Adrift

In your darkest hours, in your finest grief-this is where Jesus does His absolute bestest ever work.  Of course, when you are adrift in a sea of confusion, rage and betrayal?  You don’t want to think about how strong or wise or ethereal His love-you are way too busy crying, railing or even vicariously throwing inanimate objects at the wall.  Your heart hurts so bad you swear it will break, the tears so salty dehydration sets in.

The lights are out.  There is nothing of comfort, you can’t see your way through the pain.  But here’s the rub:  the only way around the feels is through the feels.  In other words, to quote Richard Gannon, “you gots to feel the feels.”

As I hike the Spicebush trail, I wonder at the miracle that God still loves me, despite my Irish sighing and in spite of my ineptitude. I am an Israelite, awash in the desert of my own making-complaining about this or that.  I catch myself, and ask forgiveness of Him.  I have always had exactly what I needed at every turn of the page.  In recent times, God has blessed us beyond measure-my husband’s new job, my Social Security disability granted, and, more importantly?  We are in love and, for the most part, healthy.

I always turn to Jesus, eventually.  I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life.  I wish I had learned to practice this habit much earlier in life.  Perhaps it may have spared me the alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal ideation.

I wanted to end my life because I thought myself a loser.  A miscreant.  A nobody.

I couldn’t keep a friend, let alone a job.  I knew I was different, that I didn’t fit in, and that for the most part I wouldn’t be missed.  The emotional abuse endured at the hands of the people I loved and trusted the most would prove to be a deal breaker.

I broke, into a millions little pieces not unlike the mess you leave when you break a Christmas ornament.

Shattered.

woman holding broken mirror
I lost my friendships, my family, my identity in Christ.

I thought I was coming out of the woods, and I convinced myself that nothing bad would ever happen to me again because I was a child of God and I figured He’s seen me through the worst of it.

I was dreadfully wrong,

With the help of a mighty God I made it through each and every hairpin turn, but just as I was getting my bearings-another tragedy, another slip into isolation and chaos.  I noticed this, yes, but I also paid mind to the fact that with each and every arrow flung in my direction (the persecution comes from Satan, but God has the control) the more courageous I became.

One evening I called out His name, I couldn’t take another self sabotaging thought-my depression had resurfaced.

Please, Psalm 91…the arrows that fly by night…all that sort of thing.  HELP ME JESUS!!!!

And just as if I were taking out the trash, my body arched-my head flew back.  I had momentarily thought of that lion, the one who roars at the enemy-

I.  Am.  The.  Storm!!!

I.   Am.   The.   Storm.

I roared quietly, then not so quietly.

Together, Jesus and I are building my life back up-brick by brick.  He sustains me by the Living Waters and wipes the tears from my furrowed brows.

And then…I rally my senses, join forces with my soul and pick of my cross.

For I am His and for that?  Oh for that I am well pleased.

Adrift

In your darkest hours, in your finest grief-this is where Jesus does His absolute bestest ever work.  Of course, when you are adrift in a sea of confusion, rage and betrayal?  You don’t want to think about how strong or wise or ethereal His love-you are way too busy crying, railing or even vicariously throwing inanimate objects at the wall.  Your heart hurts so bad you swear it will break, the tears so salty dehydration sets in.

The lights are out.  There is nothing of comfort, you can’t see your way through the pain.  But here’s the rub:  the only way around the feels is through the feels.  In other words, to quote Richard Gannon, “you gots to feel the feels.”

As I hike the Spicebush trail, I wonder at the miracle that God still loves me, despite my Irish sighing and in spite of my ineptitude. I am an Israelite, awash in the desert of my own making-complaining about this or that.  I catch myself, and ask forgiveness of Him.  I have always had exactly what I needed at every turn of the page.  In recent times, God has blessed us beyond measure-my husband’s new job, my Social Security disability granted, and, more importantly?  We are in love and, for the most part, healthy.

I always turn to Jesus, eventually.  I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life.  I wish I had learned to practice this habit much earlier in life.  Perhaps it may have spared me the alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal ideation.

I wanted to end my life because I thought myself a loser.  A miscreant.  A nobody.

I couldn’t keep a friend, let alone a job.  I knew I was different, that I didn’t fit in, and that for the most part I wouldn’t be missed.  The emotional abuse endured at the hands of the people I loved and trusted the most would prove to be a deal breaker.

I broke, into a millions little pieces not unlike the mess you leave when you break a Christmas ornament.

Shattered.

woman holding broken mirror
I lost my friendships, my family, my identity in Christ.

I thought I was coming out of the woods, and I convinced myself that nothing bad would ever happen to me again because I was a child of God and I figured He’s seen me through the worst of it.

