Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sometimes we have to lose it all...

A little over two years ago my husband and I moved to this area because my grandmother (the woman that raised me) was dying of cancer. She was living with my aunt that had decided that she was not going to allow my grandma to die in a nursing home or hospital but instead at home where she could at least be surrounded by people that loved her. My aunt had a job outside the home at the time and needed someone to be there to take care of my grandma while she was at work so we moved into my grandma's room in the basement. After we got here my grandma only lived another few weeks. I watched her waste away and become weaker and weaker when she had always been the strongest person I had ever known and it was hard. I got to be there with her and tell her how important she had always been to me and I got to tell her and SHOW her how very much I loved her by helping to take care of her in her final days. She taught me even more about life and love in that last few weeks than I could have ever learned in a lifetime. In that last few weeks she taught me about true forgiveness and she told me that by finding out she was going to die, she had learned that everything that she had always thought was so important really wasn't. That she had always been so focused on the things that she should have payed less attention to and ignored everything that was truly important. I didn't ask her what that meant because I felt like if she had wanted me to know she would have continued to tell me but she didn't. So the closest I could come would be to look back as far as I could at her life and try to figure out it for myself.

She left me in the early morning on July 26, 2011. Before she died I watched her look at people that weren't there and she called out to them by names that I didn't know. She would argue with them and sometimes she would weep softly. She kept saying she wasn't quite ready yet. I was holding her hand as she took her last breath and I had given her kisses and told her how much I loved her and what a wonderful mommy she had been to me. I told her I would see her again someday although my faith wasn't real strong at that particular point.

It wasn't too long after that that my husband got a job working for a security company. It was there that he met and became good friends with two men that introduced him to God. I remember he came home from work one day asking me all kinds of different questions. I had the answers to some but I told him he needed to read the Bible. My grandma had taught me quite a bit about God and this was the first time that I ever had to actually stop and think back about what all she had taught me. She left several Bibles and Jay had his pick of which one to read. It was at this point that we invited God into our life. We continued to live with my aunt for eight months after my grandma passed. We were holding out for our tax check to get a place of our own since we were paying my aunt 500.00 every other week to live with her and that was a huge chunk of my husband's check. I was having horrible back problems that required me to be on constant pain meds and I tried working during that time but it didn't work out. We had only a month left to wait for our taxes when my aunt's son decided it was time for us to leave because he wanted the entire basement to himself. So we moved into a one bedroom motel room and that's where we've been until now. Taxes came last year but we needed a car (it ended up breaking down) we had to pay back money we had borrowed to help us stay here until taxes came so we ended up stuck in what seemed like a never ending rut. Over the last year we have had times when we had very little food and never any transportation but we learned to find the true happiness in life and we have always had God. He answered so many prayers that we started to feel like we didn't deserve anymore and yet He's still answering them. He has taken such wonderful care of us during our time of greatest need. I have not had very little back pain and I have been off meds for 6 months now. The little bit of pain that I do get now is mild and I am able to control it with aspirin and I was diagnosed with two herniated disks in my lower back, sciatica and restless leg syndrome. Through all of the hard times we have had, mine and my husband's relationship has grown ever stronger.

We have grown closer to God and ask Him for His continuing guidance. We know that without Him we would not be getting a real house with 3 bedrooms and a full finished basement PLUS a car. Our life had to be torn down in order to be built back in such a way that we could actually appreciate it. This is why I firmly believe that things like money and material objects are only distractions to keep us from truly living the way we should. Family is most important and helping others. When we get too focused on worldly things it's hard to lose them. We can get stuck in the mindset that our life is over when in fact it is merely a new beginning. A chance to start over with a clean slate and build something even better. By better I mean a life full of LOVE. Only love will lead to TRUE happiness and that can NEVER be lost. It is by the grace of God that we are TRULY blessed.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why so much anger?

I think that one of the most amazing things that I have gained in my walk with God is the ability to let things go. Don't get me wrong, there are certain things that will still anger me initially but it always starts to diminish almost immediately. I know that dealing with anything out of anger is never a good way to go. I used to be the type of person who would just tear into someone for angering me or offending me. I don't envy the people who can walk around ready to express their outrage at the drop of a hat. I remember how it felt to constantly be in a state of half rage, ready to go off in an instant. It's no fun for anybody especially the person who lives that way. It seems as though so many people exist like this these days. "Moving with the times" has a price and it seems like nobody is paying attention to what it costs.

