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

The Christ Child

Be patient with me, I am mid allergy flare (stupid dust from the wood stove) and my eyes are closing as we speak. I haven’t written in some time, as I try not to force anything, if I don’t feel it? I move on, baby, I move on! Plenty of things to keep my busy around a mildly run down farm house. A two hundred year old one, at that. I need to paint, my entire house no less-and have a kazillion things to fix, mend or glue. I mean, bathroom floor, refinishing our hardwood floors, the list goes on.

As it turns out? I love this old house. I treat her with kid gloves, and in return she gives me joy amidst the toil, a thank you of sorts, for continuing to love and respect what she once was, what she will be again, some day. I have done almost everything humanly possible to create a warm and inviting space-big, soft blankets strewn across our leather furniture. Each room an individual feel, no two rooms alike-that’s for sure. I suffer from depression at times, and it is my prayer to refinish her in a way befitting of her old, stoic beauty.

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This is our view from the deck at the pond.

So, finally getting to the point, I want to tell you that I was not myself over the last few weeks. Seasonal blues, combined with the side effects from my recent head injury and ensuing concussion (nausea, mood swings, headaches, and fatigue)put me in a place of utter despair.

I gave it all to God, and that helped immensely. Yet I still felt deeply saddened, as if the grief were going to swallow me whole-suffocate me with its deadly black cloak. I didn’t want to do, be, talk to or even participate in the holiday festivities. I had been depressed around this time of year before but this year? I had the added burden of wondering if we should be celebrating this holiday with pagan origins. I look at it this way: we know that 12/25 is not the date of Christ’s birthday, but we are celebrating our Lord and Savior as tradition has taught us for eons. I got into a quarrel with a Youtuber named Daniel Lee of Torah Restorations Ministries on his channel. This is what transpired, the cause and effect of an almost-ruined Christmas Eve:

Me: Merry Christmas Steve! (talking to another subscriber, not the MAN himself)

DANIEL: HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY SAY THAT TO SOMEONE KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE!! DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS, MICHELE, DO WHAT JESUS DID, PRACTICE HONUKAH INSTEAD!!!

I want to preface the next few paragraphs by telling you that I was a big fan of his channel, and we had grown to be like brother and sister. So much so that he was planning on staying with us this Spring, as he tours the universities of the East Coast to preach his message.

Me: Daniel, calm down. I’m not judging others, not my job, and Merry Christmas? Really, Daniel.

DANIEL: NO! YOUR HUSBAND AND YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

It was brutal, and on Christmas Eve, no less.

I dressed, unceremoniously for Christmas Eve service, we had to be early, as we were helping set up. I slowly went around, to each window, and plugged in the gorgeous wreaths. Nothing. I sat in the chapel while the band practiced, hoping the music would inspire me. Zilch.

Nope, it looked like I wasn’t going to rally for the cause. Christmas would come and go, and I would be left in the dust, blindsided by regret and pain. I held back tears as I sat for the service. The evening was beautiful, and as I watched the children take the stage in a haphazard way-I leaned forward, in order to see, in order to listen.

I watched as my pastor, Tony Blair, looked at the children on stage. His face softened, his eyes grew moist. He gazed at those precious little people, with such tangible joy and love-it was heart wrenching.

There are good people in this world-well meaning, honest human beings who truly care about the least of these. The world became a brighter place, instantaneously. As we lit our candles, one by one, I had drifted off to the landscape of the starry night in Bethlehem, and the very thought of the Christ child lifted me up and out of my inertia, my numbness.

Back at home, hours later, I sat in the dark and took in the beautiful Christmas tree, my dog and cats asleep beside it, dreaming of sugarplums-no doubt. I say there for some time and prayed.

I felt a bit of childhood whimsy, the spark of pure adrenaline a kid feels when they even think of Santa Claus. But this time? The floaty stomach and profound love in my heart was due to the love of my Lord and Savior, my Prince of Peace, my evening song-Emmanuel~

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.

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~

Kill Jezebel

Doing my best to calm down, peal myself off of the ceiling-coming back to planet Michele, after a trip of the light fantastic variety-harrowed after a brush with the oh-so-evil spirit of Jezebel. I try and remind myself that we are fighting unseen principalities and evil- the most demonic kind-not flesh and blood. My stomach churns and turns, the panic attack easing to the point of bearable.

Sheila and I have known each other for years. In my newfound sobriety, eleven years ago, at the bequest of my mother in law, I gave her a call. An attempt at friendship was squashed when she lashed out at me over something I didn’t do. Out of nowhere I was attacked, and the helpless and hopeless feelings, of which I know only too well, told me to end the experiment. I was a bit unnerved because Sheila had seen my testimony at a nearby church. She knew everything about my childhood emotional abuse, the chronic depression and anxiety, my fight for sobriety.

Two years ago, Sheila’s son was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. I reached out, and we kept in touch over the last few years via Facebook only. In the Spring I invited her over to see a movie-we had so much fun that I thought maybe, just maybe, I had been overly sensitive. She invited me to her exercise class, and I dove, headlong into a friendship that has been nothing but toxic since its recent re-inception. I let my guard down, allowed her back into my heart-a tragic mistake, at best. Over the years she has jumped me about things that never happened or were completely and utterly misconstrued.

