THE LITTLE GIRL INSIDE OF ME

I saw her on a walk to begin with. She had the excitement that I used to contain as a little girl. She thought she had known me from before. I did not recognize her because I had said “goodbye” to my little girl years ago. I could see she was still in touch with her inner child and I became intrigued.

The next time we met was under the Mulberry tree in the meadows. We picked a few Mulberries and I warned her that another neighbor friend had told me that there was little bugs on the mulberries. She mentioned that would just be a bit of added protein and popped the mulberry right into her mouth. I immediately loved her when she said that because I knew her little girl had grown up in the country just as mine had.

The ability to choose between what was important and what was petty was a lesson I learned while growing up in the country. The beauty of growing up on a farm reinforced the belief that joy was found in simplicity, not perfection.

I used to wake up overflowing with joy. I walked around with a smile glued to my lips. This was not because I lived in a perfect home. This was just because that was the Spirit that God had given me as a child.

Where had that joy gone? I thought back to my life as a child and realized that I was super creative and quite the entrepreneur.  I had a play house out in the garage. The basement was transformed into a restaurant complete with a menu when my friends came over. My dolls all got taught about Jesus when I had church in the living room of my house. I was always up to something and many times it was things I did by myself because I was the youngest and no one had time, or wanted to play with me. So I would play with myself and I don’t remember regretting a minute of the time I spent playing.

I began to wonder where has the joy of my childhood gone to? Is it necessary to be so serious about this “adulting” thing we all have to do?

I eat food to feed my body. I read the Bible and go to Church to feed my Spirit but what am I doing to nurture the inner child which so bubbled over with joy?

In the Bible it says the Joy of the Lord is my strength. So how do I connect to that to draw from that fountain of life?

I think that my new friend and I may be trying to find the same source of joy. In other talks with her I have found that we are both trying to cipher through the pain of childhood to rescue that little girl who somehow got lost along the way.

It is like we both decided that the path we were walking on was causing blisters on our heart. I am excited about this journey of friendship.  It is going to be a magnificent adventure, I can feel it in my heart.

PROSPERITY

There are those preachers who preach that prosperity is our right as Christians to lay claim to. The “name it and claim it” bunch. They preach that the promotions are ours to grab. The big houses have our name on the mortgage  and the key to that Corvette should be in our pocket.

I am concerned about this form of gospel preaching. I have no problem with wealth but when it serves only yourself it has the potential to become an idol.

With a God in heaven who has told us to put our treasures where moths and rust do not destroy what good are material possessions?

They do provide comfort and security. I have purchased a home much larger than what I need but I have done so to provide a second home for my children or other family members who may be in need.

I have been so blessed to have my sweet daughter move back in with me. I have been blessed by God for four years to have had the privilege of being able to share my home with her.

The Lord has been so gracious as to heal many hurts in our relationship and I miss her when she is not home. Alas, though, she has found the love of her life and is getting married next summer.

I am going to miss her so much it is unreal and I am praying that she does not move to anywhere else than a house next door to me. Just kidding, but I really don’t want her more than a stone’s throw from my house.

Although I do not make much money in my chosen career I have had the opportunity to sew seeds of God into people’s lives. At times I have prayed with my patients. At other times I have asked them if I could pray for them on my own.

The other day a sweet patient of mine said that she had started praying more since I had become her nurse. She has become one of my dearest friends and to know that I, in some small way, helped her to connect to God was such a blessing to me.

I think that it may be more important to sew God’s word and pray for others than it is to have material possessions. Although, I think if you are doing both to provide nurturing and comfort to another it may be all good.

To God be the glory for all of the blessings he has bestowed on us.

MY MOTHER’S STORY

My mother had told me the story throughout my life. I had heard it again and again.

She went through a hard time when she was a young mother and had a nervous breakdown. According to my Aunt she had been so ravaged by the cruelty of others that she had spent a year in bed.

I don’t know what it was about this time that made a difference. This time though, I understood how that horrible time had imploded my mother’s dream of having a happy family.

This time there was an addition to the story, something I had never heard before. She said that my birth had been the one thing that had kept the family intact.

