual retelling of the day when Mrs. Hoffmaster, my Kindergarten teacher, told me I would have to come for a few days during the Summer, to learn how to skip.  Yes, you read that right.  As I am regaling my audience with the story of how I was almost left back a grade, I was oh so rudely interrupted by Miss Thang.

“Oh no, Michele, that couldn’t have happened,” she is shaking her head, as if correcting a small child.  She went on to argue that she was a teacher for blah, blah, blah years-well, you can just imagine.  Stunned at first, I rallied for the cause and told her (nicely, I thought) that YES, INDEEDY DO, I GREW UP IN PHILADELPHIA, NOT THIS AREA.  WHO ARE YOU TO CALL ME A LIAR????  Ok, I didn’t say that part, but I argued with her until she shut her pie hole.

The women next to me mouthed, What the fuck?  I, on the other hand, had absolutely no problem saying WTF out loud.  As my face is my tell, I can only imagine the look I gave her.  I expected the situation to rectify after she apologized to me: needless to say, that wasn’t exactly an option.

On Thursday, I brought a carrot cake to class for the September birthdays.  I love to bake, and the ladies in Bands love to eat-so it works out nicely.  It was the first layer cake I had ever made, successfully that is.  I strategically parked next to the church (where class is held) so I had less of a chance at dropping my masterpiece.  🙂

While in class, I updated my girlfriend as she hadn’t been in class that day.  We both took notice that Harriet would not so much as look my way-let alone offer an apology.  Afterwards, Sherry and I stood outside, next to my jeep, and finished our convo  about the “incident.”

You did the right thing, sticking up for yourself, she said.  I think she owes you an apology, at the very least.

At that very moment, the diva walked past us, and gave me the oddest look-her eyes bulging out of her head-behind her prescription sunglasses.  At first I thought she may have overheard us, but I had nothing to hide.  And then it hit me, she was outraged that I had parked so close to her church.  She couldn’t believe the depravity, I mean, who did I think I was, anyway?

Here’s the rub.  Just last week she had confided that she thought she may be developing Alzheimer’s, as her father had died from the ravaging disease.  Knowing what I know, I asked her what type of personality he had.  I know that certain personality types are much more prone to dementia, especially the Narcissist.

She thought about that a second before answering.

Total narcissist, had to control everything freaking detail of our lives.  Just a very unhappy man.”

Oh, Harriet…

 

 

 

I Look Up…

 

Another gorgeous day, here on the East Coast, and I can’t complain.  I have, however, been complaining for over a week now, not to anyone specifically…I am just as the Israelites-wandering deserts to dry to nurture, and whining-as if I have it so bad.  I always grow irritated when I read how ungrateful they were, after God fed them with manna, and filled their bellies to the brim-yet, still they complained.

I am no different.  And I try, believe me I try-not to complain, not to show my broken heart, not to bring anyone down.  Quite honestly, I am over myself and I pray I will not fail Him, as the Grace he has poured over me is more than enough, more than enough.

I wanted to talk to you all about Grace.  An incomprehensible concept to those who know and don’t know our Lord and Savior.  I had joined a group of women Christians on Facebook, under the guidance of Philia Ministries.  This was directly after coming face to face with spiritual warfare, and climbing up and out of the muck and mire that is the New Age.  Last September, while away in the Adirondacks-I noted a video that spoke of absolute vigilance against sin, of any kind; I provoked one of the Administrators by pointing out her lack of forgiveness.  I couldn’t believe my ears…the video so disturbed me.  Let us not forget my state of mind at the time-fleeing a holy war of fleas at home, in desperate need of light and love, I was extremely impressionable.

“Am I going to Hell?,” I asked God.  I mean, if smoking a cigarette or cursing like a truck driver (I try hard, but I grew up in the restaurant business, and I come by my profanity in a very straightforward and honest way)-I learned from the best of the best, and I often let myself and my Lord down by spewing vitriolic insanity (only at home, praise Jesus) at inanimate objects that target my impatient rage.  I ask for forgiveness, resolve to do better, and pray that it lasts more than a day, or two.

