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.

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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.

 

The Mammogram Blues

Suspended animation:  what women feel the week before, and every moment leading up to-the dreaded annual mammogram.  My Lord!  I’d like to meet the son of a bitch who invented these machines-not that I’m not thankful for early detection.  Here’s my question to the AMA:  why must a woman go through this unholy torture chamber each and every year, when we know DAMN well you have a thing called ultrasounds?

Who the fuck are you and what have you done with my tits?

I am in no way trying to frighten anyone out of getting this procedure.  Some women feel nothing at all, but then we have the group of flat chesters like myself.  Mother of God it hurts.  It is the equivalent of trying to squeeze more juice from the lemon you threw out last week.  And the bitch maneuvering the equipment always finds a reason to squish my breasts to smithereens.

“Oh, honey, we didn’t get enough last time, let me just adjust your breast, whoops!  Just pushed your mammary glands up through your anal cavity!  Lololol”

Excuse me, but why is this even a “thing?”

I was wondering what would happen if I went postal on this hooligan, like, what could they do to me, right?  Some women faint, others scream at the top of their lungs (really, totally uncalled for ladies) and some women beat the living shit out of the radiographers.

Simple, really.

 

Hey, Ho

I spent the first forty-four years of my life running from who I was, and more importantly, from what people assumed me to be.  I was the third mammary gland, the outcast, the one perceived to be different.  Women hated me, my family didn’t know what to do with me, and I had a drinking problem so severe?  That sealed the deal on my social status.  Period.

I didn’t realize how truly alone I was until a few years ago, when the bottom dropped and I was left with not a shred of respect for myself.  Codependency issues combined with nonexistent self esteem plagued the inner workings of my mind.  My heart lay in a trillion pieces and the only thing I knew how to do was fight, fight for my place in the world.  I had not one person on my side but my husband.  I gave Jesus the wheel and began the process of coming to life, a day late and a dollar short.  Bloom I did, and I have Him to thank for my awakening.  You see, what was at the center of my dim view of life was my dim view of me.  I just didn’t know any different.

In grade school I was bullied for being overweight.  In high school I was bullied for being anorexic.  Out and about in society, I was persecuted for being exactly who I was-something that can never, ever be taken from me.  That’s right-it isn’t about the likes on social media, the bravos from the secular world, or even what your mother in law calls you behind your back.

Ask yourselves this question:  who am I in Christ?  Better yet?  Ask Abba who you are in Jesus.  He will answer you, and in the darkest of nights He will shed His loving light on the mystery of just how powerful you are as a child of God.

You see, [THEY] don’t want you to know.  That’s right, the elite, the powers that be (God is pulling them out left and right, no, wouldn’t want to be Prince Andrew or Kanye right now) want you helpless, hopeless and unawares.

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How many of you have read Revelations?  One of the reasons I left my last church is because our “Spiritual Director” admitted to me that she couldn’t open that book.

“I am afraid to read it.  I’d rather get a good Rick Warren devotional.”

Feets, don’t fail me now, read my thought cloud.

Revelations is the only book in the bible that can describe to you who Jesus really is, what Heaven will be like, and yes, who you are and how you fit into the Kingdom as a follower of Christ.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.                                                                                                                    Revelations 5:9-10 KJV

What does that mean?

God’s message of salvation and eternal life is not limited to a specific culture, race or country.

Anyone who comes to God in repentance and faith is accepted by Him and will be part of His Kingdom.

God has made His people kings and priests, and nothing in this entire universe is more powerful than one who inhabits the Holy Spirit.

Repeat after me:  I am the Storm.

 

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.

Rally Round the Family…

Before I alarm my readers, I want to say that I wrote this in December of last year.  If you are a regular, your eyes would be bugging, you’d be thinking –

For crying out loud?  Is she left unattended on a regular basis, and if so, why?

That reminds me of the time my step son was pulling into the driveway one day last Spring.  I was in the garden as he turned into the driveway.  And then, I wasn’t.  Yep, stepped on a rake-just like you see in the movies-and knocked myself into a concussion.  To this very day?  I mind my business around them, try not to get too close.  Sneaky bastards.

This is the season of my content.  And that is precisely what I was thinking as I stood in my garden and thrilled to the Monarchs and hummingbirds.  I was feeling pretty overcome with emotion, gratitude on a level that is hard to put into words.  This was all I had dreamed of and more.  Not just the garden…

And then, all hell broke loose.

I bent down to watch a particular butterfly, caught by her beauty and grace.  It took approximately three seconds for me to realize that a mother effing praying mantis was eating her head.  There were muffled cries, lots of cursing mother nature, and, inevitably?  The hysterical spraying of said praying mantis with dawn dish soap I usually reserve for my roses.

