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Archive for the ‘Faith:Growth’ Category

I have found a peace in my heart.  A comfort that I know only comes from God and His powerful hand. I have shared my struggles with God but looking back through all of the ‘bad times’ He was always there. I never worried much about where God was taking me and my family, sometimes I did not care if He wanted to go ahead and take me, lately I have felt ready. Not to escape the struggles but just ready to go home. But I also enjoy life, I look back on stumbling and struggles and I see God’s hand constantly.

I enjoy my kids who are the greatest, my wife who understands me and the things that she does not understand she has studied and delved deep into the subjects so that she might understand. I am thankful for my friends that show me laughter and so many things that are right in the world. I am not suicidal, I am just comfortable with any direction God directs me. We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, not by what the world considers rich anyway. We barely make it paycheck to paycheck, a lot of times we have to sell things just to make it through. We want to reach out to others but we cannot do it with money, so we try and do it with service to others, which is very fulfilling. This makes us rich.

I do not worry about what tomorrow holds, our situation is tough because I am unable to work at this time because of health issues, and legal issues. As a man I feel like I am not pulling my weight, this bothers me sometimes, but I know that God is always near. I have turned on God before, with words that sadden me. But since I have been with Nee-Nee, my kids, and my church family God has given me treasures beyond description. He is a loving Father who has not hidden His face from me, even though I have felt like He has, He hasn’t.

Sometimes I feel like Superman, a broken Superman, but Superman none the less. I do not worry about myself, and what might happen to me. I watch out for my family and I am a little protective, but I trust in God. I did not worry about the shooting that occurred here, or what my wife and I viewed outside of our window. I was saddened that it effected Nee-Nee and so many of the tenants that live here, but honestly I did not worry about our safety. I have confronted people that would intimidate others without a second thought. I am not testing God, I feel like I have a comfort with God and I feel that it is His will and His strength.

Some of you might ask then why do you suffer from depression, anxiety, compulsive, and attention deficits? The only thing that I can think of is because of my constant drug use, and a craving that I do not fully understand. But I can tell you that it is not from worrying. I am not anxious about tomorrow. God has never failed me, though when I was younger I thought He had, the truth is He hasn’t. That is another reason I like to look back into my past, because as I look at it and the times I thought that I was away from God, I see Him in the dark corners of my life at that time. I look back and see Him when I missed Him the first time. Seeing this I see that God has worked inside me and changed my faith. He has strengthened it and continues to. I know that God has a mission for me to do, I have not seen it yet, but I might even be in the middle of that mission and not realize it until later. He has kept me alive, even during the times that I was ready to leave, and take myself out of this world. My attempts were futile, because God loves me and has a purpose for me and all that He loves.

I believe that tragedies occur sometimes to be a lesson to others, and to help others grow even when we are so deep in our own sorrow, or loss. Death is not an ending but a beginning to a beautiful life, I think that sometimes instead of sadness with all the death that I have experienced, was jealousy that they do not have to deal with this world anymore. My Gramps on my mothers side was a horrible man, who obviously thought of carnal pleasures over his own children and grand-children. But when most people would say a man like that must be headed to hell after he died. And the odds are against him, but God works in different ways. There is still a chance that God brought him home. I don’t know, no one does. I just realize that I have a peace that surpasses understanding.

This upsets people sometimes because they don’t believe me. With all the tragedy, and the ‘hardship’ that we are experiencing at this time, people tell me that it is okay to ‘admit’ that I am worried. It is not impossible for us not to worry, or God would tell us it is normal and go ahead and do it. I do have to work on my patience but not with where my life is going, I have short patience with those that worry about things that they cannot change. We talk about how good God is, we talk about His love for us, and how comforting He is to us. So if we believe, TRULY believe this, why worry? If God took away all of our material things I could go on. I would miss the convenience that they offer, but I know I will live without them. If God took away someone close to me again then I know life will go on, and I will see them again, but in God’s time. I will cry because I miss them, but I will not cry that they went to a better place.

