Day 36: Chapter 3/Distress

Flashing back to my first year of college and the opportunity it held. I was blind to this opportunity. I was just going through the motions. I thought this was what you were supposed to do and so I thoughtlessly moved forward.  Hey, you get good grades and you go off to college.  Right? You go off with the hope of landing a career that will make lot’s of money. I thought I would be a pediatric dentist. Surely at this point, my attention span would miraculously be on point and the weaknesses I had always had struggled with in math and science would all just melt away and my “dream” would come true (it really wasn’t my dream at all. it was a made up dream at best it seemed like a good idea). I was not too in touch with reality and my choices were not working out for me. I could care less about chemistry and calculus and I changed my major. I was now en route to the five year undergraduate plan. The outcome: A degree in Liberal Arts with a major in music and absolutely no hope of a job any day soon. But that is a whole other story for another time.

I only applied to two schools. One I really wanted to go to and one as a last resort. I got into both. I could have gone off to a prestigious university and pursued a career in music, but I was afraid. I didn’t want to go away because I was scared and I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend.  I didn’t really plan or have direction, other than the questionnaire I took in high school leading me to a career as a truck driver. That wasn’t very helpful. The truth is, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter. My plans were haphazard. My attitude was one of just doing enough to get by. The bare minimum. Squeaking on by was enough for me. I mean, I seemed to be doing better than anyone else in my family and to me, that was good enough. I thought of myself far more highly than I should have and at the same time, didn’t really think too much of myself at all. Crazy, right?

Dating my boyfriend gave me status. At least, it seemed that way to me. He was handsome and popular. I so enjoyed being with him, when we weren’t fighting. And the fighting was familiar, so it was fine.

All this time, my boyfriend and I were intimate with each other. Dating a few months before entering into a sexual relationship seemed to be the right thing to do. A girl wouldn’t want her guy to think she was easy or something. So, we waited….and then we didn’t. And we dated for three years. And all that time we had sex everywhere, all the time, and we were successful at not getting “caught”.  We knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but we didn’t care. And we mostly didn’t use protection, not that it would have excused our behavior in some way.

So I am in my first year of college and I become pregnant. This was THE WORST, most horrible discovery of my life.  And my first thought, “Everyone is going to know we are having sex and I am going to be in BIG TROUBLE. They will think I am bad. They must never know. What am I going to do? My life will be ruined. I cannot bring a child into this awful world so it can be as miserable as I am and everyone else around me.”

Having this child never even entered my mind as an option. It was a definite time of distress for me. And not only was I scared, I was sick. My body was experiencing morning sickness and I could not function normally. I managed to hide it well and hiding was a must. No one knew except a few close friends and my boyfriend. His reaction was less than supportive at the time. At one point, he even questioned if the child was his, as if I was the one who had been unfaithful in the relationship. With the VICTIM sign dangling heavily around my neck, and my “good girl” image in jeopardy, AND my own disregard for all life except my own, I made my mind up. My very “life” depended on it. I never understood there was One that had already died to save me.

 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 

1 John 4:9-10

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Day 35: f e a r AND t r e m b l i n g

What are you faced with today? What have the last few days been like for you? For me,  a whirlwind of emotions and challenges have lifted my feet off the ground.  Tossed and turned by the winds of confusion, doubt, judgement, un-forgiveness, guilt, shame and a host of other debilitating issues, fear settles in.  A crash landing is imminent!

Have you ever been in a place where you were sure you were about to crash and burn?

I brace myself for the fall. I am terrified. I do NOT want to go out like this. No. Surely there must be way to land GRACE-fully. A way to grab hold of a LIFE-line. It’s hard to see with such strong winds gusting about. My own strength kicks in, but it is unable to sustain me. It is too weak. It fails. I’m a goner as the last deadly gust is about to throw me down hard….WOOSH! Another wind lifts me up, holds me safe and close, and reminds me that I am terribly loved. There is a great and sorrowful exchange of my stuff for His before He sets me down again on solid ground. Fully loved. Completely forgiven. Totally accepted. NEW.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an EVER-PRESENT help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

May your heart and mine grab on to the Hand of the only One who can save us. May we CRY OUT to Jesus in the midst of every storm. May we repent for the sin in our hearts as we examine them again and again. May we receive the love and forgiveness that Jesus freely offers.