I was dreadfully wrong,

With the help of a mighty God I made it through each and every hairpin turn, but just as I was getting my bearings-another tragedy, another slip into isolation and chaos.  I noticed this, yes, but I also paid mind to the fact that with each and every arrow flung in my direction (the persecution comes from Satan, but God has the control) the more courageous I became.

One evening I called out His name, I couldn’t take another self sabotaging thought-my depression had resurfaced.

Please, Psalm 91…the arrows that fly by night…all that sort of thing.  HELP ME JESUS!!!!

And just as if I were taking out the trash, my body arched-my head flew back.  I had momentarily thought of that lion, the one who roars at the enemy-

I.  Am.  The.  Storm!!!

I.   Am.   The.   Storm.

I roared quietly, then not so quietly.

Together, Jesus and I are building my life back up-brick by brick.  He sustains me by the Living Waters and wipes the tears from my furrowed brows.

And then…I rally my senses, join forces with my soul and pick of my cross.

For I am His and for that?  Oh for that I am well pleased.

Diamond in the Rough

The Hippy Chic

Somewhere in the mix, every responsible adult in my childhood neglected the red flags: my clumsiness, lack of social interaction and apparent “indifference” to my authority figures. By High School, my grades had improved-yet I was thought of as arrogant, snooty if you will. And by the age of 26, I was firmly enmeshed in alcoholism, abusive relationships and chaos.

I remember certain situations, and the light goes on in my thought cloud. My absolute need to be plastered if there were to be any social interaction. I don’t mean grocery shopping, I mean Villanova-where I am sure I stuck out like a sore thumb. I invented an entire new story, that I was the Jontue model in a recent perfume ad. My father, who made a modest income, became a wealthy businessman travelling the world-a sailing expert, like myself. I can tell you that there was more than one…

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False Alarm

I am attempting to get my bearings, as what I have just experienced has left me sickened, without hope or desire.  I am shutting down.  I indeed shut down two days ago, when the latest Holiday loomed, as I had recently let my mother in law know that we would not be attending their Thanksgiving festivities.

And, as is the case with all narcissists, my husband has taken my dread of the Winter months to a new low.  A kick below the belt.  He achieved his annihilation of me by telling me that I had ruined his holidays because I am a selfish brat.

I am out of here, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why I kept forgiving, praying he would change, never hurt me again.  And as per usual, there would be promises made, promises broken.  You see, narcs want your attention-when they don’t get it, they think nothing of the getting the wrong kind of attention.  In all actuality, I was having a peaceful and meaningful day.  The hot shower pelts felt so good on my aching body.  I decided to dress up and even put on the dreaded makeup.  I looked forward to going downstairs and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I played Pandora, played with my kitten, even a touch of Chanel No. 5.  I got into the word, and asked for forgiveness for my attitude over the last few days. The lack of food over the last twenty four hours had been a fast of sorts, I supposed, resulting in a clarity and spiritual peace I hadn’t felt in months. I was feeling content, and didn’t mind the loneliness.  As I stepped into the living room, my husband stepped out.  I went upstairs, he came down.  I was thinking he needed his space.  I worried that he was feeling guilty, as anyone would after treating another human being like he did.

Jesus, please speak to his heart.  I don’t want him to hurt.

I went to check on him, and that’s when I was accused of ruining his life, his family, our churches and friendships.  His eyes turned black, the vitriol unnerving.

He did feel guilty, but he projected that guilt on to me, his wife of 30 years, during a time when she was incredibly vulnerable, teetering on the edge of admitting herself to Philhaven.

 

 

 

As we argued, I could see it-the Jezebel spirit, alive and well.  I am voiceless, still sick, haven’t had a thing to eat in days.  My blood pressure goes nuclear, along with my rage.  When I am injured, I am eerily capable of pouncing back-with the force of an untamed Lion-yet today, it was different.

Today I fought back with facts.  In the past, the gaslighting-at the hands of some of the most proficient narcissists know to mankind-I would be confused, caught off guard with the projection.  I was depressed, anxious and my PTSD was triggered each and every fucking time.  I would lay in bed for days, punishing myself when I was the one who needed self love and nurture.  My nature is one of love, compassion and fierce loyalty.  I can be irrationally Irish at times, cripplingly sad at others.

Today was not that day.

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As weak and fatigued as I felt, the lion roared.  Armed with facts, my faith and a raging migraine-I spat back better than I got.

 I have no family, not a soul to spend the holidays with.  I get morbidly depressed at this time of year, and you are fully aware that I will not spend one more moment with abusers.  Yet you care for me by completely ignoring me for two days, while I languish in bed with the flu and withdrawals?

