Lost, Inside My Own Mind

After a sobering sermon on forgiveness, I find myself searching my heart and mind for relief, release or at least a NOT GUILTY verdict-I discover that I have been looking at many things in the wrong light.

The spiritual director spoke before the band played.  She talked about her granddaughter’s 13th birthday party, planned at a roller rink-50 children were invited.  Only two girls out of those fifty came to the party-her granddaughter was crushed, and she wanted revenge of the eye for an eye sort.  She swore she wanted to go to each and every home that housed the little brats, because these girls responded YES to the invite.

Crushing.  I wept for the little girl, and didn’t stop weeping until the service was over.  I have felt that exact heartache; there is a special kind of pain related to disrespect, cruelty and sucker punches to the gut-it isn’t pretty and it isn’t right, but what can you do?

As of late, I have been isolating myself.  I left our church of four years, ended friendships that were toxic and one sided, even stopped going to exercise class-I blame it on my bad knee, which is partly true.  The other reason?  I have been deeply hurt by no less than three women in that very class.  One woman was a long time friend who taunted me to the point of madness-she belittled, chastised and stalked.  I was honest with her, and no apology was forthcoming, not that I expected or demanded one.  I had hopes for the other two women, a friendship was budding…but these ladies had been BFFs forever, and the one didn’t think too kindly of me butting into the equation.

I had arranged a tea for us this past Winter.  We were having a lovely time until the woman I later learned was insecure and unforgiving, told me that she never attended our local bent and dent discount store because, wait for it…Amish people smell.

“What the fazuck am I doing here?”  The last thing I wanted was another judgmental and unforgiving woman in my life.  I dropped the ball and there it lay.  As much as I needed to get out amongst the living, protecting my heart was much more important.  I haven’t been back in months.  It saddens me because I truly felt at ease with these women, until someone complained about my baking a carrot cake for a member’s birthday.

What is wrong with people?

It amazes me how God works in our lives.  I had thought for years that the women of Schaefferstown were uppity and lackluster, set in their ways and averse to any one or any thing that challenged their black and white view of life.  One particular day I was called out by the instructor as I sat, minding my own business, talking to the woman next to me.

Were you a rebel in High School?”

It happens everywhere I go:  because I don’t care what others think of me, or perhaps because I do, in my own way-I stick out like a sore thumb.  In college I began working at a local restaurant as a hostess.  I sensed the cocktail waitresses and bartender were none too pleased with the new girl-the young blonde with the happy go lucky attitude was shunned-so I turned myself into the dumb young blonde who sarcastically spoke of the customers and employees with condescension and a touch of malice.

Everyone loved her.

I fancied myself an imbecile, too stupid to add up a bar tab, too clumsy to carry a tray of cocktails, too silly to ever be taken seriously.  As an emotionally abused child I learned how to fade into the woodwork;  and now, in my fifties?  I simply can’t risk one more heartache-so I shut myself down, don’t risk putting myself out there.  I have become my mother.

And so it was, as I sat there in the tiny little church in a strip mall this morning, that I began to feel the Grinch’s heart warm up a tad.  I wanted to raise my hand and ask the pastor how one is supposed to forgive seven times seventy without being seen and treated like a doormat.  I truly believe that is why I wasn’t taken seriously to begin with-the old Sara was abundantly loving and incredibly happy, despite all that stood in her way.  The new version?  Hardened, calloused and distrusting of anyone who gives her a sideways glance.  Nothing gets in, yes-but nothing goes out, and that is the point of this blog.

I want my heart back, Jesus.  I miss the girl with open arms and a love for others that couldn’t be dimmed, no matter the beating I took out in the real world.

Oh, what I wouldn’t do to have her back~

 

Like Some Heroine….

Every other Sunday, I work at our church Welcome Center.  I genuinely like my coworker, (names have been changed to protect the criminally insane, mainly me) Alice.  When we began working together, about two years ago, she frightened me to death.  I feared she may be judgmental, and I’ll be honest-she intimidated me-two years ago, that is.

When I first began attending Hosanna, I wasn’t in the best place at that time in my life.  I hadn’t dealt with my poor self esteem issues, and was not aware that my PTSD was eating away at my life, making me cripplingly insecure, and a people pleaser.  I tried to hard.  I wanted everyone to love me.  I had just come from a very broken church, and the grief enveloped me to the point where I am sure it showed.

Alice is pleasant, and I admire her status as a cancer survivor.  She likes things done her way, so we have fallen into a pattern of her doing the desk work, and me doing the people work.  I know she means well, but I am beginning to tire of her putting me down.  I am beginning to feel as if I should protect my heart, as she criticizes almost everything I do-but here’s the catch-she’s my sister and I love her, so therein lies the rub.

