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My Great Fortune

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.

 

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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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If You Really Knew Me

MTV used to have a series on called, “If You Really Knew Me.”  I never watched it and didn’t cry.  As Wikipedia describes it, “If You Really Knew Me is an American reality television series which aired on MTV that focuses on youth subculture and different cliques in high schools. Students from each clique participate in Challenge Day,[1] which is a program designed to break down stereotypes and unite students in schools. At Challenge Day, students from all walks of life gather together in one room. Then each student is assigned to a group where they must reveal something personal about themselves. It’s at this point where each student begins their dialogue with the words “If you really knew me…” The goal of Challenge Day is to demonstrate to students the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression.”

It only aired for one season before MTV decided it wasn’t good enough to continue airing.  (Biggest eye roll ever!)  As a therapist, I use it now as part of my processing groups where I work.  It is mostly successful.  There are some who just completely refuse to participate.  There are some who cannot wait until it is their turn to speak.  I do not make anyone do anything they feel unsafe doing.  I do, however, strongly encourage everyone to participate.  I do this with adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults, and senior citizens.  Someone is always moved to tears.  Sometimes, that someone is me.  I know that each of us show the world exactly what we want the world to see.  It’s a protection against hate, judgment, embarrassment, shame, guilt, and fear.  I give strict instructions that there will be no disrespect, nor will there be any judgments passed on anyone who chooses to speak.  Anyone who feels they cannot follow those rules is given permission to leave before the activity starts.  No one has ever left.  I believe this activity gives individuals permission to be honest with others.  I think more importantly, it gives them a chance to be honest with themselves.  That’s when healing can begin.  If you, to yourself, began a sentence with, “If you really knew me….,” how would it end?  How would you fill in those blanks?  Now, I’m not asking you to share that with the world, but I do challenge you to bring that in to your conscious mind.  We all have a dark, ugly, sludge-filled place within us.  Some are just more willing to share that than others.  There is nothing wrong with it.  There is nothing right with it.  It just is.  Without further ado, I will take my turn.

If you really knew me, you’d know that I love sports.  I love the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Lakers, and the New York Rangers.  If you really knew me, you would know that I love soccer.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I played soccer for three years in high school, and I was co-MVP with two of my good friends.  If you really knew me, you’d know I played goalie.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I was a very big tomboy.  I liked to climb trees, play football in the street, and play baseball in an empty field.  I also did those things with all boys because I was pretty much the only girl on my block my age.  If you really knew me, you’d know my favorite color is black.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I love scary movies, but I also love sappy movies just as much.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m a 1980’s fanatic!  The music, the movies, the television shows.  They were all pretty great.  Cheesy…but great.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I was sexually abused at a very early age.  If you really knew me, you’d know that physical and verbal abuse was also involved.  If you really knew me, you’d know I was considered either a slut or a lesbian in high school.  I was neither, by the way.  If you really knew me, you’d know I was a very angry person for a very long time.  I would want to fight someone just because they blinked in my direction.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I have had depression and anxiety my entire life.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I also struggle intensely with body image.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I sometimes binge eat.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I deal with chronic pain every single day of my life.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I wasn’t always a believer of God.  If you really knew me, you’d know that there are only three men in my entire life who never hurt me.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I have self-medicated.  If you really knew me, you’d know that sometimes I eat my emotions.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I was not always a good mom.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I have apologized for that and asked forgiveness.  If you really knew me, you’d know that when I love, I do it with all my heart and soul.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I am so in love with my kids, husband, son-in-law, and grandkids.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I believe there is only one God.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m pretty much in love with Him, too.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I work very hard to be a good friend.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I would never hurt someone on purpose.  If you really knew me, you’d know I would have never shared any of this with the world just a few years ago.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I am a happily married woman of twenty-two years.  If you really knew me, you’d know that water calms my soul.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I love hugs.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I believe that you are important and nothing, nor anybody, can make your level of importance any less or any more.  You are important because you breathe, because you were placed on this earth to exist.  If you really knew me.

Well, there you go.  Now, you really know me.  You are free to do what you will with that information.  I couldn’t stop you even if I wanted to.  What you should know, though, is that I share those things to let others know that they are not alone.  That someone cares.  That someone is here.

I hope that if you are still reading this that this blog post has challenged you to start healing from whatever pain you suffer with.  I hope you know that things can, and do, get better.  I hope you know that I love you in the purest way possible.  May God bless you with an abundance of grace and mercy.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

P.S. GO COWBOYS! DC4L!  🙂

Click here for help regarding suicidal feelings.

Click here for help in dealing with sexual abuse.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Craving, Desiring, Coveting…

The title of this blog post has three words, and they all mean the same thing.  

For instance:

crave kreɪv(v.)craved, crav•ing.

  1. (v.t.)to long for; desire eagerly.

  2. to require; need:

    a problem craving your prompt attention.

  3. to ask earnestly for.

  4. (v.i.)to beg or plead (usu. fol. by for).

de•sire*dɪˈzaɪər(v.; n.)-sired, -sir•ing

  1. (v.t.)to wish or long for; crave; want.

  2. to ask for; solicit; request:

    The mayor desires your presence at the meeting.

  3. (n.)a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction; hunger.

  4. an expressed wish; request.

  5. something desired.

  6. sexual appetite or a sexual urge.

cov•etˈkʌv ɪt(v.t.)

  1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others:

    to covet another’s property.

  2. to wish for, esp. eagerly.

  3. (v.i.)to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

All of those words mean to want something you do not already have.  The idea for this post came when I watched numerous videos of young men and women singing from their very cores, and I thought to myself, “I wish I could sing like that.  I wish I had that talent.”

