Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jesus First/Faith Not Fiction

He is a good and gracious God!! My new line of thinking is to put Jesus first in all things. I realized that, well for one, I wear the weight of the world, if nothing else, at least my own family, across my narrowing shoulders. I run the roost, run the show and if it was said that I've been guilty of "micro-managing" I could not deny it.

The older I get the more I realize that I do not know it all, as I so fondly thought. Far be it from me to NOT admit this but just when I thought I'd seen it all, knew it all, it was proven time and again that in fact, I did not and had not. Personal growth, I suppose.

Possibly the most wonderful thing I have learned and it's a fresh way of thinking is to place "Jesus First" in all things.I do believe the second greatest thing I have learned is to really apply the "Let go and let God" principle.

For me, this Jesus First application/mindset is huge. Because I am of the management mentality, I am used to being the consummate problem solver, the go-to gal. I might even appear as if I have my act together. In fact, I don't, never have and probably never will. That doesn't stop people, family and so forth from coming to me for help, guidance and to solve the would be riddle of the day.

The chief ingredient here is the wholehearted acknowledgment that I can not fix it all, "I need help." I have been guilty of worrying myself sick and when it comes right down to it, it's just a big deal to me to realize that I need only to go straight to the top with anything and everything in my life.

Faith Not Fiction

I am grateful, in the Autumn of my life to have finally come to the realization that I have the one true God, my own personal Physician and Counselor, just a call away. What I mean is, yes, we all know that we should pray and go to the Father. But the difference is the application of doing this for all things, no matter how large, no matter how minute or even what appears to be petty.

It is faith and not fiction that I may go to Jesus first and ask for wisdom, guidance and direction. I've known all this for years but I never applied it. I worried and struggled...needlessly.

Almighty Father, you are so wonderful and I thank you for answering my prayers. You know my heart. It was once black and hardened, necrotic and actually egotistical. You forgave me and allowed me to heal what was important and grow from those circumstances. I praise You for this and I ask for your continued blessings. I ask for your continued guidance and the wisdom to lead this family. Allow me the time, Dear Lord, to do the right thing. Allow me the time to right some of this wrong.

I seek Your face, I seek to walk in Your light. I seek the answers, the wisdom, the know how to lead this family. I seek Your favor. I pray for these continued blessings for my children and grandchildren. I am so pleased that you have chosen to bless me with these wonderful grandkids. I am even more pleased that even though two of my grandkids have Cystic Fibrosis, You, my Sweet Sweet Jesus, allow them to enjoy their health. I can not put into words how wonderful this is and I thank You and praise Your holy Name. Amen!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

God First

I can relate to a child not wanting to do their homework, schoolwork and so on. I often act like that child who would rather play than work when it comes to reading scripture and even my time devoted to prayer. I stand, an ex-con, convicted, guilty as charged.

I can remember that I would have terrible nightmares during my first year in Prison. They were bad enough I found myself seeking the counsel of the Prison Chaplain, Dixie Welker.

Pastor Dixie is/was an extremely devoted spirit, a woman who dealt with all kinds of adversity, all sorts of evil, a mass culmination of mixed up, societal
throwaways; Inmates at the State Correctional Facility at Cambridge Springs, Pa.

She could be blunt, cutting to the chase on more than one occasion where Street wise met Spiritual wise in a head-on collision. She firmly dealt with unfavorable behavior i.e., women coming to church service in order to meet up with their lesbian lovers and mess around. It was a rather distasteful display and she let 'em know it.

Pastor Welker was a spit-fire not to be confused with fire and brimstone philosophy but one of the best examples of Christian love and values I have yet to meet. After all, it can not be easy, I'm quite sure, to find love in your heart for a woman, in example that killed their child or maybe allowed their daughter to be raped and molested for a few measly crack rocks.
It's insidious but true and some of the things I'd heard, some of the heinous most nocuous stories, tales of true crime, well, I even found myself sitting in judgment.

I had to remind myself that this was a position where I had no business being.
If nothing else this was all a lesson in redemption. To look into the eyes of a fellow inmate who'd done something so villainous, especially to a child and see them through God's eyes was, for me, a challenge at best. But they sat next to me in Church, I assume for the very same reason as I was there; In search of redemption, forgiveness, fellowship and the Word. I had to remind myself of this as well as the very passage "Judge lest ye be judged."

Pastor Dixie was also a woman who taught us that we must forgive ourselves by going to The Father in true repentance and then believing that we were, in fact forgiven.
That teaching premise has been the source of strength and reminder as I struggle with my addiction, sins, crimes and remembering that I am forgiven.

