It Isn’t Just the Catholic Church
Hmmm. Do ALL lives really matter? Think about your answer before letting it leave your lips. Do you really believe that ALL lives matter? When all of the “________ lives matter” business started up, I immediately was on the “all lives matter” bandwagon. I didn’t give it a single thought. Until most recently, I still didn’t put too much thought into what I was believing or saying with hashtags or posts on Facebook.
I had to sit with myself and really think about if I believed what I was saying. At the time, I did believe that all lives do matter. I still believe that, but I had to understand that “all” really did mean all. First of all, what does the word “all” mean? Well, according to Merriam-Webster:
Simple Definition of all
: the whole, entire, total amount, quantity, or extent of
: every member or part of
: the whole number or sum of
Look at that “simple definition.” The whole….every member….whole number.” So, again, I ask you if ALL lives matter. As the conversation went on in my head, I started thinking about people like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz, and the others on this page. Manson, in my own opinion, is the epitome of evil. Did/does his life matter? Dahmer killed seventeen. Not only did he kill them, he did other horrible acts to them. Did/does his life matter? Berkowitz killed six leaving some others severely wounded. Again, did/does his life matter?
If I am going to spew those words that “all lives matter,” then I have to say that even those whom I see as Lucifer personified matter. The child molesters, rapists, murderers, and anyone who has ever harmed anyone else….their lives matter, too. It’s a difficult pill for me to swallow as I realize that if I say “all,” then “all” should be what I mean. Yes, when I made that realization, I shuddered. But, if I am going to live as a woman of my word, then I need to mean what I say and say what I mean. Is murder, child abuse, any abuse okay? Of course, it is not. I despise those acts. I am not okay with anything that purposely causes another pain. I do not have to like what other people do or say. Reading this, you may not like what I say. That’s okay. In fact, I hear things, read things, see people doing things all of the time that I do not like. That does not mean that those people do not matter. Their lives DO matter. Should they be held responsible for the things they do and say? Absolutely! Does that mean I get to treat them as “less than?” Absolutely not! I surely do not want to be the best friend to Charles Manson. While he has headed some of the most gruesome acts on earth, he still matters. His life still matters. I have to believe that if I am going to be on the “All Lives Matter” campaign.
I know some folks reading this will be disgusted, and some will call me a name like, “bleeding heart liberal.” Your opinion is your opinion, and I respect that. Please understand that I believe those who commit horrible crimes should be held accountable and do the time. We all should have to be held accountable and responsible for the crappy things we do and say to each other. That being said, we should also mind ourselves before coming down on others.
All lives DO matter.
How do we change a world where there is so much hate, discrimination, judgments, and hypocrites? We love people. We love ourselves enough to know that we are faulty individuals who have zero business judging other people. People say they are a loving people, yet put a picture of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Barrack Obama in front of them. My goodness, that loving person disappears. I have seen some of the most self-proclaimed “loving person” people say some of the most hateful things. Just because we have the right to free speech doesn’t mean we should always freely say some things.
If I am going to claim to love people, then I should love people. I should also show a great deal of discernment and be safe. I will fail at loving like I believe I should. My promise, though, is to try as hard as possible to love my neighbor as I love myself. I’ll let God deal with all the rest.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been willing/able/determined to write. However, something is coming up for me, and I feel so very blessed that I get the opportunity to be involved in it. I most recently heard from a gentleman who told me a story about his nephew. Now, this gentleman sent a message to me on Facebook a year ago, but it was hidden with many others. When I finally saw it, I replied immediately. I am so glad that I did. This post will include opportunity, obedience, gratefulness, and I get the privilege of sharing such an amazing story.
Once I replied to the gentleman’s message, he seemed so happy to hear from me. He wanted to tell me a story about his nephew who, two years ago, had been struggling with depression and did not feel like he wanted to live. These stories always break my heart. I know what it is like to not want to live regardless of all the really good people and things in life. Depression does that to a person. It sucks every good thing out and self-loathing and doubt ooze in like the hazard materials they are. This young man, who I will call “C,” was in my hometown one day, August 16th to be exact. He was attempting to get back home for an event in his hometown. He had been having thoughts of suicide. He had full intentions of making it a reality. Again, heart is always broken when I hear that. He saw a sign…a literal sign. That sign had three little words scribbled in permanent marker on it. I was holding that sign because I felt that it was important to be obedient to God’s will that was put on my heart just a few days before.