My inspiration for this particular blog happened to come from someone on a social website that I subscribe to. One of the people on my friends list was raging about people who believe in God and their inability to accept homosexuality. Also stated was why is it so hard for people to understand that not everybody believes in your God? The person talks about how the Bible merely hints at the way things are supposed to be and so that shouldn't mean that everyone has to obey Him. The person calls the attention that it's now 2013... isn't it time to let people choose how they want to live? Now for as long as I remember everybody has always lived the way that they wanted to live. They have always had the freedom of choice so how is that a new concept? This person's argument is that gay marriage is the unity between two consenting adults. Indeed it is two consenting adults of the same sex. The Bible's look on homosexuality is crystal clear. It's a sin. Yes, it's just like any other sin we could commit which simply means, yes a person can acknowledge they have committed the sin, repent and then never do it again. That is what we are to do when we commit a sin and then we are forgiven, the sin is erased. You cannot repent if you intend to continue living in the sin. As for everybody not believing in my God, I know that. I understand perfectly that it's each individuals choice. However that will never stop me from praying that they will one day believe. So when I replied to this person's post I did it with the utmost care and respect. That the reply I was giving was not intended to offend or attack anybody. It was only with the small hope that maybe this person could understand and I prayed. I prayed for God to guide me in my response and I know that He did. Sadly the person is under the impression that their way is the only way and of course about 20 people agreed with the person. I tried though. I got told that I don't even have half a brain for believing The Bible for my effort but of course I wasn't being judged. Which, for someone who is a self proclaimed atheist why would they care if they were judging me? If there is no God then why not judge people? Who else will? I pretty much knew what was going to happen when I was going in but I felt compelled to do it anyway. We are not ever supposed to give up on anybody nor are we supposed to want to. We are on this earth to help other people and what better way than to bring them the word of God?

This person has now been posting several posts that are contemptuous of God and believers. I say believers because no one religious group is targeted. It's pretty much any believer. Of course I feel as though they are pointed at me but it doesn't make me angry. It makes me sad. I feel like I failed. Then after reading all this person's posts my daughter said to me, "Wow, what did God ever do to her?" Just like that it clicked. Her problem isn't with me, it's between she and God. I've done what I could. It's true that maybe she holds some anger or even contempt toward me for believing but her true problem is between she and God. I think that often as humans we all make this mistake. We take things so personally when in reality there is very little we can do. We can make our beliefs known and try to bring the truth where someone else has made falsehoods but beyond that we give it to God. So that is what I am doing.

As for homosexuality, church's should not have to preform their wedding ceremonies. Gay marriage may pass on a state or even federal level but I do not believe that God will ever recognize these marriages as sanctity. As for any church that encourages any sin no matter what they say it's in the name of, I'm not sure how it could be a blessed church. I will provide a link to the page that explains fairly efficiently how I came to the conclusion that homosexuality is indeed a sin. I honestly don't hate any homosexual but it is my right to pray for them just as I would pray for anybody who is battling sin or any other issue. It is out of love not hate that I do this. I would love to see all of us inherit the kingdom of God. There's never a reason for us to want any different for anybody since their sins are between them and God just as mine are between God and I. I will never give up on anybody though.

Is homosexuality a sin?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Money and Relationships

I hate money. I know that money is nothing more then an inanimate object and starts out with no value whatsoever. It only gains the value that people assign to it. I know that money can be used for good just as easily as for evil but it is my experience that more often then not it causes people to behave in super selfish ways as they will do almost anything to the point of viciousness in order to obtain it. Then once they obtain some it's never enough, they always need more of it. They'll protect the money that they have in a way that they won't even protect their own children. They'll sacrifice love and vital relationships in order to obtain it. All of that and yet they usually still spend it incorrectly often running short on things they needed in order to buy the things they wanted. Things that you need: clothing, food, shelter and love. That's it. Those are the only things you need. Not ipods, ipads, laptops, 60 pairs of shoes with handbags to match each pair, not manicures (I've never had a professional manicure or pedicure). Not a brand new car every year or even two. Not a house filled with all the electronics. Yet if you ask those people they will tell you that they are entitled those things. Why? Because they worked for them. Which is all fine and well because it is their choice to spend all that time at work to obtain more and more meaningless things that are going to get old, boring or broken (if they can find enough time to enjoy them with work). Things they are either going to be interested in for a limited time or they will be literally old in about in a year or two and need to be replaced. Or they get broken or sometimes even stolen by someone who didn't want to work to obtain one. I think the truly crazy thing though is that they have convinced their selves that they actually need those things in order to be happy. Most of the time though the only reason the things even bring them happiness in the beginning is because they have something new that they can flaunt in front people they consider to be less fortunate then their selves.

I remember when my husband and I were only friends. You see he and I truly started out merely as friends. When I realized that I truly loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, I pleaded with God. I told God that I knew that I loved him because I would be willing to literally live on the streets with no food as long as it was with him. I promised God that I would never leave him no matter what and that I would absolutely always remain faithful to him. What I didn't know then was that God was going to give me what I wanted but that he was going to put my promise to the test. We have been together for four years and all but the first year and a half has been an uphill struggle financially. I feel that a lot of it is my fault and he feels that it's his. I spent literally most of my life as a stay at home mom. I had a total of 6 children. My ex-husband was the type to live at his work so when I had the first five we had the money to take care of them while I stayed at home. It was something my ex-husband was pretty proud of. I tried working a few times and it never worked out due to unreliable child care but as I said, my ex was pretty proud that he made enough to provide. My sixth child was born out of wedlock but I'm not going to go into that right now because it's an entirely different situation better saved for another time. Anyway, my point is that when I married my husband four years ago, not only did I not have a work history or previous experience but I had also developed some pretty rough back problems that wouldn't even allow me a night's sleep. So we have been living on one income and while he makes more then minimum wage and works 40 hours per week, we could really use another income. However, we have what we need. We have shelter, clothing, food and love and I have honestly learned to be happy with that. We haven't even had a car for the past year and most people consider that to be a necessity now. We've been okay and we have each other and two of our girls that actually not only want to live with us but they even enjoy it. Our girls do have some material objects. They get things from their other parent and we also buy them some things when we have some extra money but they are not materialistic girls. They know they are very loved and they feel like they actually mean something to us because we are always there for them instead of at work.

