Quick Read, Transformation

Still Me

           (circa ’08?’09? I  was Snookie before Snookie was Snookie…)

You’re right, I’m not who I used to be. I believe in different things now. The things we used to believe together. I no longer do the things I used to do. The things that made you feel comfortable. The things we did together.

I don’t drink.

I don’t go to bars or clubs.

I don’t sleep with guys.

I don’t flirt or seduce.

I don’t use foul language.

I rarely listen to secular music.

I’m not a feminist anymore.

I believe in traditional marriage.

I don’t try to be seen.

I don’t try to intimidate.

I don’t put my ego first.

I’m a patriot but I pledge allegiance to Jesus.

I don’t believe the color of my skin entitles me or makes me a victim.

I’m Pro-Life.

And I was never a democrat anyway.

There’s plenty more I can’t articulate at this moment.
I cashed in all my chips and ended up with zero. These things bankrupted my spirit. As I moved closer to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit I could no longer hold on to those things. They no longer served any purpose because they are not based on anything long withstanding. 

I admit, perhaps I never made it clear in years past of what I did stand for. Though in my defense, I never claimed to be For some of those things; my only fault-remaining silent in my disagreement. 

I gave up those things willingly and freely. I’ve never felt and thought more clearly. I’m doing great. 

I am still Me. Unapologetic and Resolute.

When you probably roll your eyes at the sight of my name and the things I stand for now, know that I’m fine with whatever reaction you have. The disagreements that permeate in your bones, you’re allowed to have.  But know this –

It was you that shut me out. 

So I continue on, always available for non-spontaneous coffee dates, froyo meet-ups and other such treats.

With Love,

Still Me 

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Journaling, Quick Read, Transformation

Creatures

“God take these chains off of me, take the chains off of my heart off my body off my brain. Take these chains Take these chains off of me. God take these chains. These chains of consequences.

he raped my heart now I’m dealing with the consequences of low self-esteem no confidence. I gave him full reign on my body & mind. It’s all over now, it’s gotta be over. Cuz there’s no other way.”                                                                                               July 7, 2010

 

I wrote that in a journal I found in a box in my closet, literally and figuratively. A box inside my closeted soul. I wrote in the Purge how there was a time in my life where I teetered the line of crazy. That post was centered on a particular individual and the merry-go-round I rode with him.

This post however, I want to focus on myself.

I sat on the floor in my room reading these excruciating types of entries, recalling the events or being shocked at events I never remembered. Texting him in the middle of the night “delete my number and forget about me” and “tell me to stop talking to you.” Most going unanswered, unacknowledged driving me even madder. Never in a million years would I have ever admitted to being that crazy girl. In fact, I had like most people remembered the past as I chose to. Glossing over my own poor behavior and over emphasizing the poor behavior in the other person. After a text was ignored I wrote how I cried “all night” or “until I feel asleep.” This scenario saturated my journal.

I began to cry myself. Six years later, I am 31 years old and so far removed from the person I once was. My heart broke for the young me. Someone so lost. Lost in someone else. Lost in reality. I cried and apologized to God for not knowing Him then. I know YOU now though. You came for me, you never stopped coming for me. I felt shaken to my core.

I never truly saw the cage I was in until the other night reading page of page of utter nonsense. Pages of illogical and immature behavior. I was caged up in insecurity and rejection. An embalmed cycle.

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I told God later, I forgive him [the guy] even though I already have. Just in case there is something still there and I don’t know it. I release him. I forgive myself.

As I continued to process my thoughts and raw emotions, I believe God told me that it was not him [the guy] – it was not flesh and blood but principalities at work.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”    Ephesians 6:12

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only LIGHT drives out darkness. I was in some of the darkest rooms stumbling around, trying to find my way, getting bumped and bruised. The enemy liked me in the dark. Falling down and grasping, hurting myself. My sense of self hanging on the whims of another person [the idea of the other person]. Clouds and storms of dysfunction in between us. Looking back, I now believe there was only a small fraction of our real selves that were present with one another. We came to the surface sporadically only to retreat in fear moments later. What a sad way to live your life.