I feel strongly about praising God whilst in the storms of life, even when it’s the last thing I want to do.  But I find, in the quiet moments-that His grace is sufficient.  You see, God does not expect perfection from any one of us.  Good works alone will not grant you entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, and, don’t shoot the messenger, bad works will not leave you out-it goes like this:

Jesus Christ came to spread the Good News.  He trained his disciples to do the same.  Jesus hung out with sinners, murderers and tax collectors.  His disciples were called not for their holiness, no, not even close.  They were called because God knew he could use them, love them right out of their sin-and aside from Judas, whom he absolutely knew would betray him?  He did exactly that.

Who does God call us to minister to?  The righteous?  The elite?  The rich and infamous?  Not exactly.  Abba wants us to be his hands and feet and care for the least of these.  Here are a few examples of this population:

Those in prison.

The lonely.

The poor.

The homeless.

The widows and children.

The infirm, and terminally ill.

Our neighbors.

If we follow the popular way of thinking, “Oh, that dude is guilty as SIN!”  “He must have done some pretty evil stuff to end up in jail.”  “Don’t feed the homeless, they made poor decisions-they’re homeless for a reason.”  “John and Jane Doe are jerks, I’ll be damned if I’m going to entertain the likes of the unrighteous.  We’re supposed to hang with other perfect Christians, not step out of our comfort zones, obey the rules, and God help you if you don’t.”

NO.  No.  Nyet.

Here’s the Good News.  God wants us to love, unabashedly, his son Jesus with our entire soul, mind and heart.  He wants us to believe that Jesus was not only resurrected from the dead, but his blood paid for our worldly sins.  What a sacrifice!

It is finished,” doesn’t mean the end of the world.  It means the beginning of God’s heavenly kingdom.

Look up.  Reach out.  Be the hands and feet of Christ.

You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

 

What I’m Fighting For…

 

In 2012 I diagnosed myself with Lyme disease.  Back then, the doctors knew very little about this enigmatic, all consuming, pain wracking illness.  The Reader’s Digest version?  It began with a small lump in my upper thigh, perhaps the size of a peanut M&M.  Hypochondriac that I am prone to being, I asked the doctor during a visit for my Suboxyne.

“Probably a fatty tumor, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Peter said.

But you haven’t looked at it.  You didn’t ask me to take down my pants.  Like the doormat I was, I smiled and headed out the door.  I returned a month later, the M&M was now a small avocado.  Again, he didn’t even ask to see it.  Shame on me for not leaving the practice immediately; like I said, back then I was a completely different person, I scurried away with the nagging feeling that this was not over, not by a long shot.

By Christmas, I was in pathetic shape.  Constant fevers, mind numbing fatigue, aches and pains so brutal, I was incapable of walking most days.  My husband and I demanded to see another doctor in the process, and as I walked past the receptionist area-all heads turned to see the pathetic case in the shabby robe and bunny slippers.  The M&M was now a grapefruit.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I didn’t seek help elsewhere.

The good doctor sent me for an ultrasound resulting in a uterine biopsy, which turned up nothing.  A week later I saw her in her office.

“I have Lyme disease.  I have done my research, please script me a month’s worth of Doxycycline.”

She teared up when she said, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think…

Within a month I was completely back to normal.  I took on a job as a Direct Support provider for a company who cared for those with Intellectual Disabilities-I worked like crazy, taking on as many hours as I could, so thankful to be “normal” again.

In 2017, I suffered two bullseye rashes at separate times-both treated with Doxy.  By 2018, I was given the diagnoses of Chronic Lyme.  I went through a hospitalization for vertigo, broke my shoulder on a hike (the disease affects the brain, and with that comes dreadful balance) and ended up with one hell of an infection in the very same lymph node.  I had no energy.  I was sick constantly-all through Winter and well into Spring.  I had to quit work, which devastated us financially.