If someone was offering to sell you peace of mind, would you allow yourself to let down your guard and your control, which you don’t have in the first place, and buy it and allow it to work? God offers it for free, accept it, let your guard down and I guarantee you there will be a peace that you cannot describe or understand.

D.

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Not one of my best titles, but I like it. Not that I live by it, I just like it. The past few weeks or so have been tough, first my boy gets burned, then we have a double homicide in the building next door to where we live. This didn’t bother me too much, I don’t know if I have grown cold to it, or just know how these things play out. I know the guy involved isn’t living here anymore, probably afraid of retaliation. I know that they are not targeting the complex if there is payback it will be for the people involved and they are gone. But it has effected Nee-Nee something terrible, we have worked hard to get a better reputation for these apartments and out of the four years that we have been here nothing like this has happened. Four people wanted to transfer to another complex, which is a little nicer but they seem to have forgotten the shooting that happened over there less then a month ago.

This can happen anywhere and I think that I have resided to that fact a long time ago. It is funny Nee-Nee had a joyful noise in her heart not too long before this happened, and she called a few people to share it with them. Then a day or two later the shooting happened. I believe that God wanted her to keep joy in her heart through times of trouble also, not just when it is easiest. Letting her light shine as a Christian a follower of Christ, a light in a dark world. A Sister from Church stopped by today and talked to Noreen, (thank you, Amanda) and it all kind of came together to Nee-Nee. The only thing I hate is she is really more cautious of people. I have always wanted her to be, but I hate that some of the innocence left her that night. I am the cautious one, we need each other to balance us out.

Before that there was my near overdose on my pills, I have fallen in the shower two times and fell down two different stairwells, hurting my back even further. My depression has been coming and going like a roller coaster, the dark days last longer then the days of light. So I have been trying to find disciplines that help in pulling myself out of a funk, here is what I have learned.

Write five things down daily that you are thankful for. Praise God for those things throughout the day, there was a monk that used this, and when he washed his hands he would be reminded to praise God, or anything that had to do with water: a fountain, a sink, etc. Then the next day he would use something else to remind him to praise God for the things that he was thankful for that day, and so on.

On a whole we have more positive input then negative, but for some reason we concentrate on the negative. Say 5 people tell you something positive, and one person tells you one negative. The five positives go out the window, and all you can think about is the negative. Re-train yourself to think about the positives and less on the negative. If the negative is for growth, use it as such remembering the positives. If the negative is hurtful, and from a hateful heart then forget about it, pray for them and concentrate on the positives.

Be positive toward other people in your walk. Wish them well, or offer a friendly greeting. If nothing is said do a quick prayer for their day to go well or that God will use them in the only way He can. I was told that if you do this for at least a week you will begin to feel more positive not just about yourself but others as well. Just imagine how you can change your outlook if you begin to live by these.

Next post I am going back to my drug days and recount them for you, hopefully they will help. As I recount those days I still see God using me, I think that if you look hard enough you can see them too without me pointing them out.

May God bless you all,

D.

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Thank you for all of your prayers during this time with Anthony. It truly means a lot. He is doing better and the skin grafts seem to have taken and are getting better each day. I have learned a lot during this time away, not just from what Anthony has been through but seeing others travels as well.

The skin grafts that Anthony received are amazing. The graft looks like a piece of mesh, and through the holes of the mesh are ‘skin buds’. Skin that is filling in and becoming a new layer of skin on his arms and back. It is incredible how God developed the body for self-healing. Something that was so severe that worry set in and then God puts everything into place for healing. Praise to God for His work and the knowledge that He has given to the gifted men and women that worked on Anthony and other burn patients.

During this time I have been reading a book called ‘Save Me From Myself’ by Brian ‘Head’ Welch it chronicles his time with the band Korn and his journey to find God. It is really neat to see the similarities and the differences in the addiction problem that he had and what I have experienced. He smoked joints when he was younger but was on and off again with it. He had a joint that was laced with something and had a bad trip when he was younger, and laid off of smoking for a long time. In fact he did not start doing speed until he was in Korn for awhile. His use became frequent and he used everyday for two years until he realized that he needed to quit. This was a shorter time then I used yet his withdraws were just as bad as mine. The difference is I still have my withdraws he seems to be doing better except for the depression which was a pre-existing condition that he had before hand.

