“Because I don’t want you to be dependent on anyone but Me.”
That is what I heard God say to me in my most desperate and sincere state. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was about 25 years of age, kneeling on my living room floor as I hysterically cried out to God,
You know, I often hear it said that we should never ask God why. They say that’s the wrong question and that He won’t answer you, but He sure did when I asked the so-called taboo. And His voice wasn’t some thunderous, audible sound that pierced the heavenlies. It was my own familiar voice inside my head.
“So how do you know it was God?” you may be asking.
Because His answer was instant and most unexpected. Because I knew it wasn’t me saying it. Because the peace I felt was immediate. Because I knew that I knew that I knew. My tears ceased and I felt a calm. My Heavenly Father had just spoken to me in my time of need…out of desperation. That was enough to relax my body and soul. And I wasn’t asking Him in expectation of an answer. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would or could receive one. But when I heard those words,
“Because I don’t want you to be dependent on anyone but Me,”
I knew without a doubt that I would be OK…that God would take care of all my needs. And why wouldn’t I? There’s no assurance like the one that comes from a direct response from God Almighty! And what a God thing to say, right?!?! His response made me realize that I had been putting all of my hopes and needs in everyone else BUT Him. And you know what happened after that night? My needs were met the very next day.
Those were the first and only words I ever heard my Heavenly Father speak to me. I know He speaks to me in other ways but I’ve never experienced His response in such a direct manner since I was a broken heap on my living room floor, devastated and lost and panicked about what was to become of me. I think He responded to me then in such a personal way BECAUSE I was just desperate enough. I think my level of desperation and sincerity broke through a realm I can’t see or feel. I don’t know how else to explain it. I would love to hear Him again like I did that night. I’m pretty sure I’m hindering His ability to move in my life due to bitterness, anger, and resentment. I heard it said once that there are laws that govern the way the power of God flows and I believe this to be so true. I think many times we can block ourselves from receiving all that God has for us due to our own stubbornness.
CAN God do anything? Sure He can! (Except in making a square circle or a one-ended stick…we’re talking about logic right now so work with me.) After all, our God is full of mercy and grace and He deals with each one of us uniquely because we are all different. But, for me, I know I need to let go of certain attitudes despite my current environment. UGH! Why does it have to be so damn hard?!?! Oh how I want to tap into that direct line I managed to unintentionally hack almost twenty years ago. I want to feel that assurance and calm because my Creator plainly and directly just spoke to me. (Oh, God, please have mercy on me for I am trying. I may keep falling but I keep getting back up to try again. And sometimes I may stay down for a little too long out of stubbornness but I always get up again…eventually.)
So, if there is a “secret” to hearing God, that might be it…You have to be desperate enough…raw and sincere enough in your pursuit. The scriptures do say to seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Maybe that’s the key. We have to yield to Him but more often than not we try to figure out how to fix things ourselves instead of relying on Him, the One Who knows all and sees all.
Apparently I posted this about 5 years ago on Facebook. Funny how I seem to be experiencing the very thing Derek Prince spoke of here. My heart needs a good cleaning. Thankful for the Lord’s grace and patience. Sanctification is truly a process.
Guard Your Heart
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. NIV
There is one area of your personality that is more important than any other and that is your heart. The state of your heart will determine the course of your life. You are advised and admonished by God to guard your heart more than all else. It’s the most important thing that’s committed to your keeping, the condition of your own heart.
I remember many years ago in a country in East Africa, when I was serving as a principal at a college for training teachers, on the wall on the dormitory of my students, one of them had written that Scripture up in her own particular language. And I read it in that language and translated it literally, and it has stayed with me ever since. It says, “Guard your heart with all your strength, for all the things there are in life come out of it.”
Everything in your life ultimately proceeds out of your heart. The condition of your heart is going to determine the condition of your life. Guard it with all your strength. Don’t let any evil in; don’t make room for unbelief, for bitterness, for fear, for anxiety, because if there are bitter things in your heart, then there will be bitterness in your life. But if your heart is pure and clean, if your heart is filled with faith and love and with truth and with righteousness, then the course of your life will be a course of success.