Then, I thought, “Dawn, this is not the talent or gift you were given.  Why can you not be satisfied with the talents and gifts you do have?!”  It was a humbling thought, really.  I find myself having thoughts about craving, desiring, coveting others’ gifts and talents.  It’s really unfair to me and everyone else around me that I do not appreciate, fully, what I have been given to share with others.  Mainly, it’s rude and unfair to the One who gave me such gifts.

As a society, we all crave more.  As if “more” is the answer to everything wrong in the world.  It simply is not the answer to everything wrong in the world, and it is most likely not the answer to most things.  Some crave attention, love, and relationships.  Some desire more money, bigger homes, nicer cars.  Some covet other people’s mates, lifestyles, and lives.  

When we turn our focus on what other people have, it is very hard to see and appreciate what we already have.  Wanting what someone else has places blinders on us, so that we see nothing else.  That’s a shame, really.  Think about it.  If we have a house, car, food, clothes on our backs, and shoes on our feet, we have more than most of the world.  Even if we have just some of those, we have more than most of the world.  Yet, YET, we still want what someone else already has.  That has me hanging my head in an Eeyore kind of way.  Where do we get the chutzpah to think that THAT is the way to live?  If we allow ourselves to be so busy constantly wanting something or someone else, we’ve committed a grave injustice.  We begin to live a life of greed and selfishness which is just ugly and dark.  Greed is a sin!  Here’s how the definition of greed reads according to Merriam-Webster:

:  a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed

 

When we are so busy sinning, it’s hard to do what it is good and right.  When our hearts are so full of greed, there is no room for love.  That’s what this life is all about.  Love.  Give it unconditionally!  Accept it humbly!  Encourage it exuberantly!

Greed brings upon us a death which is lonely and unbearable.  Be content with what gifts, people, things you have.  

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. — James 1: 14-15

 

Let’s replace craving, desiring, and coveting with words like faith, hope, and love.

If I speak in the tonguesa of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13

 

Love sounds a much nicer way of life than does greed and selfishness, doesn’t it?  

Be mindful of where your thoughts take you today.  Are they leading you to greed and selfishness, or are they leading you to love?  If you find yourself being led to greed and selfishness, you can change those thoughts.  Move toward love.

Be a gracious gift-receiver.  Be a loving gift-receiver.  Be a thankful gift-receiver.  

That for which we are so ungrateful, someone else is longing for out of necessity, survival.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Renewed

On New Year’s Eve, I volunteered to be a sober driver for those who needed one.  A friend of mine needed help.  I was glad to be able to help her and another friend that was with her.  I am so honored that they took me up on my offer.  I believed that God had put that in and on my heart, and that He wanted me to just be that designated driver.  Looking back on that night, now, I realize there was a bigger motive in God’s plan.  

As I arrived to the bar where my friends were hanging out, I walked in and the smells, sights, and sounds brought back the memories of who I used to be.  

The smells of the smoke and alcohol finding their way into my nostrils were the first things that caught my attention.  Smells are very significant to me.  My sense of smell is probably the most emotionally significant to me.  Delicious scents improve my mood and my outlook on things, in general.  The not-so-delicious scent of cigarette smoke, alcohol, too much perfume and cologne, and desperation filled the air that night.  I had visions in my head of the preparations I used to take when I was single and going out all of the time.  Desperate to look and smell good, desperate to find that one person just for me, desperate to get drunk off my butt so that I could just talk to others, and desperate to feel “loved” and find “love” by whomever caught my attention that night.  That was my life.  I made myself so dishonorably available to all the drunk men looking for “whatever.”  

After the smells so rudely invited themselves into my senses, I looked around and saw the neon signs, people hanging all over each other, eyes barely open to see anything, and I felt sadness.  Again, a memory of who I used to be filled my heart and mind.  I just wanted to be liked and “loved” for who I was.  As alcohol was introduced, it really was for who I thought I was and who I thought I needed to be for approval by any and everyone.  The longer I stayed the more I observed the behaviors of others in the bar.  I watched groups of young women grinding on each other, husbands and possibly their wives rubbing on each other and allowing others to rub on them.  People who were obviously there together were allowing others to be physical with their partners.  I saw drunk people grinding on inanimate objects.  It took me back to a life where I was so miserable, that I would hang out with just about anyone not caring what their behaviors, or mine, would look like to someone else.  I did not care because I had enough alcohol in me to change reality into fantasy.  I was not behaving as a young lady should behave.  At that time, I did not care.  Seeing what I saw on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to call every person I had ever gone out with, every person who ever saw me acting a fool on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, and every person I ever had contact with as a drunk person and profusely apologize to them.  Seriously!

The sounds of people laughing, joyously yelling, and music to dance to filled my ears.  I used to go out and dance every time the Electric Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, or just any good song would come on.  I loved to dance, but I am pretty sure I looked like every other drunk person trying to look cool moving to a beat.  Those same songs that I used to dance to came back to me as something totally different on December 31, 2013.  They sounded differently to me.  They did not sound like fun.  They sounded like excuses to use my body in an unflattering way that made me wince and shiver.  Hearing people slur the words, “I love you” to whomever was in listening distance saddened my heart.

At forty-five years old, I have realized that those days have long been over, and that if I want to dance with my husband, I could do so in any room of my house without being surrounded by those still searching for love and approval.  I could do so without entering an establishment that was decorated with desperation and heartache that were filling the air and oozing down every inch of the walls and sticking to the floors.  

I am so grateful that I have been made new, so that I do NOT have to be who I was.  So that I do NOT have to crave who I was.  What I crave now is to be happy in what is real love.  I crave to be hope for someone who is struggling.  I crave to be a light when there is darkness.

God held up a mirror to me that night, and I saw what I have never been able to see previously.  Thank you, God.

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.  Ephesians 21 – 24

 

This is not a judgment on anyone.  

This is my eye-opening experience.  

I am blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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