Two weeks ago I was bitten, again, by a deer tick.  I put myself on my church prayer list, got on my knees and pled my case with Abba.  I felt so stymied and completely hopeless; wasn’t there a way?  I made an appointment with a specialist for October, and prayed.  My doctor was so inept, that when I asked him to order the Western Blot test (absolutely key in diagnoses) he told me no, that my insurance wouldn’t pay-

We know you have Lyme.  We don’t need a blood test.

I was frightened.  I asked Jesus, will this be my future?

Two weeks ago, after discovering the latest tick bite, I remembered a friend at church telling me that Stevia kills Lyme disease a few months back.  I bought the store brand, and occasionally put the way too sweet stuff in my coffee.  But this day, I was led to do some research.  You can’t get well using refined Stevia-it must come from the leaf extract.

I hurried to the local nursery and bought the last Stevia plant left.  I ate one leaf a day for one week.  The bullseye disappeared.  My symptoms vanished.  I now eat a leaf every other day.  A side effect of Stevia is that it kills the Borrelia Burgdorferi, the spirochete responsible for causing the illness and debilitating side effects.  You can order the extract on Amazon, which I will do to ensure I have access to the plant in the Winter months.

Please take my advice-give it to God, and never ever give up hope.  Through Christ you can do all things-He will give you the strength and fortitude-to move mountains-but we need to ask him first.

***This song is about Avril’s fight with Lyme.

Be blessed~

Seven Sad Forests…

I wrote a blog the other day entitled A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall, speaking of the coming Easter weekend.  Yes, I know that Easter is a Pagan holiday, but I believe that if you believe you are celebrating the resurrection of Christ, his crucifixion and the deep betrayal, the crushing pain, the glorious freedom we now have in Jesus?  The demons have taken enough from us, and they ain’t getting my holiday any time soon……who’s gonna do that?  I love everything about this holiday, and have since I was a child-the egg hunts-my brother and I could hardly wait until mom parked the car, we were so competitive and so excited to find the intricately painted eggs.  I would happily eat hard boiled eggs for eternity, so after I ate mine, I usually had theirs too, as my siblings weren’t fond of them.

Hard boiled eggs, martini onions, broiled liver and onions, chocolate mint ice cream-bizarre cravings, yes, but to this day I love each food group, equally, as I am an equal opportunity lover.  I was going to write about how really bad this Easter went; how Dwain’s son broke his heart, and mine by insisting he did not owe me an apology for the incident.  Rather than talk to my step son, my in laws decided to let two hours of his company go by without saying on word about his behavior.  They then went on to invite Brad to Easter, knowing full well that we would not be attending if this was ignored, swept under the rug or avoided.  My husband and I went away for the day, as family gathered down the street.   Bradley was there for a total of 5 hours, and my husband just shoved aside, like so much hair on the floor, like an untouchable-he now knows how they have made me feel for the past 27 years, and he knows that I will not pretend anymore, not to or for anyone.  I have never tried harder in my life to love the people that are his kin, but time after time, slight after narcissistic slight, my husband would ask me to let it go, or tell me I was paranoid-I ate so much crow that I no longer hungered for manna, I’d forgotten the taste of love and acceptance.

I knew this would happen, even after we pled with them to ensure that Brad was accountable for his actions, apologized and hopefully got some help, with our support, of course.  I was this close to being committed to the local psychiatric facility as a result of his rant, very ill at the time with Lyme, my body broke down and I developed an infection in my lymph node, and suffered a relapse due to the stress.  I prayed about filing a Protection From Abuse, and only avoided it out fear it would ruin his life.  Excuse me, but isn’t that a trait of a psychopath?  No remorse.  No accountability.  I look back and remember the time, when he was a child.  He lost a board game, and kicked our dog.  I flew out of the house like a screaming banshee, and my heart races in the retelling of this story, I can feel the rage, the fact that I wanted to ring his arrogant neck, the wariness I felt from that point on.

