Hesed Love

There are peaks and valleys in everyone’s lives-moments when we throw our heads back in laughter and joy; and those where we have to dust ourselves off, check for permanent damage and regain a grip on reality.

We had a wonderful weekend. Our Christmas party for our church was held locally, so we finally made it this year. I imagined dimmed lights and a D.J. I was dressed in an original Bob Mackie jacket, fur boots and a gold trimmed dress that takes my breath away-sadly, whilst trying to zip me in the back, Dwain broke the zipper-so I went wearing said dress anyway, safety pinned in the back. Black velvet. Vintage clothing, and luckily I bought it for 50 cents. Imagine my shock when we walk into a room lit up like the sun itself. I am morbidly overdressed, and the track lights are making me anxious. I consider wearing sunglasses, but can’t embarrass my husband like that, and trust me-I’ve tried.

So long as we love we serve, so long as we are loved by others,
I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend. -Robert Louis Stevenson

We didn’t dance, there was no music. No disco ball.

The food was fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Corn. Warm pineapple compote.

No booze. No hard drugs.

Just us and our belove brothers and sisters in Christ. We laughed until it hurt, shed a few tears of compassion-and loved one another. I won a door prize, which shocked the shat out of me. There was no hangover the next day, no remorse, and no time to waste-we were having good friends over for dinner, I had promised spaghetti and meatballs-and we prayed before they arrived, as they are facing hardship and heartache, in their unique valley of doom. We love them so much, it hurts to see them hurt.

I broke into tears over the parmesan cheese. Somehow, the conversation had turned to the Great Awakening, politics, the hardest stuff…and after carrying the weight of the world upon my shoulders (or so it seemed) I cracked. I began blubbering about the Bush funeral. I sat with my dear friend while she watched videos, articles and memes-convinced that I would hear what I have heard from day one- Fake News!!!!

But here is the profound conclusion I came to last evening:

If another truly loves you, and respects your thought process and ability to think for yourself? Chances are that you will be heard. Heard and loved, despite your words, despite the news. She took it all in, calmed my heart, heard me out.

Psalm 136 speaks of God’s steadfast love, which endures forever. The Hebrew word for this is Hesed love. It is repeated over and over in the Old Testament, and written twenty six times in Psalm 136 alone! While no modern word can fully capture the meaning; we translate it as “loving kindness,” “mercy,” or “loyalty.”

Hesed is a loved based on covenant commitment; love that is loyal and faithful. Even when God’s people sinned, He was faithful in loving them. His love for you will remain steadfast-a reality that provides the foundation, therock on which we place our entire lives.

Oh what a foundation it is!

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By Our Love…

 

I love my home church-for better or worse, this family stands behind one another, in sickness, tragedy, poverty:  we love one another and it shows.  Don’t get me wrong, we all have our moments, but in general there is love to spare.

Did you ever feel defeated?  That is how I’ve felt, more or less in the past week.  I get up in the morning and go through the motions, and obsessively compulse about the house, which leaves me fatigued and cranky.  I feel as if I am one of the least of these.  What did Jesus say to his followers about the least of these?

I tell you the truth, if any one of you give food or clothing to the least of these, you will be feeding and clothing  me.  

You see, Jesus loved us so much that he chose to become one of us in order to pay for our sins.  He continues to love and nurture us, meet our needs and work behind the scenes-to give us comfort, joy and peace.

I’m pretty stoic about my story.  I give my testimony when asked, and sometimes when the Holy Spirit puts it on my heart to come alongside a kindred spirit, or weary soldier- let them know that not only will God use your pain to bless you abundantly, and that  they are not alone in their battles.

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 Because, my child, I was carrying you.

I’d been feeling that I had nothing to offer, and was not worthy because my Lyme is charity inhibitive.   Oh, my will to help is there, but by the time I get dinner on the stove, I am battered and bruised from my battle-I just want to sit and repair a few brain cells at the end of the day; maybe pet my dog, you know…

As I was leaving the service this morning, a woman I have prayed with but don’t know well approached me outside.  She went on to tell me that she woke at the crack of dawn, couldn’t sleep and got to praying.  She said that God spoke to her, and she wanted to relay the message-

“He knows you are hurting.  He wants you to know that your relationships will bring great love and beauty to your life, that he is working behind the scenes, and that the truth will come out in the end.”