She had told me many times that she would not have survived if I hadn’t been such a loving child. I was full of joy and overflowing with love for my mother when I was a little girl.

As I grew up I became judgmental of her because she had struggled with forgiveness. I have been near a nervous breakdown a couple of times in my life but I have chosen to be merciful to the people who have been cruel.

Yet, this time when she told me how hard it had been for her, I understood that I might not forgive what had been done to her if it had been done to me.

My mother is elderly and she is tormented with the hate she holds in her heart for those who were so cruel. Yet her love for God and her faith in Him is what has sustained her. She fears that she may not be allowed into heaven because she is bound by unforgiveness.

I have pleaded with God to set her free, crying out to Him with tears streaming down my cheeks. I have reminded Him that she continued to worship and serve him and take her children to church; the same church where those who had been so cruel went to every Sunday.

I have shared on this blog how my mother has hurt me with things she has said in the past. Somehow the words no longer hurt because when I chose to understand her, the door to forgiveness of her busted wide open.

As I was reflecting on  this I realized that this need for understanding is paramount to the reason why God sent His Son to earth. Jesus walked on this earth. He felt our pain. Throughout His life He consistently gave healing and love to others. He fed five thousand but did not concern himself with the need for a home.

In His darkest hour he was betrayed by those who said they would never, ever betray Him. His blood was shed to cover our sins and He pleads with God to have mercy on us because he understands just how difficult it is to be human.

Praise God on high for the most precious gift of His son, Jesus Christ, who is the foundation for my bridge of understanding before God.

*If anyone feels as if God is leading you to intercede for my mother I would be so grateful.  The roots of bitterness have strangled her heart for far too long.

HOMELESS

I met her at a Starbucks. It wasn’t the one I usually go to for my morning cup of pep. She came up to me after I got my coffee and spoke blessings on me.

She didn’t say that she was homeless but she said she was in a situation and that she lived in the woods. She didn’t ask for money or food but prayed over me.

So I started thinking…

Then I decided that I had enough Brisket that I bought on sale,I could share with her. So I started bringing her a packed lunch. I had also shared with my son, some friends and my boyfriend so that Brisket went a long ways.

The other day I had dropped off another gallon plastic sack with a brisket sandwich, some chips and some fruit. She, of course, blessed me.

Then I went and did a couple of appointments and went to Jason’s deli for lunch.

I passed by a man who was talking to a girl and I was smiling because I was thinking of this wonderful woman that I had been feeding. The man stopped me and said “You have a very kind face and a very kind smile.”

He said he heard from God and then he said I was very sweet.

I just thought it was kind of special how God spoke gratitiude through a complete stranger for a kind act I had done for another stranger.

Then today I read Proverbs 3:27-28 and it was the frosting on the cake. “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

 

BASKET OF HEARTACHE

It was there. In the corner of my bedroom. It had been there for 3-4 years. It did not belong. It was ugly, messy and unorganized.

It was my basket of heartache.

The basket contained an overflowing mess of binders. Several years ago I went through a heart wrenching ordeal in the family court system. I have five to six large binders full of all of the court filings. Just to glance through them brings tears to my eyes because the experience was so painful.

I do not think justice was served, but I do realize that humanity, not God, is in control of the current justice system.

I know that I have worked on the process of forgiveness. I am not sure at what point one can truly say they have forgiven another completely.

I know that my greatest spiritual gift is grace, so it should be much easier for me, than most, to forgive. Yet, when I glanced through some of the binders, I felt the injustice metamorphasize into bitterness.

I don’t want that. I have seen people whom I dearly love become consumed by bitterness. Bitterness is a ravenous wolf, which can transform a kind and gentle heart into one which is full of rage and vengeance.

So on Independence Day this year I decided to sort through the basket of heartache and move it to an area which I could not see. I sorted through all of the loose papers and organized them into different categories of my life.  (Some other items from my life had inadvertently landed in the basket.)

Then I pushed that basket of heartache down deep into the darkness of my hall closet. It felt good to get this out of my eyesight. The mess of it was a daily irritation to me.