Day 34: Chapter 2/Just a Shell

It was about 22 years ago and I was in my first year of college. It was quite amazing that I was actually attending a college. My grades in high school had always been good and I was involved in several extra-curricular activities. But really, I had no real direction in my life. My home life was tumultuous and discord was the norm. It wasn’t weird to live under the same roof day in and out,  and ignore the very existence of my family. Even in looking back, I don’t remember much positive interaction. Nope, not too much love in my home. Daily living was trying to figure out how to peaceably survive the day without any major altercations and verbal assassinations. Much better to stay quiet, distant, and numb.  Avoid conflict at all costs. It is too ugly. It is too scary. It is too angry.  It is NOT safe.

This turmoil took place between my parents, between my parents and myself, between my parents and my brother, between my brother and myself, and myself and my father. I don’t really remember my youngest brother as he grew up. I did my best to stay out of the house as much as possible.

The last year my father lived at home, before he and my mother got divorced, we did not speak. We continued this for the next 8 years or so. Ugh! What do you do when your own father is a stranger in your life? You grin and bear it and place the heavy weight of VICTIM around your neck. You see everything through a distorted filter. You trust others with no questions and continue to get hurt again and again and again. You perpetuate the scenario time and again with hope of a different ending. You don’t get one. The outcome is the same, if not worse.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

So here I am, a young woman in her first year of college with no direction, clinging very tightly to her high school sweetheart. He is still in high school and I am not.  He is changing and I do not like it. A young man who used to pride himself in being ‘straight-edge’ is now  smoking and drinking. He is no longer interested in spending all his time with me.  He wants to hang out with his friends and I am not included. I am lied to and I am cheated on and I just want to die. Another stranger!!

Many times I wished I could have ended it all. Suicidal thoughts come and go these days. I take painkillers left over from dental procedures to numb the pain, wishing it would all just go away. Self-respect and self-esteem were in the gutter. I was a complete mess on the inside. On the outside, I guess it all looked okay.

I manage to work part-time and go to school, yet I never gave my all to anything worthwhile. My only direction was to find a way to get someone to love me, not that I realized what I was doing. I had a tendency to feel inferior, inadequate, and ugly. I did not really know how to relate with others socially. Not really. I overdid it. I clung too tightly.  I got hurt too fast. My development was arrested. Relationships were a stumbling block. I had become a shell of a person. It didn’t look bad on the outside. The inside was in shambles and I honestly didn’t even realize how bad it was. It was all I knew. It was me up against the world and my future looked bleak.

My, my, my how things have changed. Thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are the lover of my soul.

 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5

 

 

 

Day 33: Chapter 1/What Lies Ahead

Today, as I look ahead, I see a winding road.  It is a tree lined, soil-covered road.  I cannot see past the bend in it. Instead, I see a wall of trees with vibrant, green leaves displayed. LIFE. Trees have been significant to me in my life. At the time of my baptism (not the first, but the second), all I could see were the trees surrounding me. Faces faded away to a blur and I was in awe of these trees that surrounded me.  The beautiful work of the hands of my Creator. I have not, until this day, thought to ask Him why. There really is no time like the present. Lord, WHY?

That aside, you really do remember your first love!! The LORD swept me completely off of my feet.

Getting back to the scene ahead, I see a path and it is the path that I will walk. Though I cannot fully see what is ahead, I am not afraid.  The air is warm and it’s scent is sweet. The scenery is lovely and I am filled with joy. Though the journey is hidden, I sense in my heart that ALL IS WELL. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. The writing is on the wall. There are plans ahead to prosper me and not to harm me. There is a hope and a future. And it is good. Thank you Lord. Gratitude wells up in my heart as I follow what lies ahead, knowing Jesus is already there. I am confident. I am bold. I am EXCITED!!! I am moving forward.

Sometimes, as we head out on our journey, whether it is a life journey, or a simple trip to the grocery store, we can become distracted, delayed, and sometimes, detained. In moving ahead, we can encounter situations and circumstances, memories and mandates that are keeping us from moving forward. Some come with sharp talons that grip into the skin of our necks trying to terrorize us with the past. These can be hard to tear away from. Sometimes, they render us completely powerless to move forward. Especially  if we try to break free on our own. We CAN break free of these debilitating claws, but we need the power of the Holy Spirit (we always need Him) and certainly others to come alongside of us to help us get free from the bondage that tries to keep us ensnared. Oh, this is a painful process. When something has such a strong grasp on our very existence, it is painful to remove it. But it can and will be removed and replaced! Staying here is NOT an option. Jesus came to set the captives free!!