Satan loves to convict me over and over again for the same crime. What I mean is that I will often times remember something just awful that I have done, possibly something I've asked forgiveness for already in the past. I will find myself praying for forgiveness, feeling guilt and shame, angry with myself for my past behaviors. And I now know that it is Satan that does his best to make me feel like I do when reminded of my past transgressions, of which there are many.

It is Pastor Dixie's words, though, true Christian words from and of the Word which have been something I've had to remind myself of. Yes, I struggle on the daily, even today. I suppose it's a question of faith, a belief that I am forgiven. I have to reiterate this to myself constantly.
The Chaplain had also counseled me, as I stated, concerning these nightmares. They were bad and I would wake in a cold sweat.

Quite often these dreams were of a violent nature. Sometimes it was me
being hurt or chased or it was me doing and inflicting the pain upon others. At the start of my sentence, I began treatment for Hep C.

They put me on Interferon and Ribiviron, drugs which left me so sick I could hardly walk. I lost more than half of my thick brown/black hair which turned a rusty red.

Per usual, they have you see the Psychiatrist because apparently this particular medication causes one to feel suicidal. I on the other hand felt more homicidal than suicidal citing the lack of civilized behavior from my fellow inmates. But I did discuss my nightmares and the Psych doctor had no rhyme or remedy. She simply pointed out that because of my anger as well as my diagnosis of P.T.S.D., coupled with the fact that I was actually completely sober for the first time in years, my brain was over active and over stimulated.

She did place me on more psych meds, I was a walking zombie already because of them.
Getting no where fast, it was then that I spoke to Pastor Dixie about my dilemma concerning these horrid dreams.

It was then, that I learned the very first example of why I should put God first. After all, He is the Great Physician. As she held my hand, she looked me in the eye and spoke my Rx for this dilemma, "Every night before you go to sleep, always read some scripture. Feed your soul."

I did and it worked. No more nightmares.
The quaint implication of the words, "God first," I have found to be paramount. I must admit those words two little words mean so much. I mean, I believe them to possibly be some of the most important words ever uttered.

I have come to realize that I must place God first in more things, in every aspect of my life. I must go to Him first on the grandest of scales as well as the smallest.

I found that when I prayed for safety in my job when ever I used the slicer or one of our professionally sharpened knives, I did not cut myself. Oddly enough, I was reminded a few times as I shaved a nail down, "Oops, forgot to pray," but I've yet to be cut when I prayed first...EVER!!!

Yes, God first in all things.

My Prayer...

Heavenly Father,

I ask for your forgiveness, you know my heart. I pray that you will guide my Doctor tomorrow to help me, to treat me and you will place it upon his heart and give him the wisdom and guidance to know what is right for me.

Allow him to see my pain and the truth in the matter.
I pray you will give me the words and wisdom as well to convey exactly what is going on, all that is wrong as I seek treatment.

I implore of You, my Lord, do not allow me to suffer any longer, please? It is getting harder and harder to press on especially when I have these things to worry about. Take my fear away and replace it with the confidence and knowledge that you are there with me, guiding my words, holding my hand.

I seek Your face Lord and I search for answers. I wish to walk in Your light. I know that you are my Lord, my Savior and Master, I shall not want. I need only to ask and place you first in all things.

I ask for your continued blessings for my family and am more than grateful for the continued health and welfare of my family. You have been so good to us and I am aware of this.

You have kept my kids and grandkids safe and healthy, which is such a gigantic blessing. You are truly an awesome God.

I pray for your favor for my sons so that they might be good men, good father's and lead by example to their own children. May they teach them "God first" in all things too.
I praise Your holy Name, sweet, sweet Jesus. Amen

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Questions & Prayer

Dear Friends,

If you happen to come across this blog, this post in particular, I ask for your prayers. I ask that you pray for me to find my way in this dark and vast wilderness that is my mind.

I don't know what it is but I am having an extremely hard time in prayer. As of late, when I read the Word, I hear cuss words in my head. I know who it is and I pray for deliverance from it. Much to my dismay, my prayers have yet to be answered, concerning this situation. It causes me, of course, to question myself, to question my very faith. Is it a weakness on my part because I can't or won't stop this absurd behavior?