He found God through other people and took notice that there was a pattern. He began to listen to God even before he turned to Him. He allowed God to take control of his life, he said that he had learned that God is in control, and it wasn’t easy at first but he gave Him total control over his life. How incredible, I still have difficulty in this. Just listening and not trying to act out on my own accord. He sit up a time to talk to the congregation that he was attending and tell testify that he was giving himself fully to God, and allowing Christ into his life. Of course this became a media frenzy, a rock star of one of the biggest bands of the time turning to Christ. He prayed about this and prayed on what he should say, he admitted that he did not have a clue about what he was going to say. He just decided that God would guide him. He said that God wanted him to admit his drug abuse and addiction, how God had pulled him out of it and is now directing his life. Of course he said that he did not hear God’s voice but he knew that is what the answer was. The thing is however he did not want to do that. Here God was wanting him to admit to being a loser to not just the congregation but to the world. An addiction that he kept hidden for two years, from his band mates, family, friends. Only a select few knew of his problem and now he knew that God wanted him to confess this in front of thousands.

Pills would have been acceptable, because everyone did pills, but speed is a dirty addiction. He got up in front of everyone and testified on how God had guided him out of his addiction and led him to a path of faith. After that he had the chance to get baptized in the Jordan river. How amazing would that be? He said that he had a misconception that after he was baptized that all of the bad stuff would be gone and it would be a better life. He understood the meaning of baptism and it’s importance, and he did admit a change, a strange and powerful feeling after being raised from the cold water of the Jordan. But he knew also that the walk was going to be hard he likened it to the walks of the Disciples. After he returned home he felt good about throwing away his stash, and being a better dad to his five year old daughter.

He was exhausted, and cravings begin to set in again. He wanted to sleep, so he laid down and as he did he only witnessed the outlines of his bedroom furniture. Then paralysis sit in, he couldn’t move. He said that his voice was deep and raspy like in the Exorcist. He remembered the verse that Jesus had spoken, ‘Get behind me Satan.’ but he said that it was shaky and the same horrible noise that came out before. This happened for several nights, and he asked his pastor and his pastors wife to do a blessing on the house. They did so making sure that they got every room in the large house. The next night he laid down with his daughter to get her to sleep, and plus he was still worried about what might happen. He fell asleep in her bed and the paralysis returned. This time he said that he wasn’t afraid, just annoyed. So he laughed and in his own voice said let me go Satan. He felt like this demon or Satan was trying to tempt him into using again. He felt like using after the first few episodes just to make it stop. He did not believe in the devil or demons until then. He realized that if you believe in God then you have to believe in hell and demons.

I know that it is far fetched to a lot of people of what happened to him, but I must say I believe it. Possessions in the bible show us that the only way to remove a demon is through the power and total belief that Jesus can cast them out. And thankfully though it has never happened to me, and I do not know anyone personally that has had something like that happen to them I do know that there are things we do not understand. It made me think of a show I watched about a month ago, where a lady was paralyzed by what was called on the show, the old hag.

The legend of the old hag has been talked about forever, they cannot trace the origins they just know that it has been reported on several occasions. The hag paralyzes someone that is in a weakened state, Scientist today calls it sleep paralysis. This lady insist that she saw the lady out of the corner of her eyes, and could feel the hands holding her down. After the show was filmed the crew sit up a ‘cleansing’ of sorts for her. A religious ritual. She stated that the night before was the worse that she had experienced. But afterwards she has not been visited by it again. If you believe her and Brian’s story could that have been demons at work?