But rather than dwell on the fact that for all intents and purposes we are the only family (we are quite close to our brothers, praise GOD) we have, I decided to concentrate on the incredible blessing and amazing life he has given us.  The last holiday I enjoyed was before my father became ill, almost twenty years ago.   My husband’s family is so incredibly different than mine, dysfunctional in ways that my family wasn’t.  I have drank to excess just to be in their presence.  I have been strung out on pain pills, high on weed, and even sedated to get through family gatherings.  And I now know why:  I knew I wasn’t accepted, and that I was resented (I couldn’t have children and my mother in law was devastated) and that they thought Dwain could do much better.  Little did they know that he was abusing me as well, at home, behind closed doors.  More evenings than not?  I drank alone in my bedroom, as Dwain and his son carried on, laughed and talked hunting for hours.  I was incredibly alone, and to this day I thank Jesus for healing his heart.  I was not an angel, not even close.  But, as God would have it, I was convicted, repented and redeemed.

And for that?  Oh for that I am incredibly grateful~

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Broken Halos

 

Sitting here thinking, left to my own devices and dwelling on forgiveness, my family and how much things have and will change for reasons that may surprise you.  I was devastated by the loss of my family, but if it weren’t for the broken spell of codependency?  I would not be writing, creating, and, quite possibly, breathing.  I simply could not be my authentic self and survive their disrespect, hostility, or apathy.

So, now that we got the crappy part out of the way, I was daydreaming about how God picks us up and takes us away:  from the pain, the angst and the scary monsters.  A year ago today?  I was a sniveling coward, awaiting the latest news on the possible Zombie Infiltration.  Ok, maybe not zombies, but definitely black eyed children.  I was so sure that September 23 would be the return of Jesus, that my poor husband drove all the way home from work just to comfort me.  I now know that no man can come close to even guessing at the day of Jesus’ return, and that the idiots who produced the videos were looking for likes, or subscribers. Gawd.  How pitiful.  But wait?  Was I a charity case, or was my brokenness a blessing in disguise?  The latter, actually, as it strengthened my faith and made me so much stronger in the process.

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The men pictured above, Jesse and my husband Dwain, are the true loves of my life, and I praise God each and every day for their presence in my life.   None of this would ever be remotely possible if Yah didn’t give us second chances.  And third.   And eleventy hundred.  I am not admitting to murder, or some other heinous crime-don’t get me wrong: but even if I was?  Well, I would have to confess and repent, but yes, there would be forgiveness.  People get hung up on the word “repent.”  Translated from the Holy Bible, repent  means “think anew,” and of course we must change our behavior-actions speak so much louder than words.

When I get angry or hurt by those in my intimate circle, or even colleagues at church or volunteering, what have you-I think of them as broken, and in just as much if not more pain than I could possibly know.  I may be estranged from my family, but I forgive them because I love them.  I don’t know about liking them at this juncture in our history; but I know they have pain.  I know they try their very best, as strange as that may sound.  They are loving parents with successful careers-what more could you possibly want?  But regardless, I am only too aware that they, too, have moments of despair.  My sister’s youngest child is in college, and I can’t imagine the sadness.  Of course, she thought I was contagious while going through perimenopause, and not only withheld every iota of compassion-but would not stand close to me at family functions.  Yes, this is true.  🙂

Hate your boss?  Think of him/her as a young child-it helps with prying the sympathy out of our hardened hearts.

Want to strangle your better half?  Think of the last time they touched you in your secret, hidden places, where no one else has the power or accessibility.

The elderly person on the walker, you know, the one who is in front of you when you are going anywhere.  You are in a hurry, and bloody hell why is this happening to me?  They may not have anyone left to visit them, or possibly dying a slow and painful death.  Repent!

The world is out there waiting for us, as they will know we are Christians by our love~