God woke me up on August 14th, 2014 and told me to go let people know that they matter. I had zero idea what that meant. But, I knew that it was important that I do what I was being so lovingly guided to do. What it boiled down to was my cousin and I making signs that had encouraging, loving messages on them. We stood on street corners in some of the busiest parts of town because that’s what I was told we should do. My cousin never questioned anything I told him, and he didn’t look at me like I had lost my mind. He knew that when I told him this was from and about God, it was just something that had to be done. So, it was done. It was done on a daily basis for a time. We never knew the impact those signs had until much later.
So, back to this young man. He saw my sign as he was headed out of town back to his home. When he got back home, he told people what had happened in seeing my sign and what he had been feeling. He shared that he was free from those horrible feelings. While his uncle had told me this over the phone, I had chills, and I had tears. I was so grateful that this young man was still alive. I was/am grateful that he listened to God tell him that he was important. That was the message I had on my sign, “You Are Important.” No, I am not calling myself God. But, that WAS God’s message. C got to share that message with a group of people when he got back home.
Tomorrow evening, April 27, 2016, I get the blessed opportunity to meet C, his uncle, and other family members. I cannot express the gratitude I feel regarding that. My heart is full and overflowing with God’s goodness.
None of that happened by chance. It was supposed to happen just when it did. I think about what would have been had I not been obedient to God’s will. That young man could be dead. Many others could be dead as well. I give all the glory to God. I never thought that I’d be anybody saving anybody’s life. That was just not my plan. It was God’s plan, however. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that I have lost my mind and there is no God. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I have never heard or felt God like that.” Maybe you’re in full belief of everything I am telling you. I don’t know. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that God would use me like He does. Who was I that He would choose me??
“Moses said to the Lord, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’
The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’ – Exodus 4:10-13
I was feeling like Moses. Who am I that He would call on me? God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. We, as the called, have to answer. If we let that call go to voice mail because we are “too busy” or “just being stubborn,” who dies? Who dies when we refuse to do a simple request from God? Maybe it’s us who die. Maybe it’s a teenage kid who has lost all hope. Maybe nobody dies, but maybe somebody misses out on a really good message because we are drowning in selfishness. We have to answer that call. HAVE TO. God directs my path even today regarding that sign. He has always told me where to stand and when. He directs the amount of time I stand on any given corner. I listen. I obey like I have never done in my entire life. I believe like I have never done in my life. I have faith like I have never had in my life. That sign didn’t just save C. It saved me as well on so many levels.
I can’t wait to meet these people and give them the biggest hugs ever. I know that God will be working in that meeting. He’s working now. He’ll be working when it’s over, and I am grateful. I am blessed, and I get the opportunity to share those given blessings with others! I am beyond fortunate. My heart continues to be full.
May God bless you today and always. Be blessed and be a blessing.
Before I start saying what I want to say, I want to share the information on this webpage. For most of my life, as long as I can remember really, I have had clinical depression. I also have generalized anxiety disorder. When I was first diagnosed with these things, I was devastated to say the least. My first thoughts were, “How weak do I have to be to not be able to handle my feelings? I must be a total loser to have to take medication to feel better! I must be crazy if I need therapy to deal with these things.” I was not/am not weak. I was not/am not a total loser. I was not/am not crazy, although others will find that humorously debatable.
