Friday, October 20, 2017

Traumatic Events Aside; My Faith Endured - Part 4

That was quite a list of traumatic events, right?

Yeah, even when I look at it, and having lived it, still can't believe how much has happened. And, those are the "MAJOR" events. God walked and does walk with me. I am certain of it.

I had always considered myself a conscientious person. Like Job, I felt that I was ethical, feared God, and avoided evil. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I knew that there was a reason I was born and a purpose for my being put here on earth.

Although, for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. And, nothing used to trouble me more than not being able to figure something out.

Through it all, I've never, ever lost my faith in God. No matter what, even during suicide attempts, I prayed that something would intervene, as I wanted to live; yet I wanted to die. I know I have angels that protect me. 

I am a Child of God, through and through. His faithful servant, using his wonderful gifts to serve my family, friends, neighbors, community near and far, and church.

 I am not afraid of my future, my destiny, or God's plans. I go where He leads. He is my light. He is my Heavenly Father.

I know this is probably way more information than you'd ever want, but I really wanted you to understand how deep and how strong my faith has been through my life. No matter what anyone or anything has ever done to me, I knew I would survive. I knew God had plans for me. I knew that whoever traumatized my life, me, my children, would eventually have to face the only judge that mattered – God.
Although the wait for justice might seem unbearable, God one day will restore any one who may have suffered without cause.

Our suffering was a link to Jesus Christ. Because Jesus lived in our world and now lives within all believers, He shared the pains, the sorrows and the frustrations we feel. (Hebrews 4:15) He joins with us in our suffering and – even more encouraging – also offers us comfort.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:2-7, that as we comfort one another, our comfort abounds through Christ. At times we may have difficulty feeling Christ’s comfort, but others can encourage us with their physical presence, sharing our pain and offering comfort in tangible, practical ways. Their spiritual strength can flow into our lives not as off-hand answers, but as genuine grace. As part of our lives, their sympathy, confidence and hope in Christ lift us. Christians may go through some tough times, but they do not have to go through them alone.

Jesus Christ promised.

It wasn't my job to make sure that all the evil of the world was recognized and punished. My heart carried so much resentment and self-pity, that I wasn't able to see the good that I had in my life. I wasn't able to see the good I would have in the future. I just wasn't able to see the good in the real me.

I am content in knowing that I don't need an answer for every question right now. I understand that there isn't always going to be a reason that makes sense. Only the knowledge that there are answers and maybe in time, I will discover them. And, if I don't, then I have to trust God enough to understand that He knows.

Like Job, I no longer curse the day I was born. I don't demand that God tell me why I must go through what I have and will continue to experience in the future.

Now, I ask Him to be with me as I travel from day to day situations and provide me with guidance and wisdom to know Him. Like most lessons, I had to be broken before God could build me up. 

Challenges are God's way of making me trust Him. 

 I am grateful for God, thankful for His presence, and trust Him. That is enough for me. I am truly blessed.

And, in return, my promise to God is that I will try to listen more and complain less so that I can hear His gentle prompts and be prepared to let go of what I can't control.

I welcome God's tests because I know that He is proud of me and wants to show others how proud He is of me.

God's will, not my will. A mantra I say daily, as well as, 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

So, I tell you, don't think you are alone. God is with you always. Others have been through the same traumas you have. Don't be ashamed. Don't hide away. Speak up. I'll listen.

I know not if tomorrow’s way be steep or rough; but when Christ’s hand is guiding me, that is enough. - unknown

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Traumatic Events Aside; My Faith Endured - Part 3

What was is it between God and Job? 

God loved Job very much. He was proud of Job for being such a faithful believer. 

How do I explain that I think Job and I were separated at birth by a few thousand years?

Did God stop loving Job? Not in the least. If it were possible, God loved Job even more. and He wanted to prove how much Job loved Him. So, in a way God was showing off.

More to the point, God was showing Job off. 

Just like any parent who was proud of their child's accomplishments. Like any parent who wanted to tell anyone who would listen. You know the kind of parent; they especially want to show off if they think it'll impress the other person.

If you are a parent, you understand this concept very well. What parent could pass up a perfect opportunity to show off how proud they were of their child?

And, just like most children who don't understand what their parents were doing, Job was confused and didn't understand why God would do this to him. He was a good man. Even so, God picked Job to be tested.

"Was it unfair for God to allow Job to suffer over what was basically an argument between God and Satan?"

From Got Answers:  
"A surface reading of the book of Job usually evokes a reaction such as “Why is God making a ‘bet’ with the devil? God is being unfair to Job!” If we are honest and not just trying to defend God, He seems at first like some kind of cosmic ogre. God not only wagered Satan over the outcome of Job’s trials, but He actually provoked the bet (Job 1–2). To make matters worse, Job never finds out why he was afflicted in the first place. This is very disturbing for those who hope to see God as just, gracious and loving and not just “playing” with us as if we were pawns on a chessboard. So, in a way, the story of Job puts God on trial. To really understand what is going on in Job, we need to evaluate how this “trial” is litigated in the book’s argument." 
For further information, please click here.