So, remember that. Guard your heart with all your strength for all the things there are in life come out of it.
It’s been a long time since I had a fit of rage, that is until around 6:40 pm on March 5, right before Rick left for darts. Couldn’t stand the irritability and anger between us anymore. We just don’t communicate well. Apparently I thought it a good idea to scream really loud as I stood in the kitchen. Was trying to let out the frustration but when that didn’t work I punched at the door of the refrigerator a couple times. Hurt my hand pretty bad, too. After that I screamed at him that I was sick of our relationship. Finally told him to just go already. We never spoke about what happened…not even when he got back home. Although, I did mention last night during another flip out and chucking of the remote across the room that I get so frustrated with him that I end up physically hurting myself, whether it be punching refrigerator doors or splitting door panels with my head (yes, that happened once)…but he once again had no response. And he’ll never bring it up, either. Why would he?
It’ll be two weeks tomorrow that I attacked the fridge and my hand still hurts a lot. It’s painful washing dishes, scooping litter boxes, washing my hair, getting dressed…you get the idea. And the anger is still very present. I’m having trouble “pushing through it” this time. I’m so over what’s become normal in this marriage. I don’t want it anymore. The thing is, if we separate, I have absolutely no way of supporting myself. I am completely dependent on him. Have been since I met him…pretty much. I keep thinking of that movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ when they’re talking about being institutionalized. That’s kind of how I’ve always felt in life. This crippling fear comes over me when I think of having to go out in the real world and interact with people and “sell” myself to a potential client or employer (I have done it but it never gets easier). I can’t even deal with the phone…serious phone anxiety. I still think I could be something but being with Rick enables me to stay at home and hide from the world. I’m slowly dying inside by living this way. And it doesn’t help that I just don’t even care about anything anymore. I have no drive to strive. It’s pathetic.
It wasn’t like this for the first few years of our marriage. We were working on building our business, Phantom Phenders. Rick got me painting jobs for custom airbrushing. I painted motorcycles (a few cars and a boat, too) and sometimes he built custom motorcycles. We promoted ourselves and we did things together. But it’s all since fallen apart and I’ve given up trying. I don’t have the energy to explain it all today. I’ve written about it in the past…go fish if you want to.
I don’t feel like writing anymore…Just want to watch a movie on this sunny afternoon as I sit on this futon in my pajamas. My sixth (but not least) cat, Ruby, is keeping me company.
I feel like I’m standing at a crossroads of dead ends waiting for God to show up with a helicopter.
Even though I did what I could to make it right, I’m still pissed at myself for the way I chose to react. I was at the church doing my usual cleaning of the bathrooms when I saw some kids playing around my car in the parking lot. Not sure how old they were. The older boy was probably about fifteen is my guess. The younger boy looked about ten years old and the girl could have been about thirteen. I just KNEW they were going to do something to my car. They had been poking around it mischievously in between bouts of running and chasing each other. I went back to my sweeping and when I returned to the window I observed this girl pouring juice all over the back of my car. The juice bottle was about 2 liters in size (like Ocean Spray or something) and I watched as she proceeded to dump it out onto the rear roof of my car.
I gasped, dropped the broom and IMMEDIATELY ran down the stairs for the front door only to turn back real quick to make sure I had my keys…otherwise I’d lock myself out of the church since I was the only person there. My response time was fast because I’m sure I had already made up my mind beforehand that if I saw them doing anything to my car I would be on them like flies on poop…too bad I didn’t think through HOW that confrontation should go.
They sort of froze when they saw me.
“What are you doing?!?!” I yelled.
…deer in headlights…
“I just saw you pour juice all over my car!”
“Sorry,” she said.