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The old me died a while ago, specifically on May 31, 2015 when I was baptized. I am a NEW creature and NEW thing in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”     Isaiah 43:19

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”      Romans 6:4

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—“     Romans 6:6

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”     Romans 6:12-14

new_creature_in_christ_by_marlacalandradesigns-d3hnpdz.jpgRelated Music: 

Once and For All- Lauren Daigle


 

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The Cross, Transformation, video

Sevin of H.O.G.M.O.B.G.O.M.

 

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Sevin

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Transformation

The Time I Went to the Abortion Clinic

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness
-2 Corinthians 11:30
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It was around noon or 1:00pm, a sunny Saturday. My friend had thought she was leading us to a Planned Parenthood, but it turned out to be the “Abortion Clinic.” I know this because there was a giant sign facing me as I stared out of my window that read “Abortion Clinic.”  I reluctantly turned left into the parking lot. We walked in the door, and into a second door. There was a glass window and on the other side was a medical receptionist. She asked how she could help us and I don’t remember what I said. She asked for our I.D.s and made copies of them. She returned and handed them to us through the open slot of the glass window. They allowed us through the door into the waiting room. I did not want to be there.

The night before, I had driven out of town to see someone. A guy I had been talking to for a month or so maybe two. I knew this person from high school, college affiliations, and mutual friends. Definitely not a Cat Fish situation besides, that tv show did not exist back then. We had made out at a party at some point before. Prior to driving there I decided that I wasn’t going to sleep with him. Fool around? Sure, but I wont go all the way. Just have fun and I’ll only stay for awhile not the whole night.

Well…

I did sleep with him. I did stay the whole night though we didn’t sleep. That’s not innuendo, we didn’t sleep because we couldn’t find the condom afterwards. Lord, take me now- its already so embarrassing. We searched our immediate area and bodies. Nothing. He began to stress… a lot. Sitting there in the awkward uh-oh early morning hours. Perhaps this was a very edgy funny commercial somewhere in the world. Nope- it was real life. My life. Each heavy minute was another confirmation that I should have left a very long time ago. I should have already been home, but now I’m here, dealing with This. I wasn’t worried about what he was worried about. I new I wasn’t going to be pregnant. I just knew. The guy on the other hand, was already 9 months ahead of himself. He had no idea of what to do or what could be done. I suggested Plan B [I didn’t know much about it] but the words brought him relief. He rambled off a bunch of questions, I said I didn’t know. We drove to an ATM and he gave me some cash. How lovely. I drove home and got on the internet to look up Planned Parenthood. They didn’t open until 11am, it was only 7:30am. My logical brain told me to check for the condom one more time. It was exactly where you would imagine. An even bigger confirmation of my poor decision. If this was ever the sign to stop making stupid decisions. I rested until it was around 11am. I texted a friend earlier and asked if she would go with me, but she was busy now. I drove to Planned Parenthood and as I got closer I could see people in the parking lot. As I got even closer, I saw they were protesters with signs. Yet another sign. I did not stop but drove straight to another friend’s apartment near by. I called her and asked if she was busy. She said “No why?” I said because “I’m parked in front of your apartment.” I went inside and explained everything. She agreed to go with me. We went back to Planned Parenthood but everyone was gone and it seemed their front doors were locked. She said she knew of one in what is technically another city but more of an extension of our city.

That’s where this story started at the top. The Abortion Clinic. I sat in the waiting room trying to not look at the other women there. Were they all getting abortions today? Getting Plan B? Regular check-ups? One woman walked out of the hallway crying and straight out of the door. The self-righteous person I was was being humbled. I cant judge anyone in this clinic because I am here with them. I was called back and received Plan B, two pills now and two pills to take 12 hours from now [If I’m not mistaken, Plan B is one pill now]. They told me that if I started to throw up to call them immediately and come back. AHH, reassuring Thanks.

I went home and stayed home that day. I didn’t want to risk throwing up in public anywhere. I text him that I got the pills. After the incident, our friendship was never the same. I didn’t want it to end, I didn’t want to feel used. But it did end and I did feel used. I felt sad briefly but did not forget to place a large chip on my shoulder and add him to the list of guys I held in disdain.

Fast forward a couple of months later, he attempted to apologize to me at a house party. I was there with a boyfriend. I rolled my eyes and was superiorly annoyed. My boyfriend stepped in to tell him that he knew I was owed an apology and “whatever happened before us is whatever.” I enjoyed that but exited my way out of the immediate area. I turned around to find them taking some shots together and sharing some weird level of camaraderie. UGH AS IF! Guys will be guys.