You are blaming me for the actions of your son, who almost put me in a psych ward, and I am to fault because?

Did I hold a gun to your parents’ heads, making them neglect and abuse me; treat me like the most insignificant part of their life?  Did I ask your parents to tell rumors to the neighbors, so I could anticipate the shunning that followed?

I am betrayed and forbade to enter the kingdom of peace.

I don’t know what lies ahead, none of us do.  I will not be a victim, that train left the station, I will fight back with all I have in me.  If that means leaving him for an apartment in the country, just me and my dog, well then?

I pray He will grant me the strength.

I pray that Dwain will open his heart, and listen to the God who loves Him.  I pray for better, brighter days ahead~

 

Adrift

In your darkest hours, in your finest grief-this is where Jesus does His absolute bestest ever work.  Of course, when you are adrift in a sea of confusion, rage and betrayal?  You don’t want to think about how strong or wise or ethereal His love-you are way too busy crying, railing or even vicariously throwing inanimate objects at the wall.  Your heart hurts so bad you swear it will break, the tears so salty dehydration sets in.

The lights are out.  There is nothing of comfort, you can’t see your way through the pain.  But here’s the rub:  the only way around the feels is through the feels.  In other words, to quote Richard Gannon, “you gots to feel the feels.”

As I hike the Spicebush trail, I wonder at the miracle that God still loves me, despite my Irish sighing and in spite of my ineptitude. I am an Israelite, awash in the desert of my own making-complaining about this or that.  I catch myself, and ask forgiveness of Him.  I have always had exactly what I needed at every turn of the page.  In recent times, God has blessed us beyond measure-my husband’s new job, my Social Security disability granted, and, more importantly?  We are in love and, for the most part, healthy.

I always turn to Jesus, eventually.  I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life.  I wish I had learned to practice this habit much earlier in life.  Perhaps it may have spared me the alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal ideation.

I wanted to end my life because I thought myself a loser.  A miscreant.  A nobody.

I couldn’t keep a friend, let alone a job.  I knew I was different, that I didn’t fit in, and that for the most part I wouldn’t be missed.  The emotional abuse endured at the hands of the people I loved and trusted the most would prove to be a deal breaker.

I broke, into a millions little pieces not unlike the mess you leave when you break a Christmas ornament.

Shattered.

woman holding broken mirror
I lost my friendships, my family, my identity in Christ.

I thought I was coming out of the woods, and I convinced myself that nothing bad would ever happen to me again because I was a child of God and I figured He’s seen me through the worst of it.

I was dreadfully wrong,

With the help of a mighty God I made it through each and every hairpin turn, but just as I was getting my bearings-another tragedy, another slip into isolation and chaos.  I noticed this, yes, but I also paid mind to the fact that with each and every arrow flung in my direction (the persecution comes from Satan, but God has the control) the more courageous I became.

One evening I called out His name, I couldn’t take another self sabotaging thought-my depression had resurfaced.

Please, Psalm 91…the arrows that fly by night…all that sort of thing.  HELP ME JESUS!!!!

And just as if I were taking out the trash, my body arched-my head flew back.  I had momentarily thought of that lion, the one who roars at the enemy-

I.  Am.  The.  Storm!!!

I.   Am.   The.   Storm.

I roared quietly, then not so quietly.

Together, Jesus and I are building my life back up-brick by brick.  He sustains me by the Living Waters and wipes the tears from my furrowed brows.

And then…I rally my senses, join forces with my soul and pick of my cross.

For I am His and for that?  Oh for that I am well pleased.

Waves and Wind

Before I begin, I want to talk about the utter joy I feel when I watch this man lead thousands of people in worship.  People have taken great joy in watching the demise of this man, and understandably so-the arrogance, the Taylor Swift! Whom-in a bizarre turn of events not witnessed since Stanley Kubrick produced and directed the moon landing-is now a part of the Illuminati while Ye has turned to Jesus.

Those jaded will think me naive.

Those enlightened by the Holy Spirit will see what I do, if they listen to their hearts.  Which brings me to my next subject.

In loving memory of Barbara Elkins~

A few years ago, I stormed my physician’s office after three months of getting the run around.  I was wearing my white, tattered robe and fuzzy bunny slip ons.  My hair had been drenched in sweat from fever, and matted to my head.  Every inch of my body was in pain, and I meant business.

I’ve done my research, I have Lyme disease.  Please give me 30 Doxycycline and a shot of Toradol.

The doctor, aghast-apologized so many times that I had to intervene.

Please, you’re human.  It’s okay.