But I wasn’t having it. She needed to be held accountable for her actions and by golly I was going to make sure she was! She needs to learn to have respect for other people’s property! …Sheesh… This reaction probably goes back to my youth, I just know it. I mean, it was only juice for crying out loud. But it wasn’t even the juice that bothered me. It was the fact that she thought it a good idea to dump it on my car.
“Why would you do that?!?!”
“Did you think it would be funny?!?!”
“What the fuck?!!?”
AND THERE IT WAS.
The f-bomb just kind of sort of flew out of my mouth.
Swearing in front of your church, Mindy?!?! Really? Is that how Jesus would handle it? Mmmm, me don’t thinks sooo.
She just kept saying sorry as she stood frozen in place.
“Are you gonna clean it for me?” I asked.
She said she would and asked if I had paper towels. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that response. I think I figured they’d be jerks about it, but they weren’t. NOT AT ALL. I didn’t answer her question right away. I was trying to figure out how to fix the damage from MY initial reaction. I knew it was wrong and I couldn’t let it go. God was watching.
I ended up asking if they lived around here and she said no. I think I was thinking that if she lived close by she could get cleaning supplies or something…which is dumb because I knew I had paper towels! I don’t know, my heart was pounding and I don’t tend to think so well on the spot and in the heat of a moment.
“Listen, I’m sorry I just yelled at you. It was wrong for me to react that way. I’m really sorry I yelled and swore at you. I really shouldn’t have reacted that way. I’m just shocked over what you did. I don’t understand why you would do that.”
She just kept saying in a soft voice, “Sorry.”
Then she approached the car ready to wipe off the juice with the sleeve of her sweatshirt!
“No. Don’t do that. I’ll get you some paper towels. Will you wait while I go get them?”
“Yes,” she said.
I came back out with the paper towels and some Windex. I told her I accepted and appreciated the apology and I also appreciated her willingness to clean it up.
“We all do stupid things sometimes (note to self),” I said in desperation to make her feel better (was trying to make MYSELF feel better, too). She was embarrassed that she had been caught and she never said much but “sorry” during the entire encounter. It was a little awkward because I didn’t know what else I could say besides apologizing over and over again for my reaction. The older kid said we got off on the wrong foot and proceeded to tell me his name as he stretched out his hand.
“The name’s Jonathan,” he said with a smile.
“Mindy,” I said as I shook his hand. I think I tried to give him a hug. I can’t remember but I think he hugged back…but she didn’t. Inside my head I was telling myself not to do it…that she didn’t want to be touched, but it was too late. I had already stretched my arms out real wide and had gone in for the kill. She stood there, stiff as a board, as I patted her arm in an incredibly awkward, hug-denied-moment sort of way. Can’t say I blame her. It was too forward and presumptuous of me but I was trying to make peace the only way I knew how. She eventually told me her name from out of the corner of her mouth, all while looking down at the pavement.
“My name’s Lilly.”
“Lilly?” I asked. “That’s a pretty name.” Pretty girl, too. Amazing eyes.
I didn’t know how to interact with them after that. I really wanted to learn something about them but I just didn’t know how.
As they were walking away I cornily said, “Jesus loves you.”
Jonathan kind of laughed at that, but not in a rude way. Whatever. I just wanted to get the name of Jesus in there somehow. After all, I am a Christian standing right in front of my church. I felt awful that I hadn’t represented well AT ALL. Yeah, I know I apologized but the damage was done.
After I went back inside I let myself have it. Looking in the mirror all I saw was a miserable old woman who yells at kids for a living staring back at me. I thought this underlying hostility towards kids had disappeared with the birth of my nieces and nephew, but apparently it was just laying dormant.
Through disappointed tears I told God how sorry I was and played in my head all the different scenarios of how I COULD have reacted. I could have stopped and given myself a minute to decide the best way to handle it before rushing out the door. I could have even used humor instead of fury. OK, maybe it wasn’t “fury” but it was obvious that I was angry. I mean, I wasn’t red-faced and breathing fire so I suppose my behavior could have been a lot worse. And at least I corrected myself almost immediately. (That’s what I keep telling myself.) But yeah, I messed up today.