I had the same stereotypical ideas about mental illness and those who were dealing with it as many people still do these days. Now, I was very young when I didn’t understand why I would cry “just because.” That understanding came much, much later, but it came. Let’s go back, though. Again, I didn’t understand the nonsensical crying and excessive worry. I got made fun of by people because I did cry a lot. For the record, that didn’t, and does not, help with the crying or the excessive worry. It did, however, increase both. “Why can’t I stop crying? Why do I have to worry so much? Why do I have these outbursts of anger at times?” I asked myself multiple times these exact questions. All through school and growing up, I was very emotional. For no rhyme or reason, I would just cry. I would be afraid of doing anything or going anywhere because I just knew something bad would happen. I had horrible mood swings that included depression, anger, and irritability.
I often isolated and began to feel overly needy. Man, I can’t express how unsafe and impractical that overly needy person became. I attached myself to people who were wholly injurious to my entire being. It took me until I was in my late 20s, and even a little longer, to realize that treacherous way of life. Don’t get me wrong, I had a few very good people in my life. But, my depression and anxiety pushed some of them away because I had not started seeking treatment or understanding my mental illnesses. I was about 27 years of age when I first sought treatment. I was placed on an antidepressant that had be bouncing off of the walls. Yeah, that wasn’t helpful. I was on approximately seven different medication combinations until I found the right one for me at the time. When I started taking medications and going to therapy, things started looking different even though things became very heavy, dark, and hard.
See, when I started working on myself in the correct ways, some days were very heavy, dark, and hard. That’s what happens, though. When I started being completely honest with myself about the things I had done to myself, the things that were done to me, and the things I had done to other people, I had to change. I wanted to change. When I knew differently and better, I started doing differently and better. Let me stop right here to say that those choices to do better have not stopped since they began when I was 27 years old. I slipped backward more times than I can even begin to count. I was angry with myself for not being healthy and content. I took stuff out on myself. But, with the combination of the correct medications and therapists, I am a healthier me than I was such a long time ago…and even not such a long time ago. While I do not push medications as a habit, it’s necessary to be emotionally stable to deal with life’s problems whether internal or external. It’s also necessary to acquire the tools needed to improve a state of mental health through therapy. Both medication and therapy will usually bring about the most desired results. One can be emotionally stable on the medications, but if there is no knowledge on how to use the most helpful tools to do better, improvement may not obtainable. Also, if all the psychological tools in the world are given and there is no mental, emotional stability to use them appropriately, difficulties can become more intense and arise more often.
I stated that I had some really very dark and heavy days when I started working on myself. I did, and that is the total truth. I also had some really good days where I was able to look at my stuff and sit with it instead of running away in shame or with guilt weighing me down like an old, wet wool blanket. I have the very darkest of days, and I have had the very brightest of days. I have also had every other kind of days in between. I am no longer ashamed or feel guilty of my depression and anxiety. I deal with them both in the correct ways. I never thought that I would see the light of day when I first began working on them. I found myself during my darkest times expecting things from people that they just could not give me. I wanted them to make me better, and that is comprehensively unfair and impossible. I wanted all of their attention and time. Again, that is so unfair and impossible. I often found myself wondering if these people really liked me or loved me as they had said they did. Because, “If they really loved me, they’d pay attention to me all of the time and give me exactly what I wanted.” Boy, I was in the needy category so deep I needed a flashlight just to see anything. It was not pretty. I did, said, and felt those things because I was so outrageously broken, and I did not know how to be mended. Part of me really never wanted to be mended because if I was going to be all better, who would love me and talk to me? It’s a nasty, vicious side effect for some people with mental illnesses. The older I get, and the more I continue to work on me, I realize that people will like me, love me, want to talk to me because of who I am and nothing else. And, whether they do want to do any of those things is truly up to them. I can just be who I am, and others will want to be a part of that or not. I cannot control who chooses to come in or walk out of my life. I can choose to love them, and me, while they are there, though. I have played the relationship games, and I was never so miserable. Even though I still have depression and generalized anxiety, I now understand that the games are no longer necessary for me to be safe or survive. The fear of people leaving me is lessened every day because I understand I can do nothing about it if they choose this. However, because I have chosen to do whatever needs to be done to take care of my mental health, people are choosing to stay because my focus is not, “Pay attention to me!” It’s on, “I love that you are in my life, and I will honor and take care of our relationship the best way I can.” This all came about because I chose to stop being a victim of mental illness. I chose to stand up for myself and start making better decisions. I work on this every day of my life and will until the day I die. Will I slip up? Yes. Will I get right back up and get to work again? Yes. It’s painful at times, but it is so very worth it.