I wept and hugged her.  I thanked her and put my hands to her beautiful face.  She could not know what she has given me, what I needed more than breath itself.

If you need help, reach out.  God hears your angst and it’s healthy to pray for yourself as well.  Give your burdens to Him.  And look out for those hippies full of peace and love-follow them-they have what you need.

A Preponderance of Joy

I hate to complain. My mother used to complain all of the time, I think it’s an Irish thing-it is also a narcissistic thang, and I try not to fall into the rabbit hole, if you catch my drift…:)

It is Sunday, November 25th-and I have been in bed for two entire days with the flu. These past few days are among the most harrowing of my life; and I have had some batshit crazy times. This was a perfect Trifecta,(premenstrual, full moon and the fact that I knew I was getting sick, which makes me semi-hysterical to begin with) and I had to hand it to Jesus this morning, when I cracked my first joke since the FUBAR that was my Thanksgiving.

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All kidding aside, it began soon after we left the Thanksgiving dinner our church holds annually-to feed the homeless and those facing hard times. I was in high spirits, I had made a new friend whilst cutting approximately 2,687 pies-and with a head cold, thank you very much. I was trying to figure out why Dwain and I weren’t in our traditional holiday cat fight, when, to no one’s surprise-it all came crashing down.

I had a blast volunteering at our church’s annual Thanksgiving meal for our community. I was delighted to be assigned pie duty (not so delighted after slicing approximately 2,657 pumpkin pies) with a jovial woman I immediately bonded with. I had that lift in my loafers as we head out the door, bound for my in laws and we were still doing quite well.

The Mother of All Bombs occurred, and right in front of the entire family.

I was so bored watching football with the guys, but no women had formed any coffee klatches, so I wandered over to my sister in law and her sister in law. As a follower of independent and conservative news, I know how important it is to try and warn folk about what is coming. The good and great news is that we are winning, the white hats, that is…evil is being stomped out of America, and I feel a responsibility to warn others. It’s some heavy stuff, so I went with the lighter news.

“Guys, there is going to be a ton of shit hitting the fan in the near future, and I’ll start this with telling you that JFK, Jr. is still alive.”

I went on to give facts, which were met with “FAKE NEWS!!!!” and a few attacks on my credibility. I simply stood up, placed the pillow back where it belonged, and went to sit with my husband. Because of the “trifecta,” I was a walking nerve end. I had just told my husband that I had an uncomfortable encounter with his sister, and he yelled at the football game, like-right in my ear. Which led me to shriek, because it frightened the life force out of me.

I shut down, completely: grabbed my coat and head up the hill to our home, which held my beloved fireplace, dog and pc. I took a shower and got good and cozy. I sat there for a few hours when I realized that I felt like a dog crapping bones, and I knew deep within that had I lingered on that couch? I would remain there, petrified to the leather, Kombucha in hand.

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I went up to my sleigh bed, the sun shining clearly, a beam of light hitting my braided rugs. Just as I had make myself comfortable, my husband walks into the bedroom.

“What’s going on?,” he says, softly at first.

What’s going on is, I have the flu and I was just publicly humiliated by a stranger, at my own Thanksgiving, my hormones are screaming kill her, murder her and it’s full moon.

Perfectly. Good. Explanation.

And then, as if in a slow motion nightmare, my husband says this:

“I defended you down there all day!!!!”

Guys, if you are reading this, never-and I mean NEVER tell your hysterical wife that you defended her for any reason, whatsoever.

I wanted to know why he “defended” me, but he isn’t giving. He storms out of the bedroom, and down to the settee. I am absolutely stricken with rage. Alas, I am too weak to do much about this; but the next day I feel well enough to look for apartments. My husband tells me he is “headed for a nervous breakdown.” I take lots of nighttime cold medicine, and sweat through the pain.

I cry out to Jesus. I give my weary heart over to Him. Take this, Jesus, I can’t deal another second. I end up having restless leg syndrome, and my husband and I break out laughing hysterically-even though it’s 3 a.m. and neither of us has slept a wink.

And now? Merely 24 hours later?

I have managed to make the bed and don fresh underwear.

Hey, it’s a start.