I am sorry I went astray from my original story. Later Brian was advised by one of his friends to check to make sure that he had rid his house of all the speed. He was sure that he did, but his closet was huge, it was a three tier closet and a walk in, so he went through everything and sure enough he found one last stash, in a first aid kit. His thoughts started turning, there was meth right in front of him, no one else was around he knew that he could do a line and that would be it. Just one line, then flush the rest no one would ever know. But he knew better. He fell down to his knees and prayed to God to take away the craving. He did not want to be a slave to it again, and he could not keep making excuses. He said that he was in tears. He felt comfort, he got up and flushed it. Taking a picture of him doing this so he would have documentation of his last time around speed.

I feel a jealousy sometimes for people like that. Why do I keep having cravings? I pray, I beg for God to take it away from me. Brian’s walk with God has been hard, he has had a lot of bashing from his old band mates, the media, and some other bands that have ganged up on him for announcing his new path. He knew that God told him to forgive everyone, to talk to everyone that he has hurt through his drug use. He did this, he did not like the idea and found it hard to do at first, but he did it. Brian says that when he falls he just wipes off his knees and gets back to walk with God. He knows that God has given him so much and has saved his life. He is truly addicted to God and the love He has to offer.

I am surrounded by brothers and sisters that walk and struggle with God, yet they keep their focus on Him. I don’t feel that love from God all of the time. In fact I feel far away from Him a lot. Don’t get me wrong I see Him work in the people around me, and He has recently saved me from myself, I praise Him for that. I pray that I can have the strength to follow Him. Brian is new to this, and yet God opened his eyes to an unshakable faith. I want to focus on listening to God like a new born babe. Where God is truly my Father and I am weak without His guidance. I have to focus on listening to God and realize that the things I lay aside as what I do not want to do, might just be the thing that God wants me to do.

D.

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Day After

I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas this year. If the snowflakes on this site bug you while you are trying to read let me know, they might not stay around. They are only here until Jan. 2nd anyway. We had a great Christmas Noreen talks about our visit with the big kids, and it was the best time ever.

I thought about this not saying Merry Christmas thing, because it is very p.c. ya know. I always said that I will tell anyone Merry Christmas just because it is what I celebrate and they should too. No, really I figured they could tell me Happy Chanukah’s, Quanza, or holidays whatever it won’t hurt my feelings and it doesn’t mean that I do or don’t celebrate it. Anyway, I was at Wal-Mart Saturday picking up groceries for the feast when I saw a man in a wheelchair trying to get sodas. He was struggling a little bit, so I thought that I would help him, feeling in the spirit I thought that I would tell him I hope that he has a wonderful Christmas. I didn’t instead I said I hope that he has a wonderful holiday. As I walked off I was muttering Merry Christmas, not holiday. I don’t know if a lady heard me talking to myself or if she was just in the spirit but as I turned away from the man she greeted me with a Merry Christmas.

I said that I wasn’t going to do that again and if the chance shows itself again then I will say it as I have every year, without thought. So I was at the bank and the teller was helping me, all the people there have been real nice to me, I don’t have an account there but we do through the apartments. After he was through the same thing happened, I said happy holidays. As I turned away a well dressed man with a big smile on his face greeted me with a Merry Christmas. How dare he, he doesn’t know I celebrate Christmas, he just heard me say, Happy Holidays. I fumbled with saying it since a lot of places tell there workers not to say the dreaded word that deals with Jesus. I found out later that this was the top man of the bank that greeted me with those words without regret or an apology.

As I was leaving Wal-Mart the greeter which is a nice little lady, wished me a Merry Christmas. I have never felt more like a Scrooge in my life. I hate having to second guess myself on what will offend and what won’t. I get aggravated with myself for not sticking by my beliefs. I second guess myself at times rather to say God bless you. I always thought that I would let my light shine if I walked with Jesus, knowing that He was physically walking beside me, and if I was Peter I would have never denied Jesus to His face. But even though I don’t know when He was born, I celebrate Christmas. It has to do with Jesus, and yet I deny that fact. I blush when someone is talking about God and wants to learn more, is this correct? Should we be talking about that? It sometimes feels like a skit from Seinfeld. Should I be seen as a religious fanatic? Or should I blend in with the world and be more subtle about my love for Christ?

