As much as I do not want to get political on this blog much in me longs to speak my truth, my perspective on a few things.
I am in mourning. Grief is again a daily companion. Since COVID hit, the pitiful displays of all areas of leadership, the loss of lives, the riots, peaceful riots turned anything but and the hatred tangible in our streets I have mourned the loss of America. It has stirred within me, its jagged edges bringing forth blood. It has wrapped its tentacles around my heart and threatens to drown me in vileness. With the future in question, (Would we even live through it?) there seemed no safe place but the arms of God. And my belief in Him could cost me my life and the lives of my family. How do I walk away from the core of my existence?
In my artistic eye I have a vision of a neglected graveyard where the headstones mark the icons that bring America to mind. I hope to turn it into a multi-medium painting. Meanwhile, as I emerge from grief and shock my question is, “What now”?
How do we salvage America? As our enemies foreign and domestic are circling like we are now the greatest feast ever in life?
Where are our leaders set aside by God already to lead us? Have people of good moral character, honesty and trustworthiness already passed from this planet? The lack of decent government at all levels is apparent. Even in our small town our mayor has been arrested for ethic violations and our city council does not have its populations needs on their radar.
People are believing what the all to powerful media “reports” even when lies and cover-ups are exposed in their own coverage. They are arrogant in their spread of false and misinformation. Journalism has become at the least a joke but truthfully a disgrace to their forefathers in the field. A thorn in America’s flesh. This group keeps doing what they do because the majority enjoys wading in the stench as it suits their agendas.
Hope is a bubble in my heart. Healing is a possibility but it will come at a personal cost for each of us. Our forgiving those who have hurt, threatened to harm, whose perspectives and beliefs are opposite of our own. We have to give up the idea of forcing people to behave in the way we want. Most of all we have to admit where we are drowning in a flood that we caused by dancing the rain dance recklessly. We can be a better America than what we are now. Who is with me?
“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Once in a church our family were members of a congregation that had been without a pastor for several months. Finally we called an evangelism pastor as a interim until God showed us who to call longer term. He was a fine preacher/teacher. Knew the Bible well. Was also gifted in what we needed as far as administratively went. He was with us for over a year. After three months I realized he was bringing us the same sermon every week with different scripture to support his words.
My first thoughts were why? Every Sunday he was preaching about how to become a new Christian. Our number of attendees was dropping. As I looked around I thought, who here needs to hear this? This pastor’s gift was evangelism. He was an evangelist. Was that why? Did he know this so well he was not comfortable elsewhere in the Scripture?
We left that congregation. Not because of the pastor situation but because we felt we needed more to feed our spiritual lives. It’s been 13 years. The pastor of our church home now presented a moving sermon on Easter. It was theologically sound. It was challenging. The response from those of us in the congregation consisted of one person who went forward to pray. Like at our former church I found myself asking, “why”? Plus thinking how discouraging it must have been to invest all that time studying and preparing a sermon and no response.
Before you ask why I did not go forward it is because by the time I manage to roll myself and wheelchair to the altar every eye is upon me. Plus, the time has slipped away to respond. Maybe others, like myself, respond where they are.
Then part of my own Bible study this week lead me to Acts 8:1-40, specifically verses 4-25. Philip has contact in Samaria with a magician, a sorcerer. By the world’s standard he was very successful. He boasted about how great he was. Many people followed him. He was a believer in his own reputation. When Philip begins to preach in the area, cast out evil spirits and perform miracles many people began to follow him. Including Simon. He counted himself a true believer in Jesus Christ. I believe Simon was attracted to Philip’s “magic” which he saw as greater than his.
Then Peter and John arrived and when the new converts were prayed for and the duo lay their hands on them while praying they received the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this. Another two men whose “magic” was greater than Simons. He offered Peter and John money to teach him how to do what they did. Peter very bluntly let Simon know he had no part in the ministry they were doing because his heart was not right with God.
Simon became a true believer.
How many of us are Simon’s? We believe we believe in God. We do all of the right things. We attribute our earthly successes to God. But, when the point blank question is asked of us we suddenly see the truth. We are like Simon, not true Believer’s at all. Our hearts core is unchanged.
Witnessing this cancel culture, morally declining, hate and cruelty, lying movement attempt to wash Christianity from our world is crushing to me. I second guess my instinctive actions and often do not act for the risk exists anything can suddenly be considered the wrong thing to do. People I counted as my friends I am suddenly unsure of. Between COVID and an increase in crime I no longer feel safe in our little, rural county. Laugh if you are inclined but the day when we have to choose to die for Christ or live for evil is fast approaching. Not because of my feelings but because the signs are all there.