Giving Thanks

I was going about my daily routine, when I remembered that it was Thanksgiving. As I expected my normally bleak reaction to this holiday, I was shocked by a thrill that ran through, my veins. I heard the Holy Spirit-loudly and clearly:

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GIRL, YOU BEST GET YOURSELF A NEW ATTITUDE, AS YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A FABULOUS THANKSGIVING.

No. He doesn’t always speak in this manner, and believe me-no one was more surprised than me. I decided to skip the plans I had to bake all day; I lit a candle and plugged in my ambience. I took care getting ready, and I found myself coming around, even becoming cautiously optimistic.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was just getting ready to sit, when I heard a faint knock on my door. We live out in the country, and I never get company during the work week. I grabbed my mace and slid into the mud room.

“JACKIE!!!”

I ran to let her in, out of the bitter wind, into my humble abode. Jackie is not just a friend, she is a sister in every sense of the word. We read each other like sisters do, and even if months go by without our paths crossing? We fall into our dance as if together daily. I loveJackie.

We sat only a few moments before I caught the look on her face. It read of deep and troubled waters, and before long she was pouring out her heart. My breath caught at the ideathat she could be in such terrible pain. She looked up, smiled wanly and said:

It’s Thanksgiving.”

And as I sit here by the fireplace, my dog and cats sleeping soundly at my feet-I know. I know with a peace that surpasses all understanding-she will be okay. Better than that. She is cherished by a Savior who died on the cross that we may have everlasting life!

And for that, oh for that I give thanks to Jesus.

I wish you all a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving~

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He’s Just a Shout Away….

 

After a three day weekend of sitting on my hind end, I bust out of the gate in record time this morning!  I stopped drinking the joe, you know-my anxiety, and I have three words people, three words.  

My effing head.

Holy headache Batman!  Momma never told me there’d be days like this; but then again, she drank a pot a day…I remember well the mornings she would rise before the crack of dawn; to make our lunches and breakfast from scratch.  As an anorexic, I was beyond privileged to have homemade salads and gourmet cheese for lunch.  And French dressing, please.  The girls at my lunch table (the crew team from Upper Merion, my Alma Mater) envied me so much they started to bring salads themselves.  My arch nemesis, Kathy Quarto (sweet Jesus she was so competitive with me, until I finally got good and angry…and beat her ass at our annual one mile run) copied each and everything I did, because she saw how thin I was and I suppose she wanted to slim down.  I is who I is, and didn’t like her constant nearness, watching every move I made.

I remember the day well.  Beautiful, sunny Fall day.  I was on the Varsity Crew team for various reasons:  my brother was and I followed him everywhere.  Hmm.  Perhaps that was Karma for treating Kathy so impatiently, ’cause I know for a fact he hated the shadowing.  Craig was a member of the UM Varsity Four, which took first place (I was their coxswain) so often we were invited to Belgium for Finals.  I didn’t go, as I was embroiled in a bad case of anorexia/bulimia.  But back to the race…

Kathy had beat me at, well, everything.  But this day would be different, and I’m pretty sure I shocked the shit right out of the girl when I beat her by 18 seconds.  Of course I peed my pants in doing so, the team was cheering me on as I ran straight past the finish line and into the locker room.  I believe my brother carried me to the car that day…I won, but I broke myself.  🙂

What made the difference on this day of days?

I prayed.

Father God, this chic is a pain in my apple!!!  I can’t shake her, so please let me, just once, beat her ass into oblivion.

She didn’t speak to me for months.

Got trouble?

He’s just a shout away…

There Was a Formula

I have been mulling over the idea for some time now: it’s time to change the format of my blog, and with what I have in mind? I think it’s going to be a necessary and positive rearrangement. 🙂

As always, the focus of my writing will be the same: Christ-centered, authentic and sassy-it’s the way I roll, so thank you all for reading my musings! It is my constant prayer that they will reach the eyes that bleed for comfort and community. Here goes nothing!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

The really important things in life can’t be said, only shown.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

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A while back I wrote about a friend from church who had told me God spoke to her in the early morning hours, about me, about my loneliness-as she was going down her prayer list. Unable to sleep, Lisa grabbed her Holy Bible, and asked the Holy Spirit to guide her in prayer. When she came to my name, the message was loud and clear:

She will have beautiful and meaningful relationships. She went on to try to explain just how much of a blessing this would be, but she cried with me instead.

