DANCING WITH THE DEVIL … AND PRAYER

This post is dark … again. I tell you in advance as you may be so sick of hearing of my negativity that you wonder when there will be a respite from this torture and whether any experience of positivity is going to return? I wish I could let you into my world where I have secrets so deep, you couldn’t dig them out from the depths of hell. My shame has no end – I know that I’m dancing with the devil and now I have engaged in this dance, I can no longer pick the tune. I feel that I will spend the rest of my days terrifyingly and extremely reluctantly tied to this dance partner.

I listened to a sermon at church today (a place that I have no right to be as the bearer of my sins). It was about God loving each one of us despite what we have done. The first step would be to turn away from my sins which are, admittedly, not entirely of my own making, but they are now so great and I have sunk so low that I am too far down under the ocean to see any way back up to the surface.

I prayed so hard for God to show me a way out of the unfathomable mess I’m in, but there were no answers other than my knowing I will either spend my eternal days in hell if my sin remains only in my conscience or the alternative is for my sin to be exposed and I then spend my living days in damnation with my entire world having fallen apart around my ears until I die. And on that day, my feet will know no other way to tread than in the devil’s footsteps.

Dancing with the devil 2

“Father God, I praise You with all that I have and all that I am, deficient and insufficient though that might be. Forgive me, I beg, for my dreadful sin and please, Lord, free me from the captivity of the enabler and partner in crime who lives so closely alongside me emotionally yet they are not here in my existence now and I know that You already know this fact and were fully aware of this before I even put my pen to this paper.

I thank You for all the good that You have given me throughout my life. There have been many difficult and painful experiences along the way as there are in many people’s lives but I feel that, on the whole, I have learned from these and grown although evidently, not enough to right the wrong that I am doing currently and have been for some years.

My Father in Heaven, I plead with You to show me how to help myself to get out of this mess that I am in and in turn to become purer in thought and deed. I ask all this with all of my heart and everything I have in my soul, in Your Precious Name. Amen”

FORGIVENESS – MY FATHER

Please watch this video before continuing to read (thank you):

This is a subject that includes something I haven’t talked about here for a long time now and I don’t intend to go into the details or drama of it all other than to say that, as some of you may know, my father for sexually and emotionally abused me throughout my whole childhood.  

This isn’t about anger or hatred or resentment (although it would have been a couple of years ago). It’s not a ‘poor me’ plea for sympathy either.’ far from it.

My father died a couple of years ago. I was in a dilemma – did I forgive him before he died or not? As a Christian I knew that was the right thing to do…..but I didn’t feel it in my heart in those days leading up to his death. However, I spoke at length to my Christian sister (who was not abused) and we prayed together intensely and I prayed continually, alone.

I’d held on to the anger, the hate, the pain, the shame, the bitterness and more for all of my adult life. I can honestly say it nearly killed me as I made several suicide attempts over that period of time. I thank God now that I wasn’t successful. My life isn’t all roses, far from it (as goes for the majority of the population). I have my fair share of problems, worries, bad memories, nightmares, illnesses etc, etc but I don’t feel sorry for myself (I used to) – not one bit – in fact I feel blessed to have this life despite all its difficulties. I have also had a fair amount of therapy, some very bad but now with a new therapist who is good. All of this has helped.

Back to forgiveness and this video which really touched me, bringing back memories of those days that I tortured myself trying to decide whether I could in fact forgive such a crime. But gradually it all made sense. God gave me the answers at the right time, in His timing and at the right place. I remember it very well. In the last days of my father’s life, I decided to travel the 50 miles I needed to go to be able to see him in the middle of the night as we’d been told he didn’t have much longer to live. I went to say goodbye. I was frightened at the time, of what feelings seeing him would bring up after all these years. As I reached his bedside and saw this frail, elderly, white haired man with a mask strapped to his face; as I watched his stats on the monitor rise slightly, then dip, then rise again then dip further and gradually further, I knew in my heart what to do. I’d allowed God to lead me His way, not mine.

I sat at the father’s bedside. He was unable to speak because of the oxygen being pumped into his lungs but I gently took his hand (the same hand that inflicted the pain but it didn’t matter then) but all I felt was love and compassion and great sadness for my father’s struggling and obvious discomfort although he was on constant intravenous powerful pain medication. I spoke softly to him although he wasn’t able to reply. I wanted to forgive him; I genuinely and with all my heart wanted to forgive him. I stood up, still gently holding his hand and leaned forward. I leant down and whispered in his ear, “It’s alright now, dad; I forgive you; I love you” and I gently kissed him on the forehead, and I meant it. I genuinely and wholeheartedly meant every word and action. He pulled the life-preserving mask from his face, smiled just a little and opened his eyes just a fraction and for only a moment. He was my dad and I didn’t hate him anymore. Moments later, I watched him slip away peacefully. I wept both with grief and also relief. I prayed that the Lord would take care of him and give him peace. What I didn’t expect was to feel like someone had just lifted a ton weight of books off my back. I realized that in forgiving my father, I’d also forgiven myself and as the video shows, it has been so healing, so freeing – I didn’t expect to feel this but I still do and although I get my bad days (and a fair share of them) and although I have lifelong mental health conditions, I am alive, I am here, I am relieved of my emotional pain that resulted from the terrible abuse, I am free from that. I am forgiven too. Forgiveness starts on the inside. I’ve learned that now. Christ died on the cross so that we, each one, will be forgiven for all our sins. I am God’s child and I am forever grateful and prayerful about that. We are all God’s children. Praise God. God bless you for reading this x

THE DREADED ‘C’ WORD

cancer ribbon

The ‘C’ word crept in to our lives insidiously,
first daring to show its face ten odd years ago.
Since buried in hushed tones,
tucked into the silent crevices of our minds

How dare it trespass,
after all this time of quiet repose
now crawling out of the woodwork
exposing itself in all its naked glory

I have spoken of it quite recently
in company although anonymously.
Expecting support and understanding
but only to be greeted with a tick in a box.