Why is the pastor’s sermon falling on deaf ears? Is it him or you? Do we not yet understand we are supposed to take Christ beyond the church walls and without action within the walls how can there be change outside of them?
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.'” Hebrews 3:12-15 NIV
“Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.”
For the first time ever in 57 years I looked at a picture of myself and liked it. On top of that when those negative comments in my head mumbled the first word I shut them down. Yes, I can see this is not representative of beauty by the world’s standard but I decided to give myself a break.
This picture and my enjoying it takes back the shame of having to give up my front row seat to the doctor’s daughter because of their financial and social standings. It soothed the embarrassment of having to pretend I could not read because the teacher said my mother taught me wrong.
It replaces those feelings of “not good enough” when I was teased and even targeted to be shamed because of my weight. All the doctors who misdiagnosed me for over 40 years.
This picture closed the wounds of an abusive childhood that lead to my amputation.
For every Human Resources Director who told me they were sorry but they thought my skills were a perfect match to a job they could not hire me because they had to hire someone in another race category. While I added in my mind, “And fat.” This picture let that go.
My heart has carried so much for 57 years. I let God have it. Finally. I was not ashamed to give it to Him.
Yes, I looked at this woman pictured with her husband of twenty-four years, and gave her a break. I let her roll away from underneath all that baggage.
The woman in this picture deserves a real life for she has fought for it in ways very few know. Only she and God know and with one picture years were returned to her.
Not to say today will not have its own pain, struggles, victories. Jesus never promised life as a believer would be easy.
That is okay. More than okay. The me in this picture deserves to live the life that comes to her.
Often, I can hear God laughing at me. You know those kind of times, right? When I make my own decision, my own declaration and I sound like an over-indulged, spoiled person instead of the Daughter of the King, the Lord God Almighty.
A couple of Sunday’s ago our church began a witnessing focus where we were encouraged to pray for the one person God put on our hearts to pray for. Specifically for them to come to know Christ in a personal relationship. First, I confess I prayed and thought, “Okay, I am good. No one…”
Then God whispered a name. I groaned. Right there in church I literally groaned and began to argue with the Lord.
This particular person is someone I have prayed for on and off until last year for about a decade. Some things he has done there is pictorial evidence of. About a year ago he was arrested for allegedly physically abusing his young son. Understand this, at that point my heart was too hurt (knowing quite well the child involved as well as his other children) to keep the praying going.
God never said, “Donna you can stop”. I think He understood all the circumstances and gave me a brief reprieve. Now, this man’s name was being whispered in my ear.
“Are you sure that’s You, Lord? I mean, You know what this man has done. And IT IS CHILD ABUSE GOD. Surely You do not mean I have to start praying for him again?”
Again his name echoed in my heart.
Then the best argument against my praying for this one man I had, I thought. “But God, I do not think having me pray for him is in his best interest. All I’ve wanted to do for a year is smack the man upside his head with my big stick.”
For the third time God repeated His request.
I knew if I wanted to be in God’s will in this I was going to have to follow through with what God wanted. Around the lump in my throat (all those excuses/reasons I had to not pray for this young man) I submitted.
After day one I have not had any resentment praying for this guy. I do not recount his sins even those against people I love. Proof God is in this praying.
God is still laughing about the big stick though. (It is two 1/2″ dowel rods duck taped together at the end of one against the end of the other. I use it daily to reach things I can not get to from my wheelchair. Like the light switch.)
Let’s be honest. Christian or not, it is not easy to pray for people who you perceive as a threat to you, your family, your faith or your way of life. Sometimes our perceptions are wrong. Sometimes it is the result of realities.
Finishing up my prayer time and Bible study time with God in these wee small hours of the morning and beginning to pray for another person it was hard to submit to doing, I hear God laughing. “Have we not been in this particular conversation before?”
“Well, yes God and I will do as You have asked. But, God, I do still have my big stick”.
Our nieces and nephews are a great source of love, comfort and joy for their funcle (fun uncle) and I. On a recent occasion we were together one of eight-year-old nieces was in a mood. She was hot. She was cold. Her hair should be up, no she wanted it down. Why was the drive taking so long? Why were we there so quickly? She was finding little happiness in anything.