On that note, have a fab Sunday and hope you enjoy~

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Life goes along at warp speed until something stops you dead in your tracks: As was the case Sunday morning, after a full weekend of loving and socializing, the enemy came to take his due-you don’t think he isn’t out there trying to devour everything good in your life? Au contraire, mon amies! But here’s the good news-call out to Jesus, and you are free. He can’t hurt you if you are covered in the full armor of God.

But what about those times when evil does strike? Well, Abba will protect you in ways you couldn’t imagine, and that’s why I’m alive and writing this blog-my Lord and Savior sent His angels, and they protected me from a massive head injury and internal bleeding.

Just out of Dwain’s truck, exhausted from a weekend of frivolity, I could barely pick up my feet. I had promised my husband that I would collect the myriad of dog toys that lay around our yard, at the whim of my golden retriever, who thinks he has to entertain the grasshoppers and blue jays with his cacophony of babies. It’s so sweet, until it isn’t.

I had my purse in one hand, my drink in the other, AND I was carrying six, that’s SIX dog toys to boot. We have concrete stairs, no railing, and the stairs are ridiculously dangerous. It did not escape my mind, while sitting in the ER, that I had traipsed up and down said steps while drunk, high on cocaine, and worse. Never once even tripped. But yesterday was different. My boots caught on Jesse’s blue elephant, and down I went. I had no hands to put out, and I landed on my noggin.

I immediately called for Dwain, who could hear me, but couldn’t find me. Pain so severe I thought I would vomit, I remained perfectly still until my husband arrived on the scene. I am an EMT, and a CNA-I have volunteered in the Emergency Room, with hospice and prison ministries-I have seen it all and maintained my composure. This is the precise reason I am prone to freaking out when I get hurt-I simply know too much.

Head injury? I was out of my mind hysterical. It didn’t help when my husband picked up my head and his eyes bulged out of his-

“My GOD, is it THAT bad?,” I wail. He didn’t answer, he was too busy putting my ample white behind in his truck, grabbing ice and driving like a bat out of hell, towards the ER I had recently walked out of-after calling out the employees no less. As I walked in, I immediately placed my eyes on Dawn, who calmed me as she directed me towards the door. I knew where to go all right. I just didn’t know if they would help me, or hurt me. They had so much power at that moment.

A friend of mine, Katie, was the charge nurse, praise God. She gave me a hug and an ice pack, told me the doctor would soon be in. As Dwain sat on the bed, this came over the PA System:

ATTENTION: SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER. SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER.

“Fabulous,” I murmured. And then it hit me, we were the only people there, aside from an 83 year old man with a dizzy spell. What the Harry???? They were talking about me for crying out loud! I couldn’t figure this out as the knot on my head was the size of a peach, but the wound wasn’t bad, it bled very little.

Dr. Ammons didn’t waste any time checking me over. I was told it would hurt like hell for a few days, but that I was extremely fortunate as if I had hit one inch below, I could have had serious eye trauma. If my cranium had hit a few inches lower? I could have knocked out my front teeth. But I knew about head trauma, and I was frightened. I kept what I knew to myself, forgetting that my man is a first responder.

And so it was, that I woke this morning with a shiner the size of Texas, and a headache to beat the band.

And because of His love? I’ll be strutting my stuff, sooner than you can say the words accident prone.

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.

 

 

 

 

White Lines on the Freeway……

I was trying to catch up on my reading a few weeks ago, my WordPress reading that is.  It was a cold and rainy Sunday evening, and I stopped dead in my tracks when I read his blog.  I didn’t know him, or of him, I just gave a little love to a stranger, one who had lost his brother-one who was on the verge of suicide.

It broke my heart to read his words.  No one had commented, and I was frantic.  I quickly wrote in the comment section, no.  You are loved.  You have a place in this world.  You must not give up, I will help you.  It didn’t matter that he lived half way around the world from me, it didn’t matter that I didn’t know him.  I just wanted him to feel the love that makes the difference: between being utterly alone in this world, and having someone love him.  We began correspondence immediately, so sweet, my friend Mohammed.

He said it helped him to know I existed.  It helped him to know a human being, albeit thousands of miles away, loved him-simply because he was in pain, dire straights, and experiencing a loss most of us would be shattered by-simply because he was and is a child of God-they will know we are Christians by our love……

He kept in touch throughout my journey with Lyme, and the infected lymph node that had basically convinced me I was dying.  The day I went to Med Express, alone and frightened out of my mind, he said these words:  Don’t worry.  I am here.  Five words.  Five words that helped me to feel safe, loved-cared for.  It mattered to him, my poor health.  And I thought that a miracle, in so many ways.

Today, while chatting, he said he had one thing to ask of me.  I told him anything, yes anything for him.

“Can I call you mom?”

So, this is how our Abba works.  I have no children and my step son hates me for reasons I don’t understand, as I was always loving, always supportive.

This touched me in places I haven’t been touched in, well, forever.

And as I let the tears drip….one by one, I answered.

Yes.  Of course.

And for this I am blessed beyond measure.