I told Alice about a picture of one of the congregants cats, who had just passed away.

I don’t do any social media.  You have to be very careful being on the internet, it is very evil and you are swayed way too easily.  You have no idea what goes on, (she is shaking her head as if I am a toddler) and we (Christians) would do best to stay away.

I mentioned that I wrote a blog on WordPress, a Christ centered one at that.  She mumbled underneath her breath.

I wanted to say something, yet gone is my rage.  I find it impossible to remain angry with some folks, and what is the point of harboring resentment?  I need to speak up or shut up.  I will pray for a way to approach her-say my peace and be done with it.

I believe she would be horrified to think she has hurt me; and I know I enabled the behavior simply by allowing it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is kind and compassionate-yet today it kind of stood out, and gone are my paranoid ways: as a sensitive and intuit, I found it excruciatingly difficult to discern between being oversensitive and just plain hurt.  Over the past two years, Jesus and I have been working on my self esteem, values and perceptions.  I now know that I am okay, worthy and pure in God’s eyes.  This has changed not only my persona, but my boundaries.

I have found freedom in authenticity.  It has been a tiring, painful journey to get to this stage in the game-where I have tired of the human punching bag role in life.  I think myself equal with all people, no better, no worse.

How is Jesus working in your life?  Anyone have a similar experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts~<3

Wild Child

 

I remember my sister and myself, attending a party years ago; my childhood friend Mark was dating a real hum dinger-no one particularly liked her, but she was honest, in a crippling kind of way.  I overheard this observation:

Well, if it isn’t Twisted Sister and Little Bo Peep.

I knew I wasn’t meant to hear her, but I have bionic ears.  My husband marvels at the fact that even when the television is playing at a deafening  volume, I can hear a tiny field mouse in a bag of chips on the other side of the house; or the kitchen door alarm, dryer buzzer and what the neighbors are discussing at any given moment in time.  I kid, of course-I don’t want to know what my in laws talk about, believe me.

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Here is a random, blurry picture I took, with a random pet’s foot.

Anyhooser, as I was saying, this girl Mark was dating had no clue who she was messing with.  My catchphrase used to be-

Don’t F with a mother F-er. 

and I had the reputation to boot!  I have never taken kindly to the idiocy of some people, and quite frankly?  I told people off with wild abandon.  But there was a missing link, alas, I could not do the same with the people in my life that needed to be kicked in the ass; and then, later in life?  The codependency.  In essence, I pick my battles with great care-but I can be one scary bitch if I need to be.

Yes, I have an Irish temper, yet God has carefully redirected my rage via hiking, gardening and Kayaking.  I grew up in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-best known for the Court at King of Prussia.  I lived there before the mall, when there was nothing but the Valley Forge shopping center.  As I grew closer to graduating from high school, I knew from a place deep down inside me, that I would not stay.  The mere thought of running into the cheerleaders who had turned their nose at me for years- in some run down 7-eleven, whilst buying a pack of Marlboro lights.  I think you smell what I’m about to step in: I was a wild child.

bloom blooming blossom blur
The simple things are the most breath taking~

I was a loner as well, still am, to this day.  I could lose myself for hours in the woods-and back then, there was little danger of being kidnapped, bludgeoned or left for dead in the middle of a country road (that happened years later, when I was hit be a drunk on a Harley.  I was the drunk on the road)  Good times.

As a child, I questioned everything.  My poor mother must have wanted to shove a sock in it, on more than one occasion.  One day, I was about four (so the story goes) when I stormed into the kitchen and announced that I would one day be living on a farm, and nobody was going to change my mind.  It gives me chills that I ended up doing just that.

A farmette,  but a farm nonetheless.  An outdoor cat colony (thirteen at present) and indoor cat colony of four, and a golden retriever.  I live in Amish country, and haven’t returned to King of Prussia since my father passed away-no reason to.  I remember sighing with relief, when we made frequent trips to see daddy, once we took our exit on the turnpike.  Once you take the girl out of the city?  It’s virtually impossible to get her back.

As I have grown in my faith I have learned, and on some level always known, that my peace and joy would come from the simplest of things: a snail shell found in a corn field, the ice formations on maple leaf, the snow fall on a Winter’s day, a spider’s web of antique lace.  I recently wondered to myself if I would ever grow up, and the Holy Spirit led me to this bible passage:

How many are your works, Lord!  In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.                                                         Psalm 104:24

Look at life through the eyes of a child-and there you will see His splendor and majesty.

Be blessed~

Uphill is Over, Folks…

I wrote this blog months ago, and God wanted me to see it today.  I want to tell you how rich the tapestry of my life has been woven, by God.  As in before, He has blessed me beyond measure, after a dark and trying time.