Oh well. Can’t change it. Damn, though. Really disappointed in myself.
No do-overs for Mindy. No time machine. Just another lesson learned.
‘The Universe Gets Way Too Much Credit’ 2/25/2018
This may sting a little, but the universe doesn’t care about you or your life. I see it so often; people speaking of the universe as though it has the power to determine what happens in their lives. It’s like it’s the new, politically correct religion. So many people love to idolize the universe, but the universe has no control over what will or will not come to you. It plays no role in life’s “coincidences.” It has no feelings. It has no thought process. Why?
BECAUSE IT CAN’T.
Oh yes, the universe is quite magnificent! Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe its magnitude or beauty or mystery. But I know of something far more incredible…of SOMEONE far more worthy of our awe and reverence and attention…
The Creator OF the universe!
The universe and everything in it is merely evidence of its Creator. Its intricate design and order all point to a Designer, not to mention the vast intricacies of our own human bodies! I mean, there are some 42 million protein molecules in a simple cell. That’s just one microscopic cell!! Funny that it’s called a simple cell. Doesn’t sound so simple to me!! Go ahead and try to explain how such complexities could “just happen by chance”… go on…I’ll wait…
If a top ten most cited scientist and synthetic chemist in the world can’t explain how such complexities could “just happen by chance” I’m pretty sure none of us can, either.
God has given us plenty of evidence of His existence…
…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. -Romans 1:19-20
The world and everything in it is fleeting, but where we go after our life on this earth ends is eternal. Do you know where you are going? I promise you that the universe has absolutely nothing to do with your final destination…YOU do. YOU make the choice and are given every opportunity to say yes to the One True God because He cares for you. Reincarnation is a lie and you don’t become non-existent like so many atheists like to tell themselves.
And while you are still breathing on this third rock from the sun, the universe can’t love you or fill that void in your heart that you so desperately try to remedy with anything and everything BUT the One who made you; Who knew you before you were even in your mother’s womb…
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
He knows you and loves you and has been chasing after you, if only you would notice. We have an all-loving Creator who wants each and every one of us to know Him personally. We also have an enemy who would love nothing more than to keep you lost in deception, forever SEPARATED from God, continuously tricking you into believing in false signs because he hates you. Satan can only counterfeit what God Almighty has created. He is referred to as ‘the father of lies’…
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. -2 Corinthians 11:14
Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on My own, but He sent Me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear Me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. -John 8:42-44
That spiritual veil that blinds you from The Truth can be removed if only you would be willing to let Him in…to BELIEVE. We have to give Him permission to work in our lives. The Lord is a gentleman and will never force His way into your life. He can’t anyway. That would go against His character and God cannot contradict Himself. He is love and He gave us free will…you have to let him in. Jesus Himself says…
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me. -Revelation 3:20
So, if you want to keep on thanking the universe every time something goes your way go right ahead, but it can’t hear you. I would much rather thank the One who MADE it…and us.
12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. -Matthew 18
I don’t want to admit it. Jesus healed me after all…right? I don’t want to say that I’m depressed again, but I choose to sleep for as long as I can manage. Didn’t get out of my bed all day yesterday and slept for most of it. Told my husband I didn’t feel well because of a head ache. I did have one earlier but it’s probably because I slept too long.
There’s things I want to do for myself but I just haven’t been able to get the ball rolling. Like going to the gym…cleaning my disgusting house…
I have no drive. I don’t want to be this way.
I can still talk to people when I’m out so I know I’m not in a bad way. I know what it’s like to be down so deep that I can’t open my mouth to speak or even get dressed…although getting dressed is starting to become a challenge again. I’m not in the pit and I don’t plan to fall back into it. I’m aware of my patterns and I know I need to take charge and do something before it gets out of hand. I’m thankful for my church. It gives me a reason to get out of the house. But other than that I have no purpose…no job…no responsibilities other than taking care of my cats.