What I am referring to is, for example, if I see the word, Jesus or anything of a religious aspect, my mind immediately throws out cuss words, in my head of course. Then, I spend the next few minutes in apology to my Lord and asking for forgiveness of this insidious behavior. Satan is certainly playing an extremely foul game with me. Because of this, I find myself feeling shameful, disgraced and fall further and further into despair...exactly what he wants.

Right here, right now, I pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that He might deliver me from the clutches of evil. I ask that He might take this affliction away and guide me to smoother thinking. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and forgives me and by putting this into words, I will draw strength from these words.

I recently wrote to a friend inquiring about my health. This sums up what is happening;

"I'm having a real problem w/my Doctors and my meds. I have this Dr. that has me on a very strong medication(MS Contin), one which he says he's not comfortable giving out but he has written 4 scripts for it. The meds do nothing for me except keep me from going through withdrawal. I sincerely hate this med and don't want to take it but I don't want to go through the sickness if I don't take it. He then said he wanted to transfer my case to a pain specialist. I waited for the referral, called and waited some more. He then wrote my script again. His nurse tells me she will call me with the referral and I wait again. I ask the nurse again, "Do I wait, will I get a call from you w/this referral?" She says I need to wait and I don't get the call, as promised and my meds will run out so I call again and his receptionist tells me, "Well, didn't the Doctor tell you that he didn't want to give you this medication and you'd have to go to a pain specialist?" Meaning they don't want to refill my script. First off, they make you feel like a junkie but I can not go to just any Doctor I want, I have to have a referral. Catch 22 and my meds will run out next weekend. The thought of going through withdrawal once again terrifies me..
This game is more than crazy. Last month, when I was moving, I took extra of my pills to combat the pain. I only get two pills a day and honest to God, they don't do diddly for me, never have other than I now am able to sleep more than I had before. They do not help with the pain, they just make me tired. But like a dummy, just trying to get relief from days of moving, using my arm like I shouldn't but had to, I took 10 extra pills which is actually 5 days of meds. See, a friend of my son, Lee, said he'd give me a bunch of pills he had leftover from surgery so I took extra of my pills. All of a sudden the guy tells me he can't give me the pills so I'm up the creek without a paddle.

Now, I did it to myself and I can't do anything about it. I went through withdrawal for a week and during that time had a heart attack. Well, I believe it was an attack as my heart felt seized up and I passed out. I came to about 15 minutes later and felt like someone kicked me in the chest. I really hate this and I seem to be in some purgatory/hell on earth.

So, there's the truth of the matter and it really sucks. I don't know what to do to get out of the situation either, ya know? I appreciate your concern even though I almost feel I don't deserve it. This situation is like, well, I feel all this guilt, feel like a junkie, mainly because that's how they make you feel. Yet, I tried to live w/this pain and couldn't. I have no cartilage left in my elbow, it's bone on bone. I had two ribs removed and four nerves moved. Something is going on and I'm in constant pain. As well, I have such nausea because of the pain and the pills themselves and often throw up the pills and have had to take more to compensate for the ones I just threw up.

I vomit all the time, usually from pain itself and have then had to take extra of my pills. I paint myself into a corner constantly. The guilt and shame associated with all this is enormous. The doctors create monsters with these meds and then want to play God and take it all away or they make you beg and plead. I have such psychological damage from just that alone, it's absolutely insane. It's an insidious situation.

I too have degenerative arthritis in my neck and back and my nerves are screwing up causing me pain everywhere. Not a day goes by that I don't have to literally push myself, kick my own butt to just function. Every thing I do, or you do for that matter requires that you use both hands, both arms. Well, my left arm is a constant grinding and if I have to lift anything, the bone just simply separate. You can not even fathom how much it hurts yet I must use it. Then because of over using my right arm to compensate for the left, the nerves are all messed up. So, I did what they told me to do and had two nerves moved. All it did was move the pain. It's crazy cause now I know that most of the pain is coming from my neck.

'Dying is easy, it's living that scares me to the point of insanity!'

You try to explain and there's just so much wrong, they just can't seem to grasp it all or they just don't give a crap. It's a truly sad commentary on the medical field, here in the States."

I pray that my Lord uses this situation for His glory. Please do not allow me to fall even further because of all this. I realize there is no cure for this situation and I must somehow endure. Give me the strength to get through each new day. Guide me with Your Word. Eliminate all this hateful and harmful thought patterns that I am plagued with.

I am really suffering, although I do realize it could be worse.

In this vein, I am truly grateful for the health of my children as well as my grandchildren. All through these years, you have spared me from the real pain of suffering in my children. I am more than thankful and praise Your holy Name. Amen