Yet it was more than that. I now had an empty corner of my bedroom to transform into something worthwhile. I pondered the challenge for a moment and decided to make it an oasis for my cats. Soon my daughter’s cat, Clooney, was curled up in the cat bed I had placed there.

This process has in some small way helped me to understand the sacrifice of Jesus and the deep love of God.

When my daughter was first born I almost turned completely away from God. I loved her so dearly, I would have easily done anything for her.  I could not understand how God could sacrifice His one and only Son for the sins I have committed.

I have done some good things in my life, but I have done my share of sinning also. For God to have given His one and only Son for the good I have done is a bit easier to understand. But for the bad?

When God looks down on me He doesn’t see the sin which I have committed. My sin is like His basket of heartache. So often we think sin just affects us, but the consequences can be far reaching in the pain visited upon others.  When He gave Jesus to be my atonement, He swept my basket of heartache into the ocean, with the waves tossing it as far as the east is from the west.

Then He reached out His hand and beckoned me to become not just another heartache but His cherished daughter …

John 3:16 NIV

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

FOCUS

For those of you who have kept up with my blog over the past few weeks, you may know I have a bit of a problem with the way my house was constructed. The tendency for me when I  have a bit of a problem is that I  can sometimes lose focus on the big picture.

The big picture for my life is that God has put a calling on my life to become a Christian author. Each one of you who is reading my blog at this moment is a partner with me in this calling.

I have over 17,000 subscribers at this point in my blog journey and each one of you is a blessing to my heart. There are quite a few of you who are dear friends of mine.

Some of you are other bloggers such as The Opinionated Man, Secret Angel and a few others who I have come to love.

Other of my subscribers are friends of mine who could and should call me, but instead of listening to me go on and on about my life, they just read my blog. Believe me, it is much easier to read my blog, than to listen to me, so I totally understand about that. lol

Then the other part of the big picture is the novel that I am penning. I have done a total rewrite on this novel. The first manuscript was 386 pages and I am now trying to finish up the rewrite. I am currently at 420 pages and desperately struggling to figure out how to bring it to a close.

I remember one man at a writing seminar who told me my first book should not exceed 100 pages. I just shook my head and dissolved into a fit of laughter.

There is no way I could do my characters justice in that short amount of space. There seem to be all kinds of crazy rules for writers and for the most part, I avoid other writers like the plague because I never have liked rules made by other people.

As I have prayed about the situation with my house I have had a sense of peace. I have blogged about this company to warn my readers. I have posted some reviews of them on Facebook to warn my friends. I will talk to some attorneys to explore the possibility of a lawsuit but I will not lose focus on the calling on my life.

A few years back I would have handled it differently. I would have gone into my pit bull mentality and torn the company to shreds. I would have most likely dissolved into a puddle of profanity and rage. In other words because of someone else’s incompetence and sloppiness (Plantation Homes) I would have opened the door to the devil in my heart and mind.

I keep reciting Mathew 6:33 to remind myself of the focus I should have in life. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; all these things shall be added unto you.

It is of much greater importance that I finish my novel and continue blogging than that I take revenge on Plantation Homes.

In addition to this, I want to thank each one of you, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheistic or some other religion for reading my blog. You are my inspiration.

INCOMPETENCE

I am sure that I am not the only one who has had an issue with incompetence from other people. The construction company for my house has numerous complaints listed on the web.

Some of the work done by MHI Plantation Homes is abysmal, to say the least. If you want to read up on this company, check the pissed consumer link at https://plantation-homes.pissedconsumer.com/.

I certainly am not the only one complaining about this company. So why are they still building homes? There apparently has been media coverage of this and some people are threatening a lawsuit

I have been stewing about what to do when it comes to my home. I am in the process of contacting an attorney as well as the media. I have hired my own experts which say that my foundation is an issue. This whole mess is a big burden for me to bear.

Then on Friday, I learned from my company that they had not deposited my paycheck in the bank as they were supposed to. I had a meltdown.