Please, if you are reading this and have a mental illness that you haven’t started working on yet or admitted to yet, start today. There are people who are willing to help you and do so without judgment. If you are lying to yourself about having a mental illness, you will be stuck right where you are until you choose differently. Choose differently. Choose today. I promise you that it is worth it on so many different levels.
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Ok, so I was on a particular social network just a bit ago listening to this guy speak. LOVED what I heard! Seriously, what a great story teller this guy is. Anywho, he mistakenly saw a profile picture as a woman in a dress. The icons are really small, so it was hard to tell in all honesty. I thought it was a woman in a big skirt, also. The person who has that picture told him, “It’s Jesus, man.” The guy speaking looked closer, and he stated, “Oh, it is Jesus!” This one phrase made me decide to write this. Why? Because. Because how many times do we see something, or someone, and not realize that it really is Jesus, so to speak? A blessing.
I’m not talking about seeing some complete stereotype of what Jesus looks like. I’m talking about the “smaller” things or events that we see on a daily basis. I am talking about the sun. The breeze blowing across your skin. The delicious taste of that first cup of coffee or that tiny morsel of your favorite food. The wispy clouds floating past the moon on any given night. The person who may seem totally insignificant in your life until by some unexpected occurrence they aren’t.
We often take these things and people for granted for one reason or another. We live in a busy world where we feel the need to hurry and get as much as done in the fastest amount of time possible. Why? What is so important that we forget to notice the little things we have been graciously given? I am reading a book, and have been for a while because I have a hard time with comprehension sometimes, that has kicked me right in the rear. The last chapter I read has really done me in. It’s a good “done me in” thing, though. The whole thing is about being able to practice thanksgiving and just living in the “where you are now” time and place. I know that I had forgotten, or perhaps had never really know, how to do that. I do my best on a daily basis to pay closer attention, though. I fail a lot of the time. I am okay with that and know that it is up to me to make it better. I have to work harder at it. I’m not against hard work and think that I perform better when the work is harder.
I think seeing Jesus, or blessings, or the opportunity to give thanks in everything could scare some folks. Some folks are just so comfortable in living in the complaint department of life. I’ve visited that department myself. Complaining about not enough time to get this or that done when I’m just sitting around complaining about it. Complaining about the amount of my health insurance deductible when there are others who are absolutely unable to get health insurance. Complaining about my cluttered house when there are those who have no home to complain about. Ugh…yes, I do this. It’s gross. Vile, even. What would my life be like if I solely focused on just being thankful? I think it would allow me to be more giving. It would allow me to be more loving and kind. It would definitely allow for me to be more grateful and less judgmental. I am struggling to see the downside to this thanksgiving stuff.
Being able to hear a crying child can get irritating. Seeing laundry that needs to be folded and put away is frustrating. Having to put air in my tire because it went completely flat had me feeling dread. But the gifts and provision by only Jesus are there. I can hear! I can see! I have transportation! Who am I to complain about things I have been blessed with? What the heck?! It’s mind-boggling if you really think about it. Why do we complain so much? Why are we so focused on seeing a lady in a dress or big skirt when really it IS Jesus? What is it going to take to get us to slow down, breathe, focus on what we really do have? Hm?
I have gotten a lot better about being thankful, but I can hardly stand myself at other times when I have allowed my humanness to take over. It takes work, and I know that it is absolutely worth it to be grateful for every little thing. It lifts a burden. We are prisoners of ourselves, and we are freed from that when we practice thanksgiving. Don’t you want to be free? If so, what are you willing to sacrifice to make that freedom happen? Pride? Fear? Selfishness? Lay them down. Slow down, take a step back, and just breathe. Look for Jesus in the picture.
Nothing. My grown children owe me nothing. Yep, that’s right.