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Fast forward some years later, he sent me a lengthy apology via Facebook. He was leading a program for young men teaching them how to be a man. He saw the irony. It truly was a legit apology. However, if you read my post Save your Sorry- you’ll see I don’t like apologies. I blew his apology off and didn’t respond for many months. When I did, all I said was “Thanks.” I can be a jerk.

Fast forward some even more years later, we ended up working in the same agency. I know right? Only God does things like that. I was so nervous just walking to the restroom or the lounge. Looking around every corner! A mutual friend relayed his fears as well. He told her, he still thought I hated him. I was shocked and disappointed. Disappointed in myself, at this point I had begun to live obediently to Christ. My heart was absolutely over those past events. I had no hate or negativity in my heart for him. It was more of a lets just laugh at all of this silliness between us type of feeling. One day he did see me in the lounge and we chatted as adults do. It was fine.
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Fast forward some months after that, to a Cinco de Mayo night at nightclub. It was his favorite style of Mexican music, music I only dance at Mexican weddings when a man insists I dance with him. Its imperative I roll my eyes first letting the man know I’m only going to dance to amuse him. Of course, we addressed our history. He said “I was just a boy,” —   “I was just a girl.”

That story began 10 years ago. I learned a handful of lessons.

It’s a very good thing to let people know you don’t still hate them.

If someone legitimately apologizes, say more than “Thanks.”

Women sit in abortion clinics all the time, when technically they don’t really want to.

Sometime, sacrificing their comfort to appease some one else.

I’ve always had good friends that never judged me.

I’ve helped new friends by telling them this story.

Its made them understand I’ve definitely made stupid decisions.

We all have stories. Embarrassing, pitiful, shameful. Whatever word you use to describe them. God can come in, change your heart and give you confidence to share them.
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Related Reading:
http://wp.me/p5i4GL-ea
http://wp.me/p5i4GL-13

Related Music:

The Sex Buffet: How Availability Changes the Way Culture Sees Women

 

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Transformation, Uncategorized

21 Before 21

As the year comes to a close in just a few days,  I thought I’d share 21 things I wish I knew before I was 21. What would I tell my younger self?

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1. Cockiness is not Confidence. Humble yourself.

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2. Don’t spend money you don’t have (credit cards, buying things before paying bills).

3. Guys will use you,

4. If you let them.

5. The bad boy is not who you want to marry and have kids with.

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6. You will need your friends.

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7. Trust God, not the world.

8. You don’t have to try so hard [titles, status, guys].

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9. Don’t give away your power. The worst times in your life are a direct result of giving away your power.

10. Feminism is a lie. An imitation. True female empowerment comes from Heavenly places.

11. Living solo is great.

12. There is a plan. God’s plan. You’ll take many detours, but God will always redirect you.

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13. Stop hiding your feelings

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14. and Stop trying to play it cool.

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15. You can depend on others, it doesn’t mean that you’re incompetent. Ask for help.

16. You’re ENOUGH.

17. You do want to get married, stop lying.

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18. People like you for you. Stop thinking you’re weird.

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19. Don’t let anyone come between your peace and joy.

20. God is not afraid to hurt your feelings.

21. When it doubt call Mom or Dad.

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In case you forgot what 2005&2006 felt and sounded like, here’s are some of my jams from back in the day! Proceed at your own risk LOL!





*Bonus* All you need to know about the old me can be experienced in these two albums!
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I could have saved this girl a lot of trouble… 5/15/06
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I’d love to hear from you! What would you tell your younger self?

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Men, Transformation, Women

Playing House

“Why Living Together Before Marriage is a Bad Idea”
By: Kristen Clark

via Girl Defined at http://www.girldefined.com/

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I’ll admit I went back and forth on this one. I read this post and fervently agreed with every word, I decided to answer the questions. Then I decided not to. I didn’t want to offend anyone. But again today, I have decided to answer the questions. I haven’t cared thus far if anyone out there is offended or not, so why start now? I take it as something I must do. I am after all, speaking from experience. Not from a place of judgment. I just won’t be at peace if I don’t speak on this. So here ya go.