The Disciples were focused, they sit in jail and sang about their love for Christ and His message of redemption. If someone doesn’t agree that Jesus came to save us, should I respect their belief and let them control the conversation? I know the answer to that, so why don’t I act on it?

We saw Evan Almighty last night and noticed a lot of the messages and truths that it held about God. I thought that if I had God talking to me like He did Evan then how could you go wrong? You knew everything was going to turn out okay, because God is behind you on it. It looked like Evans job was in jeopardy, that he was losing his family over it yet he continued to build the ark, which was an acronym for Act Random Kindness. That is what God told Evan to change the world it takes one act of random kindness. God of course was played by Morgan Freeman and written by Steve Oedekerk, but there was truth in that. How can I show a random act of kindness to change the world, and leave my belief out of it? I don’t have to flaunt it, throw it out like a common thing. God’s love is beyond common. But He is with us though we don’t see Him, how can we not include him? As was said in the movie, when you pray for patience does God give you patience or does he put you in a place to practice patience? When you pray for your family to be closer does He give you a warm fuzzy feeling or does He offer you growth through trials?

My prayer has been to show Him more, my actions hide Him more. I pray that I have many opportunities outside this safe haven, though there are many trials on this blog, I feel safe because I know that most that read this believe and those who don’t can turn away without me ever knowing. I regret looking back and seeing my opportunities to show Him and missing out on that joy, or having someone else miss out the drive behind my actions that they might have a chance to experience His love.

The day after Christmas and I feel like I woke up too late to get the Turkey out of the shop. I feel like I let Tiny Tim down. But everyday is a new experience, everyday is an opportunity for answered prayers. It is great that we are able to love God and respect the life of His son daily and not just one time a year. God bless us everyone.

D.

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There is a song by Sixx AM called Life Is Beautiful, I have the video on my vodpod. The CD is a soundtrack to Nikki Sixx’s book on his dealing with Heroin addiction. Life Is Beautiful is about the time he almost died from an overdose, and eventually realizing that life isn’t as bad as he thought. He had on his answering machine, if I don’t answer then I have died. He said that he needed to change that. I have heard about people that have had near death experiences and realized how important and precious life is. I have also heard that when someone tries to commit suicide by jumping off of a high bluff, bridge, window sill, ect. they realize that half way down they their problems could be solved and did not seem as bad as it did.

I wondered what I was missing. I mean, I never thought twice about life when I came back, or even when I wanted to end it all. People came to mind, but I thought that they would be better off without me anyway. I always felt that I could mess someones life up pretty easy, it was the one thing that I felt like I was good at. I could come into someones life show them a fun side of life and when I got tired I would blow their dream world away with lies, or boredom. Not that I am a mean person really, it was just the place I was at the time. Hurt them before they hurt me mentality, not the best and a regrettable one at that, I did it sometimes without thinking about it, just reflex I guess. One thing in Nikki Sixx’s diary was the fact that addicts think that it is all about them. That really hit me, I thought I do that sometimes. Not as much as I did, but it was there. I try to see in others desires, and journeys to see how much they match up to mine. I look for this so it won’t be about me. I see bigger struggles in others now, when before it was all about when I could score again, no matter who it hurt. As long as I could grab a high I was okay, I didn’t care much about anything else. My cravings I have now are subdued because I am thinking of others pain of what I do now.

I have come to the conclusion that life is beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, life is not a fairy tale with a fairy tale ending, I know that too. But life is worth living, and if I live to a ripe old age, by God’s grace, then I don’t want to look back and see a life of worry and despair. I want to see a life of helpfulness, of reaching my hand out to others as they have reached out to me. I want to see failure in life’s challenges. I want to see a growth that comes from that. I want to still see the struggles but I also want to see the growth from them. I want to see a life with my family that shares regrets and triumphs. I do not want to see a man shackled down to a ‘disease’, addiction, psychological problems. I want to see a man that leaned on God and share those experiences so others might not have the same regrets.