As a parent, I have always tried my best to do what is right for my children. Now, my best wasn’t always the best. I failed so many times I cannot even count. What I did do right was to teach my children to be independent, self-sufficient, responsible human beings.
Where I have failed when they were smaller, I hope to correct as they continue to grow in their own skins. I hope to be a spiritual example for them. I was NOT that when they were growing up. I did teach them about God, and I do not regret that. However, I didn’t take them to church after being severely hurt by a preacher’s wife. I allowed that woman to ruin my church experience, and I refused to take my children. That is just sad for me. My youngest would always say she wanted to go, and I would refuse to take her because of my hurt. Selfishness at its finest. Ugh. I cannot apologize for that enough.
But my kids owe me nothing so that I can feel better about myself. That’s just gross. I want them to be spiritually strong. I want them to be married to strong, Christian men. Someone who will love them as God loves the church. They don’t owe that to me, but I hope they feel that they owe that to themselves. They owe that to God.
What do I owe my children? I owe them guidance when they ask for it. Let me repeat that, WHEN THEY ASK FOR IT. I owe them unconditional love. To be there for them. Always.
What do I not owe them? I do not owe them a rescue every time they get themselves in a bind. I do not owe them agreement when I disagree. I do not owe them a blind eye when I see trouble. If they choose that trouble, I owe them to get out of it by themselves. I do not owe them an enabling parent.
My grown children do not owe me a phone call. They do not owe me a hug and/or a kiss. They do not owe me attention. They do not owe me company. They love me because they want to not because I think they should. They owe me nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
I love my grown children. I love that they are grown and independent and strong (My momness kinda hates that though). I also love that they don’t feel like they owe me anything. At least, I don’t think they believe they owe me. I would hope that they do not.
I love my children.
So, I woke this morning feeling very teary due to a nightmare I had. In my nightmare, I was at work (which didn’t really look like my work) when I began to hear panic ringing through every hallway. I begin to go and find out what is happening, and I am informed that there are people in the building with guns and knives. I hear the gunshots blasting and people screaming. My anxiety level rises, but I stay calm.
Now, in my nightmare, I am visiting with my youngest daughter. She had come to visit with me, but she didn’t look like she was twenty-one years old. She looked like a little girl. When I started hearing the commotion in the hospital, I pulled my daughter down to the ground and had her lie flat to protect her. I looked up and there were police officers firing off rounds in the direction of those trying to harm others. My daughter started trying to get away by pulling herself, as she was still face down on the floor, down the hallway. As she is halfway down the hall, two individuals with guns come out in the direction she was heading. I was so afraid, so I grabbed a handgun, and I pointed it out toward the two individuals dressed all in black with blank expressions. I squeezed the trigger. Everything was in slow motion at this point. I could see the bullet leaving the chamber, through the barrel, and down to hallway. My daughter looked back at me, and she just smiled like everything was ok. I could still see the bullet traveling in slow motion, and it was headed right between the eyes of the male standing at the end of the hall. I was so happy! I was saving my daughter! Then it happened. The bullet drops right out of the air and into the back of my daughter’s left leg. Right above the bend of the knee, the bullet entered. I could see the entry wound. The individuals at the end of the hallway smiled big. I was devastated. The only thing I wanted to do was protect my daughter, and I ended up wounding her. Oy!
The scene changed, but I had gotten my daughter out of the hallway. Some time had obviously passed, and it looked like a scene from some school shooting. Parents were outside of the hospital crying and in shock. Then it happened, again. Alarms started going off because another person was in the hospital attempting to harm people. I told my daughter to just run to the restaurant that was a small distance away. I wanted to keep her safe. She ran to the restaurant and stayed there while I dealt with the danger.
I woke up soon after this.
As I sat on the side of my bed, I thought about the nightmare. I usually try to find some reason or lesson in what I had dreams or nightmares about. I thought, “Ok, what does this mean to you in real life time?” Well, I thought about it, and I came to the conclusion that sometimes when we want to protect our kids so much, we can be the ones who end up hurting them the most.