I called her over and gave her a huge hug. Kissed her forehead and said, “Now what’s going on with you Miss Moody?” Nothing. No reply.
I told her, “I see something has you unhappy and I’m sorry. I just want you to know you are the apple of my eye.” From her face hidden on my shoulder she peeked up at me.
“Oh, he’s the orange,” I said.
She popped up and grinned. “The orange?”
She sat back down a happier child. Proceeded to eat her seven shrimp and five of mine, plus a piece of broccoli from her funcle’s plate. All her crankiness did not melt away but she giggled more and lunch was a happier experience for us all.
I understood how she felt. How often do I feel the need to feel God’s arms holding me and hear Him tell me He loves me? All the time. On this day whatever had our niece in mood was set right by the reminder she was extra special to me. She is extra special. Everyone of our nine nieces and nephews are special to us. We love the love and joy they bring to us and we try to give them love and joy too.
Today, look up to God and ask Him for a hug and reminder of how much He loves you. There is no shame in asking for what you need. Then pray about the person in your life that needs the same reminder from you.
These are all things that in my opinion alter our appearance, often drastically. Or leads other people to believe we are not who we actually are. Perhaps not singularly as much as multiples of them in/on the same person.
Picture with me two people, complete strangers, meeting somewhere sharing a meal, chatting and exchanging phone numbers. Or maybe sharing this special date via Skype or some similar program. Time passes and eventually they physically meet and are alone. Can you see the surprise when Person A begins taking off all the artifical? By the time Person B has a look at the real Person A they do not know whether to stay and get to know this “new” person or run for the nearest Uber driver.
Or maybe when Person A gets finished with their reveal Person B begins theirs?
As members of the human race we go to a lot of work and spend a lot of time and money covering up what we look like. Denying even who we really are. Technology, inventors, scientists and some doctors have spent a lot of time helping us. What other “good things” could have been discovered while all these intelligent minds were rushing products to the shelves to help us hide. What good could have come from that time and effort being invested into other areas?
I know, I know, you want to look your best. Who honestly can even think its an even playing field when some humans are “born beautiful.” All the well meant and best intended advice that “you are beautiful where it matters, on the inside” does not usually translate into a date any night of the week. Looks also matter in the employment field. That or the money to be connected and so you can name drop or smile your way into a great job.
Do not all these things we do to ourselves give us equal opportunity? No. That’s a 100% honest and unvarnished piece of truth. There are hundreds of things that can keep someone from having the “big success” in career, social life, marriage, social economic status. Looks is one of them. All these items to alter your appearance? To project a person you are not on the inside? Do they help? Maybe. Depends on the people you are trying to impress. Then I question who is this person so turned by a pretty face or a fat checking account or a well known surname?
Then you spend even more time keeping up the image, pretending everything is perfectly okay, you are on top of every square inch of your world. With each second that ticks and tocks away deep down you are constantly see-sawing between all you have created to be you (the lies) and who you are (the truth).
Regardless of how much “magic” one manages to purchase to give them opportunties that felt to be impossible one thing is status quo, inside you are who you are. Sure, you can change bad habits, diet, get more education, move up the financial and social status ladders but those aren’t “quick fixes”. These changes require hours and hours of determination, dedication, hard work, scarifice and money.
How long before the artifical changes are revealed as just one big lie? Come on, admit it. Do you know who looks back at you from that mirror? The one you do a mental checklist in before you go out into the world?
The illusion is even easier to pull off for a longer time with the internet and especially the pandemic going on across the world. We are becoming faces behind a computer screen instead of flesh and bone people.
Counting myself as an “ugly girl” my offense in the artifical “not me” would be when I had the funds I had gel nails and I’ve worn a wig a couple times. Once to hide damaged hair from medical issues and yes, once to gain more attention at a Navy Officer’s Club in my 20’s. (Yes, I know how that wig worked it’s magic. It had a life of its own. It became my identify.) I got tired of that wig though. Tired of keeping up the pretense the intensive curly long mane screamed I had become.
Then I got tired of the second wig because it was so hot in humidity ripened 100 degree weather. Even though this time it was a much more day-to-day, much shorter wig I put it in a box tucked away somewhere.
A lack of funds meant a choice between artifical nails or bills getting paid, so the nails went to the by-way.
Honestly, too I am thinking of again wearing a wig and with medication ruining nails I once could grow for myself, I long for them too. For what reason? Fifty-six or not, I still want to look in the mirror and see a woman with hair. Not splitting or breaking a nail picking up a paperclip would be wonderful too. Maybe that’s why everyone else does it too. Medical reasons. Keeping a spouse happy (dangerous reason). It just makes you happy.