Job’s friends and wife all told Job to curse God for the calamities that had fallen on him.

“His wife said to him, “are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9
“He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10

Job trusted in God, he concluded that trouble from God was better than comfort and ease without God. He was confident that God has his best interest at heart, even though he count not understand how that could be true in his present situation.

The Lord Himself said, “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7

So where does that leave us in our current time? And, how does this fit in with my thinking Job and I were separated at birth? 

Well, let me tell you that God must be so proud me. That has to be the reason why my life has gone the way it has. Otherwise, what I learned about Job doesn't matter. And I don't believe that. I believe that God loves me and is proud of me.

Challenges and Trials of Suffering are God's way of building our Trust in Him.

I believe that it's absolutely true that bad things happen to good people. I also believe that God never gives you more than He thinks you can handle.

I just never realized I could handle so much in my life at one time. 

I know God has a plan for me. I continue to pray for guidance and direction to follow it, patience to wait for it, and knowledge to know when it comes.

God is working on me. I'm unfinished. As in the song by Mandisa.

God wants His voice to be the only voice I hear. I must listen for Him to speak to me.

God's timing is perfect; never early, never late. I must have patience, I must wait, I must trust.

When God permits suffering, He also provides comfort. I believe in Him, and I have faith that He will be my victory.

He is in control. The adage, "Let Go and Let God" is not something people "parrot" to give you comfort. It's guidance of faith.

"As long as you know that God is for you, it doesn't matter who is against you." -- Romans 8:31

One of my favorite verses is:

"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." -- Philippians 4:13

I swear to you, don't lose sight of God's guidance. It may be subtle as the soft flutter of a ladybug's wing, or as wild as a massive storm in the middle of the ocean. Regardless, pay attention!

I sure wish I did.

Too bad I wasn't looking when he was showing me. It would have made things so much easier. But, then, this isn't about making things easy, is it?

Was it coincidence that I learned, almost too late, that I should have been focusing on my faith in God to set a path for me to follow?

I don't think so. I think, like Job, I had to experience all that I did to become the person I am now.

I needed to learn patience.

True justice requires patience. A lot of patience.

Do you remember this quote?

"Ours is not to reason why, ours is to do or die." 

It was by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The same can be applied to Jesus when he said, "You don't understand what I'm doing now, but someday you will" -- John 13:7

Paul tells us in Romans, 
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -- Romans 12:12

My life-long walk with Christ, as I trusted God and believed in His protective angels, put me through the following major traumatic situations. Through it all, Jesus was my ROCK. :

   A sexually abusive adopted father from 
childhood to 13 years old – concluding in my first suicide attempt

   After joining the USMC and transferred to Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps Base in California, I was drugged and repeatedly gang-raped by male marines (I refuse to use the capital ‘M’; they don’t deserve it.)

   Surviving a cross over to death during my third and last childbirth - a son - in which I was on bed rest for the entire pregnancy. My son and I both nearly died. 

   A car accident, in which I should never have survived - extracted, sent to the ER, with a compound compression fracture of the lower lumbar. Discovering Congenital Spinal Stenosis with no treatment option. Eventually the spinal canal will narrow to the point my spinal cord will be crushed and I will no longer walk.

   An emotionally, physically abusive first husband whose last actions and words to me before I left, was a violent rape, him placing a loaded .357 handgun on the headboard of our bed and the words “Don’t close your eyes tonight, you might not wake up.”

   A rear-ending by a Phoenix city bus that sent my three children and me to the hospital. We were crushed between the bus from behind and the car it pushed us into.

   A hypnotherapist’s sexual abuse under treatment.

   An unfortunate 2nd marriage, which I regretted as soon as it happened.

   An emergency hysterectomy to remove a pre-cancerous cervix and uterus.

   Stalking and threats from 1st husband and the Mexican Mafia - resulting in a judge and sheriff advising me to take my children and pack up, don’t tell anyone when or where, leave no forwarding information and get away in the middle of the night and go somewhere that my ex-husband and his connections to the Mexican Mafia could not find us. They eventually did and took my children away from me for nearly 6 years.

   A life-changing, move across the country to Florida, discovering my soul’s mate - the water. A parade of unsuitable lovers in a desperate attempt to fill the void in my heart for someone to love. Another suicide attempt, after a particularly close relationship with a man 11 years my junior. 

   Discovering my other half and the only man I could ever truly love in a twist of circumstances, where neither of us expected it. He helped me discover my real self, build my self-esteem, and grow with an adventurous spirit that rode a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. He saw who I was way before I ever knew myself! I love him for that.