Sheila told me she had a dysfunctional family. I believed her when her parents pulled a no show at her son’s funeral. In my mind, our families gave us a common bond. In the past few weeks I have felt the uneasiness, toxicity, but I found it hard to pinpoint. I had been walking on eggshells, and for a woman in recovery from severe CPTSD as a result of narcissistic abuse? That didn’t sit well. She raged when I didn’t sit next to her in class. If I am to be honest, I began feeling as if my personal integrity was at risk: I was people pleasing, and I knew that was more than just a huge, red flag. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but could not fathom a way out.

Happily ensconced in the same exercise class, Bands Across America, I have met absolutely lovely women here. I was so excited, as the girls have become a family of sorts, and it was a wonderful way to have female companionship. Never, in my wildest imagination, did I think my budding friendships with these women would push a sociopath to the very brink.

It began last week, when she snapped at me for making two of the girls in class lavender wreathes. I had mentioned that I was stressed about getting them done, that I hadn’t had the time.

“Don’t give them the wreaths, Michele. They will forget about them, it makes you look as if you’re trying to hard. I want you to be yourself.”

Those words sent me on a downward spiral, I can tell you. I questioned my friendships, motives and even sanity. Was I trying too hard?

I didn’t see it then, but as God is my witness, I see it now! The last time we text each other, I had poured out my heart-I literally bared my soul. Days went by, and not having heard from her, I text her that I was a bit worried, and that I was here if she needed me. Out of nowhere, the venom was spewed. She attacked me on every level, making little, if any, sense. She had misinterpreted almost every post I had recently made on Facebook. I don’t post often, and she rarely comments. But my God! She had been literally stalking me-I was unsettled, almost queasy.

Single. White. Female.

This morning, after reading yet another painful rant, I unfriended her from my Facebook account. This afternoon, she realized it. What followed was a maniacal, threatening and full on demonic tirade. She called me a liar, told me people in class were talking about me, made an ass of me about the wreaths. I told her that I would sue her fat white apple if word got back to me that she was trying to ruin a perfectly good reputation. I told her I didn’t appreciate the threats to go to my family with things I have said, as I have nothing to be ashamed of, to my way of thinking.

I put down my phone. I assumed the fetal position. Three hours later, I am shaky and exhausted from weeping. The trigger is brutal and unforgiving. I call my friend Bea. She prays over me and with me, she prays that God will give me the strength and grace to forgive her.

I put my phone on the charger, and again, I weep. Joyful tears flow freely down my cheeks, my heart swells with gratitude. I am unconditionally loved by a God so amazing, so incredible-the words escape me.

I am not less than. I am Bea’s friend.

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

 

Rabbit on the Run

This song takes me back to King of Prussia and our local ice skating rink. I can smell the ice, taste the poignancy of the moment-now lost to time. Lately, as I’ve looked back upon my fifty seven years; I am amazed that I have such a propensity of good memories-you would think quite the opposite. The facts are I was pretty darn happy until anorexia. My closeness to my father had not yet threatened my mother to the point of narcissistic abuse-although Mary Lou died young? She became a loving and generous mother, whom I have completely forgiven. I seethed in rage for years and years, like any addict; popping any pill I could to change my reality-to just feel better for a moment or two. I pushed down my rage and grief, and the end result almost killed me.

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The anger had to come out some way: windows were broken, suitcases packed-even physical restraint because I had become violent from drinking. This all happened after mom died. You see, rather than dealing with the emotion, or addressing a concern with a family member-I took everything out on myself. Somehow, some way along the line, someone had taught me I deserved to be punished. That I was so unworthy that to this day I have to keep my reality in check.

If I was furious with Dwain? I drank myself to sleep. Smoked two packs of cigarettes. If I thought no one loved me? I would cut my skin, as if to say “of course, no one loves you because you are unlovable…,” the pain from the self harming soothed me, pouring over me like so much manna-in essence, the pain transcended the emotional trauma, serving to distract my shattered heart.

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One day an epiphany: I am not the predator. I don’t purposely hurt others. I had love and joy in my heart, Christ in my very being. Why were so many people, those whose job was simply to love me; why was I constantly in emotional pain? More importantly-why was I allowing them the opportunity? It took years of trusting, loving and following Jesus; before I could trust Him enough to realize the truth of the matter. I am a sensitive Empath who bleeds openly for others, especially animals as their nature is pure. I can’t sit through an SPCA commercial, for crying out loud. I am opinionated. I have made a few more enemies than I would prefer, but when I believe in something; when the Holy Spirit is telling me I am right on the mark? Well, then I am a rabid dog, biting at the chance to right the wrong. I don’t like authority, ignorance, condescension or bullies. It takes me an hour to get ready in the morning and I am high maintenance; meaning I carry seltzer, gum and mace wherever I go-it drives my husband crazy, especially on Sundays: I always oversleep, which means I have to bring my coffee and makeup along as well.

Through faith, and because I cling to His robes for dear life-I have learned that people who treat you with disrespect, violence or apathy; well, they don’t belong in your life. You are a beloved child of God. You deserve to be loved, respected and treated as others would like to be treated by you! It isn’t easy to end a friendship, but I have had to end my familial relationships, and if that doesn’t make you tough as nails, well, I don’t know what will.

And once you start treating yourself with love, dignity and reverence-others won’t even try messing with your heart. They’ll know you won’t put up with it; they’ll know that you are somebody.