I learned several things this past week.  I am a firm believer in allowing grief to take its course, to nourish and at the same time reign in our deep despair and downward spiral into darkness.  It is always, always Jesus who brings me up from the muck and mire.  He reminds me, at times subtly and at times in your face, you can’t make this stuff up-synchronicities that literally blow my mind.

I also learned that if you spend enough time in the darkness, it will envelop you.  I may have forced my laughter at breakfast this morning-but the folks in the diner knew no better.  Today I forced myself to be amongst the living, and it helped to lighten the load.  It is both a blessing and curse that I can’t speak of the truth in my rural, conservative town.  This recent trigger means I begin at the beginning, once again.  I will isolate, I won’t trust you, and chances are, I may, unintentionally, hurt your feelings.

That’s my biggest thing.  I can’t stomach the idea of purposefully hurting another human being.  I am this way because I know what it’s like to be sensitive, even overly so at times.  I used to hate my nakedness, the vulnerability out there in the big, bad world.  After daddy died?  I have been walking this earth as an orphan, since his passing-my family has fallen apart.  There are days when I feel his presence, and when I do (oh those cherished moments) I think of my other Father in Heaven.  He knew what He was doing when He put me together, in my mother’s womb.   I wouldn’t change me for the world, but it took decades to live in this space.

So, after working in the garden all day, I jumped into the shower-my phone set on Pandora-the Seneibo Sey channel.  What followed were the most uplifting, refreshing and inspirational Christian songs I had ever heard.  Jesus was speaking to me through the music-and per our usual, He took my hand and removed me from the abyss.

And I have nothing to fear, and neither do you.  Remember who you are in Christ-

 

 

I sat on the couch, my mouth ajar. Come again? ‘Scuse me? What the Harry?

How is it possible that seemingly overnight, my blog had 3,000 visitors, from all over the globe? How does one go from 50 views on average, to 2,328? There is no bravado or pride in my shock-quite the contrary, I am floored.

I looked over the last week of my life. The bad fall, trip to the ER, the head injury I am recovering from. Oh, it didn’t end there. After drinking Chia Kombucha, against my better judgment, I had a case of diverticulitis so ugly, I am still, three days later, passing gas. The pain began Saturday morning, in my gut; by Sunday it had travelled to the pit of my arm-leaving me to wonder: did I break a rib in the fall?

Anyhoosers, as I was crying out to Jesus yesterday, I knew. I knew within the fibers of my very being that the joy would indeed come in the morning. I thought back over the trials and triumphs He has brought me through. The common thread is an overabundance of joy after the lesson is learned. I know that He wanted my attention, and perhaps, had I given it to Him earlier, I could have avoided the shiner of a lifetime.

“God is going to bless us, Jesse. Just you wait and see-it’s going to be beautiful,” I sang just the morning before, to a golden retriever who’s soul, I am convinced, is a mate to my own.

We can be blinded by the negativity of the world, or we can live freely, moment by moment, clinging to the Grace of God. I believe there is a season and time for everything. I know that Trump is winning the war on evil-the evidence of SRA is daunting, and I was brutally reminded of God’s wish that I back off from digging any further-after seeing a clip of HRC, in a slasher movie, with Huma Aberdeen and a child. Yes. This is true. This is fact.

I turned my pc off and head down the stairs for God’s word.

He alone can seek vengeance, and vengeance will be His.

An Unkindness of Ravens

When I was frolicking in the New Age movement (please DON’T) I took notice that a cacophony of ravens followed me-from state to state in fact, and it took me some time to realize that this was not a good thing.  Between a well meaning Reiki Master (please DON’T) led me to Doreen Virtue’s angel cards, spirit guides, and the pineal gland.  

I came to my senses when I went to her immediately after being stalked by a naked, wild haired, crazy man-and she told me I created the scenario, you know, by thinking about it.  Kind of like The Secret, but backwards.  Most of you know I went through absolute hell getting out of such ridiculousness and evil.  The day of my plummet back into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I phoned my sister.

She never got back to me.

The same thing happened the day I was thrown down on my knees in utter sorrow, for the Holy Spirit had made it clear-I needed to apologize and repent.  I didn’t really have a choice in the matter-on my knees for what seemed like hours, repeating over and over:

I have grieved your heart.

I had never, nor do I hope to ever feel that sadness and despair again.

religious wall art inside building
When my anxieties multiply, your comforting calms me down. -Psalm 94:19

I had been praying recently, about trying to make things “right” with my sibling.  Abba answered that prayer rather quickly, as He reminded me that even though I have forgiven her, it doesn’t change who she is.  How could I possibly move forward without an apology, or even an attempt to  talk things out?