First off, although I am an excellent professional and have two Bachelor’s degrees, I barely skim the poverty level of income. So when a paycheck does not hit my bank it can start an avalanche of problems.

I was told by the payroll employee on Friday that my check would not be an automatic deposit like it normally was. They said I could come by the office to pick it up.The office I work for is 25 miles from my house and can take an hour to drive there and another hour to drive back home. My company does not reimburse a penny for that.

So I told them to drop it in the mail. They assured me it would be in my mailbox on Saturday. It wasn’t in the mailbox. I was pretty angry about the situation and was praying about it in the church I go to.

Some people seem to think that they can take advantage of me. MHI PLANTATION HOMES, ROSA’S HOME HEALTH, HOME DEPOT… The list goes on and on; especially when I start talking about family law attorneys and judges.

I will give Home Depot a pass because they were actually awesome about finally fulfilling their word to me.

But when you have so many people who are clearly incompetent it can make a girl feel as if no one has any brains anymore. Either that or they are just sloppy as hell and want to take advantage of good, honest, hard-working people.

I have had to fight so many fights in my life I find it difficult to continue.

While I was in the church God brought to my mind Jeremiah 29:11 –11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

If God is on my side then it is my responsibility to put on my boxing gloves and get back in the ring.

He wants me to prosper, not to live in a house which is falling apart within the first ten years. He wants me to work for a company which is honest and pays their employees in a timely manner.

Sometimes I think that people think a good Christian woman should lay down and be a doormat for people who are scoundrels, liars, and cheats.  I don’t see how God can be glorified in that and it doesn’t appear that that is in His plans at all.

IT STARTED WITH TALKING…

It happened a few weeks ago. It was in my Bible Study group. This lady started talking and she went on and on and on.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “Here she goes again. Why does she always have to talk so much? Usually our leader ropes her in but this time he was not leading. Another person was leading the group. I wonder how long she will go on talking.” Big sigh.

Seriously, these were the thoughts that were trampling my mind. They were thoughts of self-importance, arrogance and judgement. My mind was so cluttered with judgement, I was not even listening to what this lady was saying.

I stopped the train of judgement and jumped off. I started listening, really listening to this woman and you know what?

She is kind of interesting. I mean she had a story to tell and she told it well.

As I stumbled to my feet after jumping off the train I realized something about me. That is that many times I do not connect with people on a deeper level because I am too busy telling myself that they are not good enough for me. I mean cause I must think I am all that!

What an arrogant jerk I have become. This is in no way a Christ like way to treat someone, even if I hide it in the realm of thoughts. This kind of thinking stems from pride and self righteousness.

What right do I have to think I am better than anyone else?

Christ, God’s son, didn’t act all up in the air when he came down to earth. He didn’t demand a palace and a chariot. He had no home and he rode a donkey when he wasn’t walking. He was always healing or feeding or teaching.

He did get a bit out of sorts with the Pharisees, but that was because they thought they were better than others. (Kind of like me, right?)

So I have been asking God to help me think like Christ does. I am going to start by meditating on Philippians 2:1-11.

Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross


DEPRESSION

There are times that I feel the incessant knocking at the door of my heart by that vile enemy, depression. I have struggled with this for many years. It is rare that my life is without difficulties. There is always something which vexes my heart and soul.

The other day I opened the door to the enemy. This is a frequent issue for me. I continue to have thoughts which are very self defeating. I let depression wreak havoc in my brain.

I finally asked God if He could help me with this. It is amazing how many thoughts traverse through my mind which are negative. If anyone else said these thoughts to me, I would walk away and choose not to engage that person again. Yet, every day I struggle to be kind to myself. To be accepting of my weaknesses. To gently encourage myself as I encourage others.

The other day I was in quite a mess, thinking I did not have enough friends. Depression started to trash the recent memories of good times I had had with my friends.

Then I met an angel at Jason’s Deli. She was a remarkably beautiful woman. I tried not to stare, but I did compliment her on her attractiveness. She immediately said she was broken hearted. She started telling me a bit about her life and I asked if I could sit with her.