    A brush with death again when I discovered a lump in my breast. The surgeon removed it to do a biopsy and only then determined it was benign. A golf-ball size benign tumor.

   A life-threatening Thyroid Storm, resulting in Grave’s Disease and medically ordered bed rest in which I could no longer return to work.

   Running my successful Technical Writing Consulting Firm for three years.

   Another emergency surgery to remove infected ovaries, which threw me into premature menopause.

   Beginning my successful career as a published author fulfilling a dream I had since high school.

   Co-founding the Florida Writers Association.

   Depression. Wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Medication Resistant Depression, Social Anxiety. Generalized Anxiety. OCD. PTSD. BED.

   Many attempted suicides

   Many hospitalizations

   Two long term hospitalizations

   Many ECT Treatments (one session was the focus of a local ABC news program during Sweeps Week)

   Years long battle with lawyers to gain PTSD and disability due to being drugged and raped by 2 marines (Eventually, the final decision was MST (Military Sexual Trauma) PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder, 100% disabled and unemployable)

   Chronic sleep issues (Insomnia & Narcolepsy) From childhood traumas, rapes, abuses, I knew if I closed my eyes at night bad things would happen, so my mind refused to let my body relax enough to sleep. Severe Narcolepsy episodes of Cataplexy, Sleep Paralysis, Hallucinations

   Most recently diagnosed with SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone) after over a year of low sodium, hyponatremia, hospitalizations for critically dangerous low sodium, many falls with fractures of hip, elbow, shoulder, etc.

   Grieving the loss of 25 years of writing after a "perfect storm" of events caused my thumb drive, back up, and back up to the back up, to all be lost at the same time. This gave me an opportunity to have long talks with God about my future, what His plans were, where He wanted me to go, and how. This resulted in studying Christian Counseling and doing pro bono counseling, Find Your Heart's Joy Christian Counseling / Coaching was born.

   I already have shown some signs of dementia, although nothing to cause concern, but we all know where it's heading.

   Losing my best friend, soul mate, protector, and Emotional Therapy dog for PTSD & Anxiety after 14 years to cancer. 

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Traumatic Events Aside; My Faith Endured - Part 2

The most famous sufferer in all of biblical times was Job.

Before I studied the book of Job, I only knew that this simple, humble man had a really great life and then, seemingly from nowhere, horrible things started happening to him. What did he ever do to deserve such a life?

Job is a great book and if you’re looking for answers to questions such as:

       Why is their evil in the world?
·      Why do pain, suffering and heartache exist?
·      Why do the righteous suffer?
·      How can the just nature of an almighty God be defended in the face of evil, especially human suffering – and even more particularly, the suffering of the innocent?

It’s not really known who wrote the book of Job, however scholars have speculated about many possible authors: Job, Elihu, Moses, Solomon, Isaiah, Hezekiah, or Baruch (the prophet Jeremiah’s friend)

The writer tells Job’s story in a way that lets us identify with his spiritual and philosophical struggles. The writer vividly illustrates the inadequacy of human logic to explain the reality and nature of evil in the world.

Job’s friends make profound statements – but they also make some classic errors in judgment.

Was Job being punished for not loving God enough? Was Job being punished for something his children did? Did God stop loving Job? Was Job being held up as an example for all people?

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant, Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” – Job 1:8

Satan taunted God, saying He put a hedge around him and his household and everything he had. That God blessed Job. He told God to stretch out His hand and take everything away, and then Job would curse God. Job 1:9-11

So God agreed. He had faith in Job. “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12

As a very young child in Sunday school, eager to learn all I could, it was difficult to grasp the concept of our Almighty God as a living breathing entity, and I only had a community-esque view of the basic parent/child relationship. But, I got this message through the cartoon images our Sunday school teacher used.

Job was a child of God.

So, as my Sunday school teacher revealed the rest of the story to me, I learned that Job wasn't really being punished at all, but was being tested to prove his faithfulness to his Father. God wanted to prove how faithful Job really was to Him.

God was showing off.

And, just like most children who don't understand what their parents are doing, Job was confused and didn't understand why God would do this to him. He was a good man. A God fearing man. A normal, everyday person who kept to himself and didn't make waves. And, although he had all that going for him, although he didn't deserve it, he was still handpicked by God to be tested like no man had ever been tested before.

Oh My God, he was tested. 

God loves us, but to teach us to trust Him, He gives us challenges to overcome.

Do you feel like you're being tested?

I have a theory. I truly believe Job and I were separated at birth.

Let me explain.... Did you ever do math word puzzles as a child? Do you remember one that went something like this? Jane and John are twins. Jane was born in 1970 and John was born in 1969. Explain how this could happen if they were born only six minutes apart. Of course the answer is that Jane was born on January 1, 1970, at three minutes after midnight, and John was born on December 31, 1969 at three minutes before midnight. Easy, right?

I'll discuss more in Part 3 about Job.