And what would become of my authentic self and the tough road walked to freedom from people who did not have my best interests at heart.  I cleaned the closet of close friendships, and wound up making new friendships.  And although I love my sister, and dearly miss my nieces and nephew?

I broke the chains that bound me.  I can never go back.

Never.

 

Like Some Heroine….

Every other Sunday, I work at our church Welcome Center.  I genuinely like my coworker, (names have been changed to protect the criminally insane, mainly me) Alice.  When we began working together, about two years ago, she frightened me to death.  I feared she may be judgmental, and I’ll be honest-she intimidated me-two years ago, that is.

When I first began attending Hosanna, I wasn’t in the best place at that time in my life.  I hadn’t dealt with my poor self esteem issues, and was not aware that my PTSD was eating away at my life, making me cripplingly insecure, and a people pleaser.  I tried to hard.  I wanted everyone to love me.  I had just come from a very broken church, and the grief enveloped me to the point where I am sure it showed.

Alice is pleasant, and I admire her status as a cancer survivor.  She likes things done her way, so we have fallen into a pattern of her doing the desk work, and me doing the people work.  I know she means well, but I am beginning to tire of her putting me down.  I am beginning to feel as if I should protect my heart, as she criticizes almost everything I do-but here’s the catch-she’s my sister and I love her, so therein lies the rub.

I told Alice about a picture of one of the congregants cats, who had just passed away.

I don’t do any social media.  You have to be very careful being on the internet, it is very evil and you are swayed way too easily.  You have no idea what goes on, (she is shaking her head as if I am a toddler) and we (Christians) would do best to stay away.

I mentioned that I wrote a blog on WordPress, a Christ centered one at that.  She mumbled underneath her breath.

I wanted to say something, yet gone is my rage.  I find it impossible to remain angry with some folks, and what is the point of harboring resentment?  I need to speak up or shut up.  I will pray for a way to approach her-say my peace and be done with it.

I believe she would be horrified to think she has hurt me; and I know I enabled the behavior simply by allowing it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is kind and compassionate-yet today it kind of stood out, and gone are my paranoid ways: as a sensitive and intuit, I found it excruciatingly difficult to discern between being oversensitive and just plain hurt.  Over the past two years, Jesus and I have been working on my self esteem, values and perceptions.  I now know that I am okay, worthy and pure in God’s eyes.  This has changed not only my persona, but my boundaries.

I have found freedom in authenticity.  It has been a tiring, painful journey to get to this stage in the game-where I have tired of the human punching bag role in life.  I think myself equal with all people, no better, no worse.

How is Jesus working in your life?  Anyone have a similar experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts~<3

Fear is a Liar…

I hope you never know the pain of addiction.  The terror within, knowing you could lose every person you have ever loved; the fear of life without your drug of choice can be more overwhelming that the addiction itself.  Twenty years ago, a reputable (and I lose the term lightly) dentist prescribed me 100 Vicodin, rather than fix a cracked tooth.  I had just had my wisdom teeth removed, and I had suffered a dry socket, the pain affected each and every part of my life-I welcomed the relief.

I just watched my beloved Donald J. Trump give a speech for National Prayer Day.  If he only knew what those words mean to recovering addicts nationwide-I bowed my head in prayer, and threw up my hands to a savior who changed my life-one day at a time.  I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately describe the miracle I am now living; sober, healthy and despite the enemy’s attempts?  Holy laughter fills my weary, leery heart.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a façade: an absolutely useless tool for people who are too desperate to question the twelve step program.  I had no idea, not a clue, until recently when I found my first three chips-one month, one year, five years.  I was cleaning out a drawer, and the spirit within nudged me to look closer.

Do As Thou Wilt

The words surrounded a pyramid.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Was that the reason I watched friends die, divorce, and relapse over and over again?  I think so.  Satan is the father of ALL lies, and he seeks to destroy you.  Our only weapon against him is Jesus, and I hope you never have to test my theory.

I remember being corrected when I gave my testimony in a meeting one evening.

Don’t say God, just say your ‘higher power,’ it offends people.

That was my last evening in the building.  What I endured in those five years of meetings was nothing short of an onslaught of misery.  The hits kept coming, until the day I decided that life was too short, my faith too strong.

I didn’t need AA.

It is my prayer that God gives you the strength and the rage to get through recovery, which is a lifelong process.  If you are willing to trust in the Prince of Peace?  There you will find your freedom from oppression, dependence and the powers that presently rule this earth.

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography
You simply cannot fathom how good it gets when you let go of the chains that bind.