I hate the way my life is going. Sure, I could fix SOME things…like working out to lose that extra twenty pounds I loathe…or start cleaning my crammed living space one room at a time (so I don’t overwhelm myself). But I just haven’t taken those steps yet and now spring is just around the corner, then summer which requires fewer clothes which brings more misery because I hate my body.
I hate that I’m even saying any of this. It’s so negative and I don’t want to be THAT person. I know these struggles are due to my life’s current circumstances. I don’t need medication, just a motivational kick in the ass. A kick-start.
Come Holy Spirit…please kick me in the ass.
Can we talk? I need to discuss with You how wretched I truly am. I know You know what I’m referring to. You were there after all. You saw him fall backwards, too. You watched me run towards him, yelling his name as he fell into the hamper. You were there as he lay confused, not knowing what had just happened. In that moment I didn’t know what to do…what to think. “Was he having a stroke? A seizure?” He looked so old and helpless and frail to me at that very moment. For a second I thought he pissed himself but it turned out to be spilled milk which was now all over the front of his underwear and all over the now drenched, filthy carpet. He just sat there within the bedroom doorway as I tried to assess what was happening and, as usual, I couldn’t get much feedback from him which, in turn, made me frustrated. I just wanted to know what was going on with him but he wasn’t able to tell me. He just wanted me to give him a minute. His face was so cold and clammy and ashen. “Do I need to call an ambulance?” I then looked around at my cluttered and dirty dwelling and began to think of what sort of apology I would give to the medics as they tried to maneuver through our mess. What would they think of me, of us, when they saw how dirty I had let my place become? But that’s not even the worst of it. In the midst of all this I did think to pray over him but chose not to. It did occur to me to seek God first and pray but I wasn’t sure of how to word it or if it would even make a difference or if it was even necessary. That is the worst. I chose not to pray. Shameful.
He had passed out a couple of times but I only witnessed the second episode. As I sat on the couch watching TV I heard some commotion coming from the kitchen but didn’t think much of it. I figured he had just dropped something or that a bunch of stuff fell out of the fridge. That’s not unheard of for us and has become an accustomed noise (typically followed up with cursing) in this crammed living space we call home, so I didn’t get up to check. I didn’t even call out a simple “You okay?” Then a couple minutes later I thought I heard him shut the bathroom door quite abruptly? Maybe? I decided to get up and check only to find him standing in the doorway of the bedroom. From across the room I asked if he was okay and as he was telling me that he had just fallen he proceeded to fall again. “RICKY!!!” I yelled as I ran towards him. “What’s wrong?!?”
A LOT of thoughts were going through my head at exactly the same time. I don’t think I felt emotion…only concern for what plan of action needed to be taken as I simultaneously processed internal questions such as, “Was he going to die?!?!” and “Is this really happening right now? …What would happen to me if he dies? … What would I do?” Angry, accusatory thoughts took over as I recalled the fact that he overworks himself EVERY SINGLE DAY never to get ahead and if he would just take better care of himself he wouldn’t be sitting on this disgusting carpet in a half naked daze right now…”I need him to be strong for me. How am I going to be strong for him?!?!” I’m completely dependent on this man and I would lose everything if he suddenly left this world, including my six beloved cats which he also adores” (well, he has his three favorites). The semi-subconscious thoughts continued…. “I can’t believe this is my life’s situation. It was never supposed to be this way. I’m mad at myself and I’m mad at him and I shouldn’t be feeling resentment as my husband sits helpless on the floor. I’m a wretch.”
My perturbation increased the longer Rick sat. I started to worry about how much money it was going to cost to go to the hospital with no insurance. We JUST finalized the bankruptcy and are FINALLY debt free. So much for that. “Should I go?” he asked. “Well, how do you feel?” He thought he was okay but we both felt it probably wasn’t a good idea to risk not getting checked out. So I gave him clean underwear to put on and we both got dressed at 2 am this morning and set out for yet another ER visit, braving the cold February air.