I think of her and that moment often, even daily. Over the past few years, I have traded my sob story for one of real and true joy and reconciliation. Sadly, some of the changes did not suit a few of the people I had been holding on to; long after I knew that there was little left to grasp.

SCRIPTURE OF THIS GLORIOUS DAY

Kind people do themselves a favor, but cruel people bring trouble on themselves. -Proverbs 11:17 NCV

I quietly walked away from those who knew me as my former self. The friends who knew me to be a people pleasing, bleeding heart doormat-who allowed herself to be treated very poorly. I cannot stress the importance of one of the keys to happiness: you’ve heard this a million, zillion times before, but if you don’t love yourselfit will be impossible to gain the respect and love of others.

Although I have decided to keep the posts about Narcissistic Abuse and Complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the bare minimum (I have seen professionals who suffered at the hands of a narcissist make careers out of helping other survive the phenomena. While I respect the hell out of these people, I can not, will not allow this family tragedy define who I am. In order to survive, I am putting the past where it belongs. At the moment, the California fires are raging: these are not the usual forest fire-and they are headed oh so steadily towards my brother and his family. I have no way of knowing if they are okay. I have no way of knowing if ANY of my family is okay; so I will let go and let God.

However, there is so much to be said for sticking to your guns-not allowing others to control the narrative. Guard your heart, that’s what the Lord says-and in doing so I have emerged as if a Phoenix rising: finally able to be myself. No peanut gallery comments, such as:

After years of struggling with alcoholism and depression:

“Are you on the right medication? I think you may be Bipolar.”

After hosting mon frère for lunch (last time we spoke, in August)

“Quite sure you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. Have a great weekend.” Sent via email. And after telling my estranged sister not to bother showing up at my funeral:

“You fucked up Michele. YOU FUCKED UP.” This, by the way, from my “best” friend who almost killed my cat while we were in upstate NY last year on vacation.

SONG OF THE DAY

I spent yesterday with two amazing women I met in exercise class. They are smart and loving and kind, and I am almost out of my mind excited to begin this new phase of my life. And I get to live it as ME!!!!

Yep. Gotta stop sobbing and get busy living.

Blessings.

Fearless

Fear. Gripping, faceless, heart-stopping emotion. Different things frighten different people-but I remember, even as a child-being petrified by everything. I believe the dysfunction stemmed from a childhood in which I was raised by two incredibly anxious parents. As the years went by, I grew more and more fearful. Heights. Highways. Social venues. The straw that broke my back was the stalking I experienced two years ago-I dove into a depression so devastating, I thought for sure I would die of heartache. The world was becoming an increasingly violent place, and I wanted no parts of it, none.

I dove into the Word last Summer. The more I read the scriptures, the deeper my peace became. I began stepping out of my comfort zone: crossed a wooden bridge 800 in the air, over a rolling, rocky river. That was Jesus and to this day, I remember the way in which my terror was transformed within moments. After giving my husband a firm NO WAY, I quietly asked my Abba,

“Give me the strength Father, for Dwain. Let me be brave for my husband.”

Seconds later? I crossed that bridge like a boss, without any trepidation. I walked that rickety death trap twice, as we had to use the bridge to return to our truck, after having visited the other side of the river. One day I will find and share those pictures, as they may inspire hope in fellow Chicken Littles.

I began trusting Jesus for everything. Seemingly overnight, my crippling fear eased into a new normal, of brazen acts and caution, thrown oh so carefully to the wind. I put on the full armor of God. I prayed without ceasing, and failed often and miserably. One day I took notice. I stopped to reflect, to look back and see how incredibly far I’d come-how loved and cared for I had always been. I take it minute by minute, literally. I know the Holy Spirit will lead me to discernment. I force nothing-if it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t get done.

In days such as these, when courage is required to simply be, it is as simple as calling out His name. I have my bad days, but not for stretches of time, as before. I know what to do, in those darkened hours of grief and angst: he will never desert you, ever.

No matter how hard it is, no matter what the size or magnitude of your pain, reach out to Jesus. He knows each and every hair on your freakishly large head. 🙂