Either way it saddens me to witness the great by-pass of true realness. We joke about it. The 6’2″, well built, ruggedly handsome man on the computer screen turning out to be a 5’6″, pudgy man living in his parent’s basement. Or the incredibly beautiful female with perfect skin, hair, nails, clothes and body shape who really looks like the average woman with fussy hair, not-so-perfect body and a chip in her nail polish now and then. For just a few seconds lets forget all our reasons for being artifically attractive. What does this drive communicate?
What does it say to our daughters? What lengths are we teaching them to go to in order to “have a partner/companion”? What are we showing our sons to measure a woman by? Are we showing our children that whatever it is we are trying to “overcome” in our lives it is something or someone elses fault?
What are we saying to society as a whole? Do whatever it takes to level that playing field? Better yet put yourself in a higher position to catch the prize and if you haul tons of grudges, hatred and anger with you so what? Does it matter if you crush anyone you came upon? Once you are on top you will be kind then? Life is never going to be all the same for everyone. Everyone’s mind, physical make-up, soul and hearts are not the same. Everyone’s motives are not the same. Are we human beings or have we been replaced by some yet unknown artifical intelligence?
It reminds me of faternity and sorority hazing. Whenever I would ask a full fledged member why the degredation, humilitation and pain were necessary to become a “brother or sister” I got bluntly honest answers. Bottom line always came down to, “I went through it so they have to do worse. I suffered so now they suffer even more.” Never have understood that. Not sure I ever will. If every pledge group is treated more harshly than the previous as some revenge or payback how long can it continue?
These events in a persons life I believe reveals their true self.
Being in a situation where your dying is the likely outcome.
Having the opportunity to make a change and doing it. Will you treat everyone you perceive as mistreating you the way you want them to treat you?
Becoming a parent.
Standing before God for judgment.
Why bring your attention to such a trivial matter? Who really cares if humans “fake” a bit, it is not hurting anyone right? I propose it is.
I can not feel satisifed with myself if I am constantly seeking something else I can add, raise, suck out or tuck away on my body. I only feel that okayness with who I am and what I look like if I have aligned my heart with God the Father. There are times when I question who I am, what I look like and how much more my medical issues will take from me. I learned the hardest way possible that when we let our careers define us, when they are who we are the time will come when that career will be stripped from you. Its a hard crash to come back from. But, God is always there. I am being me in this un-me world.
What if we deverted 10% of the time we spend in make-believe to spending time with God? To telling others about Jesus the Way of Life? To being a witness for all God has done for you?
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9-11:
"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am who I am and his grace to me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
The Holy Bible, New International Version. 1973, 1978 by International Bible Society. The Zondervan Publishers
Let’s try being who we are in the grace of God. Maybe then we can make the changes in this world so needed if we can do a couple things. Be honest about who and what we are and taking care of our business instead of other peoples.
The phone call came from a sobbing young woman, anxiety ridden because one of her beloved feline companions slipped off her leash and shot up onto a heavily wooded mountain side at a local park. Our daughter (the caller) was beyond upset and she and her boyfriend looked for Spaghetti for five hours. Five cold, damp hours. Spaghetti remained AWOL.
All of us posted social media notifications. We prayed Spaghetti would turn up. My Mama heart broke as I helplessly watched our daughter grieve. Spaghetti had been a stray whose tail had been cruely divorced from her body. She literally followed our daughter home after the maintenance man threatened to kill her. Given that our daughter’s other American Short Haired black cat (yes, two, they look like twins) was named Meatball, it was a natural thing to call Spaghetti, Spaghetti.
Spent considerable time praying Spaghetti would again find her way to our house or show up at the park. The park office had been alerted to the lost feline. Despite what naysayers will feel the need to interject, God had His perfect arrangements made in advance.
Early the next morning we learn the cat has been spotted, catching mice out by the pump house. Father and daughter go out to hopefully bring her home. Turned out it wasn’t too hard. Though Spaghetti hid a bit, Daddy called to her calmly and Daughter put a bit of food out and Spaghetti gave up on being a runaway.
Our daughter says she’s grounded forever. Ah…those parental over reactions get us all from time to time.
Meanwhile, I can’t resist this adaption of “On Top of Old Smokey”.