I tried to help Rick tell the doctor what had happened and filled in any gaps he had missed, like mentioning his MS just in case it was needed information. They hooked him up to machines and gave him an IV. Doc wanted to do an EKG, a chest x-ray, and a CT scan. I cringed at the thought of the size of THAT bill. When they had all left the room I reminded Rick of how he mentioned in the car not wanting all sorts of tests. After relaying to a nurse the fact that we have no health insurance the CT was put on hold and by the end of the stay it was determined that it wasn’t needed after all. He was going to be okay. His blood pressure was really low and labs showed his kidneys weren’t up to par which was most likely due to dehydration. Both issues were resolved with an IV of fluids.
There were a couple of moments when I felt tears trying to surface but I fought them off. I wasn’t interested in showing weakness. I wanted to hold on to the anger I had been feeling for days. I fumed as I sat in a chair across from the foot of his bed. I know it must have shown on my face and I was sure to express it at one point. “I’m mad at you. You scared me,” I said. The anger could not be hidden. Anger due to the fact that our marriage is far from what I had hoped it would be. Anger due to the fact that I have had to numb myself to the emotional needs that are never met…for fourteen years. Anger due to the fact that He has been at the Rod and Gun Club every night this week and was in fact there this night, binge smoking and drinking beer which has become a normalcy in our life. Anger due to the fact that I’ve become someone I never wanted to be and I can’t blame it all on him. Anger due to the fact that I feel stuck and helpless and hopeless. Anger due to the fact that this has become my life and the only thing that has changed, despite Rick’s repeated promises that change is just around the corner, are my weight gain and age which is slowly creeping up on my forty-two year old face. Anger due to the fact that he doesn’t even have a clue of how upset I have been or how much I struggle on a daily basis no matter how many times I try to tell him. Then again, maybe he does know. He just doesn’t talk.
I could go on but what’s the point? I’m not going anywhere. I do love him and I made a covenant with him and You. I just wish I could have some hope back that things will improve. I just wish that I could be the wife I know You want me to be, Lord. I fall so short. I wish this felt like a marriage instead of an arrangement. Despite the tension that seems to regularly occur between us, we are friends and know each other rather well…but don’t friends even hug once in a while? I hate that this is where we are and I don’t want this to be the extent of all it will ever be on this earth; I want the more abundant life You speak of. But, yes, I’m glad he is okay. Thank You, Jesus, that Rick is okay.
Please Lord Jesus, help me persevere and get through the trial, refined and triumphant.
After reading this back to myself today I came to the realization that I have to forgive my husband. It seems obvious to me now after reading all the resentments I have towards him…not sure why I couldn’t see it before. I guess when we hold on to anger it’s hard to see anything else. So now I have to learn how to forgive in the midst of the pain. I understand that I may not “feel” like I have forgiven him but speaking the words out loud carry a lot of weight with my Heavenly Father. The willingness and the action of speaking out the words are important first steps. And I’m sure forgiveness towards Rick may be something I have to practice on a regular basis as I persevere, but I’m convinced the feelings of freedom will be sure to follow in my intentionality.
Heavenly Father, I forgive my husband, Rick, for all that he can’t give me. I forgive him for all the things he does that anger me. I don’t want this anger anymore. Please forgive me for holding onto this anger, these resentments, and bitterness. I give it all up to you. Please release me from these strongholds in my life and set me free. Help me to keep a pure heart. Please set Rick free from his strongholds as well. I lift him up to You and ask that You do an amazing work in him and I thank You for him. In Jesus name, Amen.
I actually do feel a bit of a release after doing this. Like a burden I’ve been carrying is no longer there…Who knows what happens in the spiritual realm when we forgive!
Still angry. Still sleeping as long as I can. Skipped church service two weeks in a row so people wouldn’t have to see how miserable I am feeling. This forgiveness thing is a struggle…or maybe the forgiveness and the anger have nothing to do with each other? The frustration is real.