The now hysterical doctor was in tears.  Five minutes later it was I who was in tears, as they sent my Lyme riddled body for testing-all I wanted was my bed, but you can’t always get what you want.  They sent me for an ultrasound, because my lymph node was the size of a grapefruit.  That, in turn, led to a transvaginal biopsy (without the lidocaine ladies-she was a bitch)  By the time the tests were completed, my Lyme symptoms had long before vanished.

My sister and I could be physicians without going to med school.  We grew up with a very ill mother, and picked up-as if  by osmoses-a vast knowledge of anything that has anything to do with the medical field.  Our collective hypochondria added to that vocabulary-the worst book ever written?  That big, fat medical encyclopedia that explained any and all illnesses.  My siblings and I would spend hours upon hours reading the news of our impending demise, running from friend to grocery store cashier for advice on our latest and greatest ailment.

Did you ever swallow in a way that your sphincter muscle twitched and the backfire caused pain in your anus?

Oh, it didn’t matter how mortifying the question, we would not be reassured unless ten to twenty of our nearest and dearest had given us satisfaction.  Looking back it isn’t in the least bit humorous, as we wasted the best years of our lives like Woody Allen in Annie Hall.  It’s hard to enjoy life when you think people are poisoning your food, or worse, telling you about their recent harrowing brush with death.  I mean, how TERRIFYING!!!

All of this preface was necessary, and in the following prose you will understand why.

A few months ago, I found my grade school report cards in my father’s filing cabinet.  I opened them with great anticipation, as I assumed I had been a reasonably intelligent child.  What I found shook my very foundation:

Michele continues to resist any form of discipline.  She struggles with social structures and often retreats from the group.

Michele is having trouble with motor skills a child of her age should have mastered by now.  She isn’t able to skip and will not pass unless she can show improvement in this arena.

Michele continues to have difficulty with division.  I will send exercises home with her, please follow through and test her skills often.   I don’t want to hold her back a year.

One day, my eye caught this video about Asperger’s syndrome.  Odd, I thought.  My video subscriptions are either music, history or politics.  I wasn’t subscribed to this channel.  Apparently, God wanted to get my attention. He had it.

On the third visit to my family physician, he tested me.  To my utter shock, he confirmed my suspicions.  On one of the tests I took, where 34 was the cut off for Asperger’s-I scored a 41.  I wasn’t convinced.  Why hadn’t someone caught this sooner?  I loved my family pediatrician, Dr. Shultheis.   He was a capable and compassionate physician.  Wouldn’t he have picked up on it?

Here’s the rub:  my early years (beginning at age 3) were spent in and out of the hospital.  I had Pyelonephritis and required multiple surgery.  I spent months at a time trying to recover from the latest surgery, latest dilation.  It was painful and I came to the point where every time my mother made lasagna or meatballs?  I knew what was coming, another painful hospital stay.

In my early teens I developed anorexia.  That required a tremendous amount of money and work on my poor mother’s part.  By the time I married my husband at thirty one, my teeth and hair had been ravaged by malnutrition.

My point?  There was always something else going on, something that took any thoughts of curing my depression, anxiety and other issues out of our minds.

The need to isolate.

The hours and hours I spent in my bedroom, headphones on, rocking back and forth in my hanging wicker chair.

My trouble with angry outbursts, extreme sensitivity, a shyness that came off as arrogance to everyone around me.  My intense desire for routine and structure.  My heightened senses:  I can smell a dead mouse from a mile away, and I hear things my husband tells me I have no business hearing, as in–

How in the HELL did you hear that?

I attributed it to the Elkins nose, the hearing to a God given gift.

My name is Michele.  I have spent my entire journey searching for answers to my need to isolate, my fear of dirt and germs, my utter lack of common sense, and my passion for music.  Why couldn’t I manage my temper?  Why did I become so enraged?  Why did loud noises cause me such anxiety?  Why did I lack the common sense, the street smarts others seemed to own?

Why God, was I so incredibly different from everyone I had ever had the pleasure of meeting?  And how did I build this incredible wall around my heart after years of rejection and ignorance?

This is my journey, my cross to bear.

  My newest friend, a young Mennonite girl named Jolene, is a cashier at our local Good’s.  I was drawn to her love and compassion.  Last week I burst into tears while buying a can of paint.  Her precious heart was evident when she came around to embrace me.

“Would you like to have my youth group sing to you tomorrow?,” her angelic smile lit up her beautiful face.

And so it was, that ten of God’s angels sang The Old Rugged Cross in my tiny living room.  The Grinch’s heart let loose a sigh, and thanked the God she worshipped for blessings in disguise.