I don’t ever want to hurt my daughters. I can only protect them by praying for them and talking to them about the dangers in any situations. I, also, have to understand that human beings must learn by doing. We have all had people tell us why we shouldn’t do this or that, but we have done things that we probably should not have done anyway. We had to find out the hard way. As a loving mother, I want to try to shelter my kids from finding out things the hard way. They have to, though. There is a lesson to be learned in every single thing that we do. I have to let my kids learn their lessons. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I love them with my entire being. I just have to understand that me trying to be protective, or overprotective, can sometimes do more harm than good.
I want my kids to listen to God. To trust God. To do what is right by God.
Sigh…….I want to listen to God. To trust God. To do what is right by God. I have to trust that God will take care of my daughters at every turn. I don’t get to pick and choose when I trust Him. I have to ALWAYS trust Him. It’s a difficult task when it comes to my kids. But, if I believe in God’s word, love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, then I have to believe that He will take care of them in every situation where I feel afraid. I have to.
I. HAVE. TO.
I have been criticized for dressing too casually for church at times in my life. I have been told that “ladies of the church think you’re a lesbian because you wear jeans, don’t wear makeup, don’t do your hair.” That was told to me by a pastor’s wife. Yeah, I know. I was driven away from church at that point. I didn’t want anymore to do with it. Was I the most Godly person at that time? No. Did that mean I was a lesbian? No. It’s a hurtful time when those who, I guess, are supposed to nurture your growth and relationship with God are the ones judging and damaging. I still wear jeans and t-shirts to church. I do not curl my hair. I do not wear makeup. I am a more Godly person than I was. I am still not a lesbian.
Does Godly look like a three-piece suit designed by Ralph Lauren? Does it look like a $500 haircut? Does it look like A. Testoni shoes? Does it look like a Vera Wang dress? Does it look like a nicely done up-do by a premier hair stylists? Does it look like a $3000 pair of Jimmy Choo shoes?
I don’t think it means any of those things just as much as being ungodly doesn’t look like jeans, t-shirt, Nike sneakers, and a baseball cap. There is no specific look for a Godly person. A Godly person could be the homeless person you passed right by and yelled at. A Godly person could be the CEO of a business. A Godly person could be any one of us in between there. Godly is not a look. It is a behavior. It is a relationship with God. It is doing what is good and right. It is about loving and giving. It is about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
That’s my take on it, anyway.
The next time you decide to judge someone’s Godliness based on their clothing, hair, or makeup, you might want to see what you are really wearing beforehand.
P.S. I’ve never seen Jesus in anything Gucci.
Have you ever woken up and thought, “Dang! My breath could peel paint off the wall!” Ok, maybe not those exact words, but I’m guessing some of you reading this has had that “uh oh” moment when you just hoped you didn’t have to speak to anyone in that time period. Rushing to the bathroom, brushing and gargling, flossing, and whatever else can take place so that our breath doesn’t knock someone over and take the hair off his/her head. Colgate Total had sales at $175,000,000 in 2014. Now, that’s a lot of funky breath and yucky teeth to be taken care of.
I wonder, however…
Why are we not so aware of the other funk that comes out of our mouths? Lies, assumptions, abuse, hate, prejudice. It costs absolutely nothing to clean our mouths from the sludgy disdain that leaks from them at the drop of a hat. We make things up about people. We tell others what we assume others mean or think. We harm others with our words as if we were getting paid to do so. We call other people names, degrade them, put fear in them by sentences that do more harm than the other bacteria throwing a party in our mouths. Why are we not more careful about that? We could buy every tube of toothpaste known to man, , brush three times a day, and the funk in our mouths could still be there.
It doesn’t take a lot to cleanup our language, change how we speak to, and about, others, ask for forgiveness, and apologize. Allowing those words constantly will cause such a cavity that no filling could ever fix. We are fortunate that our languages allow for more than harmful words at every turn.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
What would it cost to speak favorably about others…ESPECIALLY when we want to be a fire-breathing dragon? It would cost nothing. Absolutely nothing. Let the words that fall from our mouths be uplifting and life-changing instead of things that could literally kill someone.