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luke 4:18

Thank you Jesus!!!

In this new freedom that Jesus came to give us, we may now feel a gentle touch that beckons us to turn around and take a look at what was behind. What have I received healing for? Where do I know I have a freedom I never had before? Where have the chains been broken?

What lies ahead comes from what has happened on the path already taken. You thought it was finished, but it requires your attention. No longer claws, but compassion. And you are here. No longer who you were, but faced with a burden to share what God has done for you. You are now being asked to pour out your life for the sake of someone else. Whosoever. It is no longer about you. You are now free.

I feel the tap on the shoulder and I turn around. I am flooded by thoughts and emotions. I am stirred by passion itself. It is a remembrance of a thing that has happened to a person that was me, but is now no longer me as I do not share in the guilt of the sin any longer. I am a free person now. It is no longer I that lives but Christ who lives in me. Jesus already paid for this sin. And no longer has its’ claws in me. Death no longer stings.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Romans 6:1

I hear the call. I heed the call. The story begins.

In The Beginning

“so give me strength to die myself. so love can live to tell the tale.” the garden by needtobreathe

May this story come forth mightily in the name of Jesus.  In His way and His timing. Moving forward in the light of His glory and grace.

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Day 32: Happy Anniversary? Uh, NO!

Today is the 4oth “Anniversary” of Roe vs. Wade. I don’t think I need to explain to anyone what Roe vs. Wade was and the impact it has had on people in the United States.

Abortion is a MAJOR topic. It is a sort of SILENT killer because it’s victims cannot speak out or stand up for themselves. They never get the chance.  Many would disagree with that. As stated, abortion is a MAJOR issue. M A J O R ! ! !

For me, what it comes down to is this: LIFE. LIFE. LIFE.

When I began this blog, about 32 days or so ago, I wasn’t sure what to write about. I knew that God had told me, through a prophetic word from a brother named Dick Mills, that I would be known as “The Long Island Yak.” Funny, but this did not appeal to me at ALL!!! It wasn’t exactly the word from the Lord I was hoping for. I was disappointed. And a YAK no less. Ugh! How repulsive!! Not even an attractive creature, right? And who wants to be known as a YAK! aka blabbermouth?

Regardless of what I thought about it, if God said it, then I was not going to let it go.

Several years later, here I am, known to some as “The Long Island Yak”. He has made it come to pass. Praise God!!!

And what have I been led to write about? LIFE!

Now here is where the rubber meets the road. I believe I am supposed to write about something I would much rather  forget about. After all, it is in the past. I have peace about it. I have been forgiven, and all is well. But it isn’t. Not really. Something is terribly wrong, and it is much BIGGER than my story.  And yet, it IS my story. We all have a story to tell. And it seems that now is the time for me to tell mine.

This particular story for LIFE is going to start out with the exact opposite.  It begins in death.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

May my words be blessed by you Jesus, to accomplish what you wish to accomplish with each one.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Jesus saves!  Here is my story (to be continued……).

 

Day 31: MLK observed and me

Today, I share my birthday with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday observed. I think back, as I’ve often done, about this man and his DREAM and his struggles and his assassination. It inspires me. I am amazed. He didn’t have to do it. He didn’t have to go on and fight for civil rights. He could have turned back, right? And then what?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a human being. A junior to someone’s senior. He was just like you and me. Except for maybe one thing: he answered the call.

Everyone has a call. We were not created without purpose. Without intent.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Jesus calls us to do three things if we want to be like him. Deny ourselves, Take up our cross everyday, and Follow Him.

Deny.

Take.

Follow.

Isn’t it amazing what we will sometimes choose to deny, take and follow instead of Jesus? Think about it. Is it loving others we deny? Is it taking only for ourselves? Is it following other gods of our making: money, power, fame, people…..?

It is easy to forget that LIFE is really not about us, but about Jesus. It is about what He wants and not so much what we may want. But when we decide that we want to be His disciples, he makes it clear what we must do.

May my heart and yours truly want to be disciples of Jesus Christ. May we obey Him and do what He asks of us. May we know His goodness, love and mercy every step of the way. May we seek Him with all our hearts and spend time in fellowship with Him. May we bold and courageous as we answer the call He has placed on each one of our lives. May we be blessed to be a blessing. In Jesus’ precious name!

Let’s answer His call! Hold onto your seat! It’s gonna’ be an exciting ride filled with ADVENTURE (which can be hazardous:-)!