She opened up and told me that she was estranged from her daughter. She had recently discovered that her boyfriend who she hoped to marry was engaged in an immoral affair. She had had a good husband, but he had passed away during a time when they were separated. She was currently unemployed and was about to receive her last unemployment check. Yet, she was still praying and seeking God.

I felt as if reality slapped me in my face. I had so much to be thankful for. I do have friends. I have a lovely relationship with my daughter. I continue to work at a terrific company. Although I do not make much money I love my job and my coworkers. I have a terrific boyfriend who spoils me rotten and I have a God who I absolutely adore.

In the Bible in 2 Corinthians 10:5 it talks about making every thought captive to Christ. I am struggling to accomplish this, but I don’t think that self defeating thoughts are ones which glorify God. So every time a depressive thought comes to my mind, I need to not open the door to the devil of Depression. I would like to be able to quote a verse which I have committed to memory. For when Jesus was tempted by the devil he used the Word of God to win that war.

Is there anyone else who struggles with thought control? Do you feel that this is something which leads to depression? What ideas have you come up with which have assisted you in becoming kind to yourself? Or do you allow the devil of Depression to wreak havoc in your brain also?

PLANTATION HOMES PROBLEM

I bought a home close to ten years ago. It was a beautiful home and I had it built so I thought there would be no problems with the home while I was paying it off.Unfortunately, I did not do my research on the home builder which was Plantation homes. They do not have a good reputation.

I told them within the first couple of years that they needed to do something with my foundation. They had some goofballs come by and take pictures of my foundation and they said there was no problem.

Then last year I had some more cracks in my walls and I told them again that they had better take care of my foundation. Then they hired some more goofballs who came and measured my foundation and said there was nothing unusual.

This year the ceiling of my cat walk started to come down. Interesting that the ceiling demise was right in line with a long crack on the ceiling.

They said it was a roof leak, even though there was no water spot. They must be thinking I am one dumb broad.

For their information my IQ may be higher than their whole company collectively.

This year I complained again and they hired the same goofballs that had come by last year and said there was no problem. By this time I had a crack running the entire expanse of my ceiling and another crack at the seam of the peak in my living room. I was pissed to say the least.

I was put out with the goofballs that they kept sending my way so I hired my own structural engineering firm to do an analysis of my foundation. They said I had a problem and it needed to be fixed.

Plantation homes then said they wanted another firm to come and check out my foundation. They swore that this firm did not know who they were and they had never done business with them. So it would be an objective analysis.

Well, the first thing the guy said when he walked into my home was “My firm has done plenty of work for Plantation homes.” I kind of felt that that flushed the “objective” opinion idea right down the toilet.

So we were going to meet for one last meeting. The construction manager called and said that it was gonna be on Thursday or Friday. He would call me to confirm which day. I never got the call but apparently I am supposed to have ESP because they showed up on Thursday afternoon expecting me to be there..

So because their construction manager either has brain fog or smokes too much weed, or both, they gave me the shaft. They said they were not going to do one blooming thing for me.

Well, you don’t know how pissed off I can get until you treat me like I am nothing. Then you got a whole other level of me that most people don’t suspect I can get to and it ain’t a pretty level either.

But I am a Christian woman and I am supposed to be submissive right?

Yep, you are right. In the Bible it says I am to submit to my husband if he is willing to die for me.

Let me make one thing clear, I am in no way married to Plantation homes, nor would I ever consider marrying someone who works for a company who treats a single mother the way they have treated me. So submission is not an issue here.

I was still struggling with how to handle this issue and then I went to church this morning at Vibrant Church. Our pastor had the coolest sermon on James and he said how we go through trials to learn how to persevere. My definition of perseverance happens to be: you stand your ground when you are right until the jerk that is wrong finally caves in and does what is right.

In other words, Plantation homes has messed with the wrong chick. I have a right to be pissed and I have a right to demand that they honor the warranty that they gave me ten years ago.

If they have any doubt that I will wear them down, they need to go talk to my friends at Home Depot who just put in the coolest screen door ever because I refused to be treated like nothing.

(Refer to post THE STORM DOOR  for the low down on Home Depot.)