There is a line in the song that says, ‘will you swear on your life that no one will cry at my funeral’. I like that. I don’t want anyone to cry when I die. I think that I want it as a celebration. Singing and maybe even dancing, just don’t offend anyone with your dancing, and please don’t dance on my grave. But I want everyone to know, and I want myself to know that I have had a beautiful life. Through the trials when I was a child, nothing more then a babe actually, to the trials I put myself through as a young adult, all that came from that is beautiful. I have a life that I have always dreamed of, I have a wonderful beautiful wife, I have four wonderful kids, one which is an adult now and is beginning a new life going to become a chef. She is a blessing also. We have a roof over our head, I am not working and it is tight right now, but we have everything we need to live on. Praise God and glory to His name. He gives us just enough and so much more then I deserve.

I want people to know when I die that my life was beautiful, with no regrets. Before I viewed a lot of things as regrets, but looking back on them it made me who I am. I am flawed, far, far away from perfect. I have seen more then I should have, and more then I wanted too. But those experiences gave me gifts that I just have to learn to hone and use in a way that it is intended to. God gave us beauty that surrounds us, trees birds, animals, other people. Sometimes life is cruel, but it is what we make of those times that make life beautiful. Nee-Nee said that she can’t wait to see what this Doug becomes, and you know what? I can’t either. What a trip…the good kind.

D.

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I feel like I need to offer up a lighter post, let everyone know of my journey and look back on where God has guided us thus far. When I started this journey a year ago this week, I started on my own. Keeping the secrets that I had hidden from those that I love, worried how the people that are the closest to me in my life would see me if I told them what I was dealing with. I kept this secret between God and me, believing that I could coast along and be the husband, dad, friend, brother, son, and Christian that I always appeared to be. Just cruise back onto the on ramp and join along the flow of traffic just as if nothing happened. 7 months later everything built up and I just broke down, feeling like I had to tell someone. I first told my minister and friend Dusty, I went forward at church not on anyone’s request but my own desires for a release. Prayers lifted up to the One that I felt I treated as a friend more then a guide, a true Father, a comforter, and not wanting Him to offer pain in redemption. That might not make sense to everyone, but let me continue. I was praying for Him to use me, to guide me to the road that He meant for me to be on.

After I went to God I should have gone to Noreen first, instead of anyone else. I wanted to tell someone of my struggles and I wanted it to be a neutral person. I went forward with a blanket confession, I was surrounded by people that put their hands on me and prayed over me. I thought, okay it is over now. I can move forward with my own rehabilitation. I started posting about it openly the following week after I went forward to the Church. Noreen questioned a lot of things, I think that is one reason I started I could let her see where I was without truly facing her. I was not thinking clearly. She found out that I had hidden a lot from her, that I had the junk in my drawer, I would use, come down and visit with her while I was speeding, I would tell her about people that offered it to me as I told her in the same breath that I turned them down. Truth was I was getting it from them. I would lie about my pain pills. She loves me enough that we just picked up from there without questions and a determination that we would fight this and win. 

I went public to the Church on a Wednesday night, barely able to speak as I did so. Noreen and I were worried about how this was going to effect our relationship with the church body and our friends that we have made since we have been here. Before I got up I wasn’t sure what good it was going to do. I was unsure if this is truly what God had intended for my travels and what was going to come out of it. I was scared, but I had God and Noreen with me, if we had to find another church then we would have to find another church. I already committed and when I got up it was all a blur. I blurted everything out, and sit down with my head down and with Noreen holding me throughout the rest of the service. It was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. It was like having to go up to someone that you really respect and tell them the truth. As the words come out you know that once it is out there is no retraction, and from then on the relationship hinges on how they are going to take it and that there is a good chance that there will be no reconciliation. I know that God is the One that had me do this. Though I couldn’t see it then, I knew that this is what He wanted, this was part of the road that He intended.

There was a lot of tears shed, depression, withdrawal, along with that was growth. Even though I wrestled with what God wanted I never turned from Him. When I started seeing how it hit home to people in their personal journey, and started to see others that I did not even know, share their struggles with me in the same area I knew this is what God wanted. When I saw this I thought that God should lighten up on me, but He didn’t. I am glad that He didn’t because there was/is so much growth to continue. I saw a couple of people that held their hands on me and prayed over me that later when they found out felt uncomfortable around me. I was not upset about this, but was curious of how God was touching them in their journey.