What do you think about couples living together before marriage?
What do I think about couples living together before marriage? I think first this is an issue of whether or not each person believes (stands by) marriage. For a lengthy period in my life I did not believe in marriage. I thought just because you get married doesn’t guarantee you anything. Your partner can still leave you and desert your family. They could still cheat on you, lie to you, abuse you, and hurt you and a million other things. On the other hand, just because you are not married doesn’t mean you cannot build a home and family with someone. You can still love someone and be committed to them. I used to say “If someone comes along and *inspires* me to be married, then I would do that.” Now, it sounds like I was quite full of it! I believe this belief I was holding, influenced my last relationship. He and I lived together for exactly one year. Funny thing is, he is married now. But most definitely not to me. How could he want to marry someone that professed not to believe in marriage? We weren’t on the same page from the beginning. I had only moved to his city to continue building our relationship [my definition of temporary]. He envisioned me assimilating to small town life and living happily ever after, I guess. We were living together just because we had done long-distance for what seemed like forever but really it was about 6 or 7 months. We had grown tired of seeing each other once or so a month, for only a weekend at a time. I thought occasionally, “Would I marry him, if he asked?” I never knew the answer. I thought I knew a way to finding out the answer. I wrestled internally with wanting to move back to my home –city. Our two discussions lead to hurt feelings, confusion and fear. For me it was just awkward. I thought if he is willing to move with me, or move somewhere close by just on the outskirts then maybe, just maybe, he’s the one to marry. He chose not to be that one. My heart was broken. To add salt to the wound, I was the one to move out. I will always remember that Saturday morning waking and packing my things. Him asking if I needed any boxes. *No Thanks* Him asking when he could get the key back. *Um, when I get all my things out* Him leaving me a note in the mailbox with the math done for my share of the bills for those 19 days. *Mind.Blown.*

I realized we ended up like most couples that live together. We were not committed to one another like we thought we were. When we hit a crossroads in our relationship, someone bows out. They throw in the towel and say I didn’t sign up for this. They decide you’re holding me back, I can get much further in life without you. They cut you loose. I think I was both. I was ready to keep moving forward with him, and at the same time, I was ready to cut him loose. I wanted to move back to my home-city, find a decent paying job with my newly completed degree. I knew the time would come that I might have to let it go. I know this is not all couples that live together.

Do you know some Christian couples who think it’s okay?
I don’t think I know Christians couples that think it’s okay. I do know there are Christian couples that are having sex outside of marriage. I know at least one of them feels guilty. It’s usually kept a secret. I know that it’s hard to stop something, like sex, once you start. Once you have established that as the norm in your relationship it seems preposterous to stop. Especially, if you and your partner are not on the same page spiritually and in your walk with God.

What standard will you choose to live by?
After my own experience, I knew soon after that I would never just live with a guy again. The next man I lived with would be my husband. I have to really love you to not call it quits after you snore in my ear all night long. Or put my clean clothes in my dirty clothes basket. Or put my shoes that were next to the couch [the side you don’t even sit on] in the closet that we never use. Or wash the cup I was drinking out of just because it was on the counter. Or think when I say I’m going to bed-goodnight, that’s its an invitation. Or be disgusted at my long hair in the shower or sink, when your shaving cream globs sprinkled with millions of tiny hairs are stuck on the shower curtain. Or eat all my mini rice cakes.

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Related Reading:
http://www.girldefined.com/why-living-together-bad-idea

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Fasting, Transformation

What I found in 21 Days of Fasting

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I found a great page on fasting and love the way the writer has compiled information to describe fasting.

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. [Dallas Willard].

The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things. [Ole Kristian O. Hallesby].

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].

Because I had never fasted before I decided to make a realistic commitment. I fasted all food after 6pm. I did this because I eat most of my food in the evenings after work, and I compulsively snack into the night. I often do not like that I do this and wish I could get a handle on it. It made sense to deny myself my snack cravings in this way. I also fasted social media. The first week I cut myself off of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) after 8pm; the second week at 12pm; the third and final week was none all together.

Fasting isn’t just about denying yourself food or other things. It’s about having ideas, questions, areas in your life that you are going to seek God’s counsel for. I had four areas I was and will continue to focus on.