Topped by the Meatball, all covered with fur, I lost my poor Spaghetti who jumped to the floor. Right off the table and zoom out the door, there went Spaghetti streaking like nevermore…way before summer she returned for her mush*.
*Spaghetti couldn’t return expecting kittens, we had her “fixed”.
Anyone in America that claims not to know there’s a presidential election on November 3, 2020 must have been off the planet since 2014. Following that election those on the losing side have been trying to undo the results of that election. It doesn’t set much hope for this election either.
As a country we’re electing a president. His running mate is going to be vice-president. The President and Vice President of the United States of America. Regardless of who I’m voting for tomorrow, the most important thing is to know who I’m voting for before I enter the poll. This is no time to feel pressured to make a decision. I’m sickened by it all and sick of it all. Can’t we just vote?
Who you’re choosing to vote for, in my opinion, doesn’t matter as much as you voting. Exercise you’re right to vote. It could save your other rights. “Please, please vote. I hope you VOTE. Fulfill your obligation”.
It’s our daughter’s first time to vote, period. We know she’s backing another candidate rather than our’s. That is her privilege, her decision, her right. But, the agony of waiting my turn to vote in person is gnawing at me. Really it’s the unknown of what either side will do or leave someone else to do that is frightening.
Remember 2016 when colleges had to call classes off because kids were so upset President Trump won and not Senator Hillary Clinton? Crayons, coloring books and pizza were brought in. Students were wailing on campus lawns. Professional counselers stood ready to help.
Who or what will they do this time?
You’re getting close to the deadline to vote. This time tomorrow it will be over.
VOTE FOR WHO YOU BELIEVE TRULY CARES ABOUT OUR COUNTRY!
It is possible to become addicted to nearly everything. Street drugs, over-the-counter and prescribed medication , alcohol, sports, shopping, anger, people and even sex just for starters. Anything that can be misused and abused in one’s life can become an addiction. It can quickly occur in the life of the person involved.
A surgery leads to a lot of pain that doctors ease with medication. No one starts out thinking, “I’m going to make myself addicted to these pain killers”. Your pain is real. The relief from the pain medication is real. Then you discover the extra dose, or two pills instead of one eases the pain even quicker.
Today most doctors are more aware of the patient who is abusing their medication. Doctor shopping is harder to accomplish. Still, it’s possible to find yourself addicted to prescribed medication quickly.
There are lots of “tells”. Prescriptions run out before the due refill date. Doctors don’t want to prescribe more to you. Your thoughts center on when you can take your next dose or if two pills give you the relief you used to get. Do you need three?
Thought patterns change and shift. You no longer think about spending time with family, your job, your church, being financially responsible, instead you are consumed with the object or person you’ve become addicted to. You need it or them more than anything else. Test yourself, In a conversation with someone focus on how many times you say the word “I”.
“I’m in so much pain.”
“I just can’t wait until the six hours pass.”
“I can’t believe it, someone is stealing my medication.”
“I am going to have the manager change my locks. Someone is getting in here and messing with my pain pills.”
“I feel”, “I want”, “I need”.
Addiction is no respecter of social class, wealth or lack of, education levels, life circumstances, gender, marital or parental status, age or anything else. When it breeds in you it consumes you, your mind, your heart and your money. Those left in your life, witnessing this, are confronted with a situation most of the time they have no idea of how to handle.
In our family recently we tried to confront the person gently but firmly. The person has a difficult personality that combined with her addiction proves her deafness isn’t only with her ears. Until she allows us to speak candidly with her doctors we are limited in the conversation we can have with them. Reality is it’s going to be a hard road for us all.
The harshest truth is that you can send them to rehab, you can alert doctors, guilt the addicted to see what they’re doing to their children or grandchildren but until they themselves want free of the addiction it’s useless. This health crisis the world is experiencing due to COVID-19 isn’t helpful. In person, face-to-face contact is so limited. The computer screen, in my opinion, only adds a layer of denial for the addicted. The numbers already show an increase in depression and anxiety, and no additional mental health issues are helpful to an addict.
This is the first straight-up addiction problem our family as a whole has faced together. Thankfully, we’re recognizing it early and are in agreement to continue to pursue all avenues open to us to help our loved one. We all have to help one another not to get to that place of no longer caring about what happens to the addicted because of the pain wrought in our lives long before this became an issue. We will pursue help for ourselves to help this family member.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 6-7, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.
Though we’re new to this link of the journey through life we are far from alone. We’re also depending on God to help us through this.