With a ‘not on my doorstep’ approach,
most surprisingly in the current climate
where it stalks its prey with no fear or shame
trampling lives into the ground.

The ‘dreaded ‘C’ word’ – CANCER – My Mum has just this week been diagnosed with Myeloma (bone marrow cancer) which in her case is untreatable and incurable (along with Stage 3 kidney failure – stage 5 is ‘end stage’). How on Earth do you come to terms with the fact that your Mum’s death is likely to be earlier than it should/inevitable? I’m trying to support my Mum as best I can. I am researching both conditions and I am trying to appropriate support for her in the community, as left to the NHS, these things don’t get put into place until it’s perhaps too late.

I am, of course, devastated at the prospect of losing my Mum who I have always had a very special relationship. However, I am more concerned about her feelings, her anger, her fear etc than I am about my own feelings. I can’t be there for her physically, firstly because we live too far apart, and secondly, because I have severe disability and cannot even access my Mum’s house. All this leaves me feeling so helpless and angry. But, anger isn’t going to solve anything. Nevertheless, we are entitled to be raging of course!

My dear Mum is so frightened of the prospect of her life coming to an end when she is still active and very definitely is in control of her own mind. But, I love her so much, I would willingly trade places with her without any hesitation! Why? How can I feel this way? Because I have my faith and that is something Mum has not an ounce of, being a staunch atheist. She’s 86 and very set in her ways and most unlikely (I would bet never) to believe in a life with God after death. If only I could take her fear on my back and replace it with a faith that it’s all going to be alright but sadly, I can’t.

Silently, in the midst of all the pain, I pray for a miracle. I am fallible, I am weak, I am not in control. I do all that I can and that, I have to accept.

CHURCH V CHURCH (THE GUILT COMPLEX)

church 2

As some of you my be aware, I have not felt entirely happy at my church for some time now. The church building and interior are ‘plush’ and the ‘Meeting Place’, where we have our services is just beautiful. We have a large and comfortable reception area, several conference rooms for meetings, a church office, a café and more. Most of the people who attend are reasonably friendly and usually say or nod a passing hello in my direction as I come in with my powered wheelchair. I am friendly, chatty (given the chance) and really enjoy the singing praise although the sermon seems to be lacking conviction, somewhat, just lately. We are a large church of about 400 members of which roughly half turn up for the main service and quite a few of them migrate to the café for tea or coffee and ‘chat’ afterwards.

People, in general, tend to gather in clusters when having a conversation or chat. When I was in my old manual wheelchair, I appreciated that if someone wanted to chat to me, they had to lean or crouch down to my level which wasn’t always, perhaps, comfortable, convenient or desirable. But now I am in my powered wheelchair, I am higher up so more on everybody else’s level. But still, they gather in their clusters and I am not included which I don’t, for a start, think is a very Christian thing to do. What happened to caring for one another? As it says in Hebrews 10.24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

I have been happy there in the past, when I was baptized and became a member back in 2008 and there have been many good experiences along the way, both social and spiritual, before I became so disabled. I am still a normal Christian with normal feelings…I don’t have green ears and a purple tail (at least, not last time I looked)!

Bible-And-Cross-Pic

So….. the long and the short of it that I think I have found myself a different church where I seem to be much more accepted, included and welcomed. It’s not a ‘smart, plush’ church. It’s held in a Community Hall with basic surroundings and is used for other activities, like ‘Kids’ Club’ in the week. The sermons are much more sincere without being solemn. The congregation and Pastors are much more casual though expressive and demonstrative and I like having the feeling of being able to express myself freely to praise God in the way that I want to. The Pastors wear casual clothes (as opposed to suits and ties), as do the congregation and I think more or less anything goes.The people are friendly and approach and treat me as a ‘normal‘ person.

When it boils down to it, it is not the surroundings, the building or the clothes that maketh a church or a Christian, but the heart and soul of the people gathered together within it, and I think that I have now found a place where I belong. So what is the guilt about?

The guilt complex is that I feel very disloyal to my first church by breaking away and going elsewhere to worship. Should it be like that? Is it wrong and disloyal? Does it matter where I worship? After all, there is only one God and He lives within us (if you have religious faith of any denomination). He is within our hearts. Will God really mind where I choose to worship? I think not. However, the feelings of guilt won’t go away. I’m going to talk to my current Minister next week and I am hoping we can part with good feeling and no blame.

Finally, to quote Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I have faith that He will lead me in the right direction…down the right path.