I know that my post are dark at times, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t see God traveling with Noreen and me. I know that this is life, and God never promised a rose garden without the thorns. The church family is wonderful and supportive, what a blessing. Noreen is my biggest earthly support what a blessing. I was advised to let the kids know in case they encountered struggles, and that they would know that I am not hiding anything from them. They accepted it with love and support, what a blessing. My sister and brother-in-law read my post and have been supportive and the relationship is stronger then it has ever been, what a blessing. My friend Jimbo is supportive and growing in his way, which in return helps me to grow closer to God, what a blessing. I have a better relationship with my dad, something I have always prayed for, what a blessing. God is constantly watching over Noreen and me what a blessing.

I struggle with depression, that is from my brain misfiring from what I have done. God never gave me a straw to put anything up my nose. He gave me living water, but not water to down pills that will help me escape. He offered an escape that I avoided and chose my own. I have found that my own path was not a good one, I chose His and as a good Father does to His children He has made the road with love and discipline. I made my bed and if I want out of it I have to struggle to grow. Growth with struggle is growth that stays with you. If it was simple enough just to have faith with no struggle I would fall time and time again knowing that the road back would be littered with feathers. God loves me in my struggles, what a blessing. He will make me stronger then I have ever been, what a blessing. How would I know others pain in their journey if I haven’t felt the pain in my own? How could I offer a hand if I have not been offered a hand? What a blessing.

I am growing daily, some of those days are dark, but not everyday as it was in the beginning. I am poking my head out of my shell, and I am seeing a person that I have always longed to be, but was too deep in a dark shell that I could not see clearly in the mirror. I have my scars, just like those that are physically noticeable that will stay with me throughout this life. My post are going to be dark but that is the journey. But there is light, might be small to those who don’t understand the dark, but as I mentioned in a comment in my experiences when you are in the dark a pin light can shine like the sun. Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc had their scars that they carried with them. All Christians do I believe. Mine are more in the open, and I think that might prick sometimes at others scars that are more hidden and showing a desire that they stay that way, in fear of how the road might chance in allowing growth outside of those scars. What a blessing.

D.

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Tonight was a beautiful night. As the Wednesday night series continues a woman’s testimony on her journey of strength, doubt, and felt betrayal of God touched us. Dusty weaved (wove?) a correlation between Naomi and our dark days when we don’t always see God. He did this in a very uplifting way. The woman’s story was that of the struggle with having one autistic child and another with mild cerebral palsy. The path started with her standing up one moment telling everyone with conviction that God was going to give the help that was needed, and then feeling a betrayal when the help did not come. Wrestling with God during the struggles where light could not be seen through the darkness. The hand of God that she relied on for help through her life, was no longer there, in it’s place felt like avoidance. She and her husband dealt with an autistic child that they no longer felt they could handle on their own. She struggled with seeing God, she bargained with God about her good deeds and the love that she always had shown Him, so where is His love now when she needed it the most? The place that they were waiting for to help their child called on a Friday and told her that they will let her know on Monday. This was good news but she had reserves, ‘What if God didn’t answer her prayers again?’ Monday came and their child is getting the help he needs. There are a lot of struggles ahead and as Dusty pointed out this is not the end of the story but the beginning.

It is interesting to see peoples reactions to the different stories some were pretty nonchalant about it, some were touched deeply, and in some was avoidance. The Spirit is working in this congregation, as Noreen pointed out though it is like the Spirit is playing duck, duck, goose. The life stories are pricking something inside some, probably more then we know of, and with their struggles will find a growth that will touch others, and so on and so on. I can see that there is an alliance that is being formed by sharing our struggles. Lovers leaning on each other through tough times, whether those tough times are out in the open or not, God is giving comfort in letting others know that they are not the only ones in the game.

D.

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