What I learned…

DOF (desires of the flesh)
I can be disciplined to not eat all evening long and before I go to bed. That is fantastic because I have the metabolism of a brick. I am to die to urges (desires of the flesh) and cravings (desires of the flesh). I often eat out of boredom. Time spent eating [when I’m not hungry] could and was spent taking care of other things. Cleaning and organizing my apartment, reading kingdom-minded books, reading the bible, praying, talking to God, listening to God, and getting to bed earlier. Which it was. I even became better at turning off the tv and limiting the amount I was watching, even though I was not fasting tv.
There’s a life outside of the social media and the dof to check your accounts 30 times in 30 minutes. You’ll be fine if notifications go unchecked.

The Word
The word of God can be easy to read. It takes a few tries like my experience in algebra, geometry and statistics (F, F, F). Your brain may not mature enough to tackle the task however after a few tries you’re brain will pick up speed. Last year during this time, my church produced a reading guide and I attempted to read the “overdrive” side of the sheet. I lost momentum and I got behind. I was challenged by the heavy reading of Acts, Romans, and so on. This time around, I completed the reading guide. I only missed a couple of days but it was easy to get back on track. I also picked the easier side of the two.
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Jesus was HUMAN and, a bit of a smarty pants
John 8 is all about how people just didn’t get him. The Pharisees told Jesus his testimony was not valid, that he needed another person to verify who he was. When Jesus told them “where I go, you cannot come” the Pharisees were like where’s he’s going? what does that mean? you can’t come? is he gona kill himself? They just didn’t get it. Jesus said the truth will set you free and the people were like we are free, we’ve never been slaves. They said our Father is God. Jesus said God is not your father because if he was you’d love me but instead you want to kill me. They said he was demon possessed. They said “who do you think you are?” In John 9 when Jesus healed a blind man, the Pharisees “investigated.” They asked the former blind man, how he received his sight. After he told them they didn’t believe he was ever really blind. They even got the man’s parents to come and testify that he was born blind! They labeled Jesus a sinner because he healed (worked) on the Sabbath. They questioned the former blind man again and when he didn’t say what they wanted, they insulted him and threw him out! In John 10, Jesus uses a metaphor about a Shepard (Jesus) and sheep (us). The Pharisees didn’t get it. Jesus was like okay I am the Shepard and you are the sheep in this scenario. *blink*blink* In John 11, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” When Jesus saw Mary and the other people weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; then he wept! When Mary brought Jesus to where Lazarus’ body was, Jesus was once more deeply moved when he approached the tomb. He was deeply moved and cried. Why did he cry knowing he would be able to raise up Lazarus and everything would be fine? He cried because in his human body he felt the sadness and loss. He empathized with the sisters and felt the gravity of the situation.
So many people just didn’t get him. He spoke on a higher caliber and others could only understand what they could see, hear and touch. They couldn’t believe what they couldn’t see. Sound familiar?

God will speak to you
Be still and know that I am God.
You just need to shut off the tv, stop checking your phone, stop, just STOP. Sit and Listen. He wants to talk to you, he wants to tell you things. He wants you to ask him for things. And if you tell him to take you into deep waters, he sure will take you, and then tell you “you told me to take you into deep waters.”
I learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the stuff. The stuff being: my job, chores, tv, bills, stress, insecurities, daily activities, feeling bad because of something I ate or didn’t eat, feeling bad because I didn’t get the dishes done again, saying I’ll do something and not doing it again, telling myself I’ll go to bed early again and not doing it, getting caught up in all kinds of plans and feeling obligated to stick to them, setting up goals and not reaching them, trying to be more this or that, the materials things I wish I had, the money I don’t have, and everything else that I focus on. I don’t want to get caught up in the all the stuff of life. I want to fixate my eyes on Jesus. I want to hear him talk. I want to allow myself to be loved, and sought after by him.

During these 21 days I received confirmation and encouragement on some of the things I was asking God about.
*Very unexpectedly, someone heard me speak about my family and they felt it to pass on to me the story in Judges 6 about Gideon. God tells Gideon to go and save Israel out of Midan’s hands. Gideon said “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manassas, and I am the least in my family.” God said, “I’ll be with you;” I teared up in front of the man telling me this story.

*The Lord disciplines those he loves-Proverbs 3:12
Give to everyone what you owe them-Romans 13:7
*God is guarding my purity. He is acting as my heavenly Father, protecting and vigilant. He’s the dad that answers the door and says Don’t mess with MY daughter.

Highlights:
Romans 6:15-23
Romans 8:39
Romans 12:16
Romans 13:12-14
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