My grandmother always taught me that when you decide to share your life with someone then you are inviting that person into your life to share everything. That if you truly love and trust that person enough to vow your life to them then you will also keep nothing from them. Nothing. I have to admit that the way that I love my husband, I don't want to keep anything from him. I love him so much I want to give him everything in my power. In fact if I could, I would give him the world. I could not even imagine for a minute keeping something like money from him yet people do that now. How can you live with someone that you cannot even trust with something like money? How can you call it a relationship if you keep separate finances? How is that love? Splitting bills and the cost of food, isn't that a roommate? Borrowing money from the person you're with, couldn't you just as easily do that with a friend or family member? Why are you in a relationship again?

Money should not even be a factor when it comes to any relationship we have no matter who it is with. Love for another person should not be based on whether or not the other person has any money. This goes for parents, children, friends and spouses. If it's truly love then money doesn't matter. The love should always be there even when money isn't. It is only true love that will get you through difficult times when there is no money. And let us not forget the most important and very valid point. You can't take it with you when this life is over. Why would you even want to?

I grow weary of people who put so much emphasis on money. I've been called belittling names and ridiculed because I don't work. I look at people that work their lives away and wonder why they are doing that but I have never called them names or tried to make them feel bad for their choice. I often wonder though if they are really truly happy. If they truly are fulfilled. They usually claim they are just trying to save up for retirement when they no longer can work anymore but I have witnessed a very large number of people who work and work right up to their death never even reaching retirement not to mention the people who do manage to save only die shortly after retirement. I don't believe that you work for extra money so that you can enjoy it one day. You only end up working so much and then never truly learn anything about life except the cycle of work and money. Or you work and work so you can afford more of the things you want. I find that spending money on wanted things is a very unhappy life because it's a cycle. You feel bored or depressed so you buy something to entertain yourself. That won't last long and soon you'll need to find something else to entertain yourself. I have found my fulfillment, my happiness though without having to obtain more and more money. Money just isn't truly the answer to happiness for anybody. I pray for anybody who thinks it is.

To sum it all up:

Matthew 6:19-34

King James Version (KJV)
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Aftermath of the Boston Bombing

I've been keeping current on the investigation into the Boston marathon bombings. My heart has always gone out to the families that were impacted and especially those that lost loved ones. I cannot even begin to imagine what that day was like and then the aftermath of it all. It's hard to think or suggest that it fit into God's plan somehow as we all know God is all knowing and knew that it would happen even before it actually did. People will use it as an excuse to push God away saying things like, "If He is truly a loving God then why? Why would he allow to this happen?" I suppose the answer that things happen and people die just isn't good enough although it is the way our world has always worked. Some people die young and some die old, some die tragically while others die of natural causes. Some are murdered, some commit suicide and some are executed. The fact is we live and we die. At least us Christians can find solace in knowing that our lives will go on after we are done here.

So I have read most of the stories about the bombings and of course the Tsarnaev brothers. I have read the comments that follow the stories and I become saddened by many. Since the Tsarnaev brothers were Muslim of course a lot of people took to blaming religion and there are actually still a good number of people that do. I've been reading comments that religion needs to be banned, made illegal, people stating that if it weren't for religion everybody would get along and live in peace and harmony. If it weren't for religion we would have NO problems. People think that us Christians are actually the haters. That we are too intolerant in our beliefs and that we refuse to keep an open mind about anything. That we refuse to accept change. Oh, if you all could know how many times I wanted to reply to all those comments but we all know that they would just answer in turn with their own reply and so it would begin. A battle that nobody would win.

One of the things that truly saddens me is the amount of pure hatred for the bombers' family. I do not believe that those two boys were sent on a mission from God. I admit that I don't know much about Muslims. I know very little about their faith or what it means to them. So in fairness I cannot sit here and say that there was no way they could have believed that what they were doing was for God. Maybe they were mislead in their study of their faith. We all know that it states clearly in the Bible that thou shalt not kill. Everything I have studied up to this point supports a firm belief system based on LOVE and FORGIVENESS. I am a Christian that not only believes that God exists but I know in my own heart that He does. I believe we are never to kill or even harm another person. In fact we are supposed to help as many people as we can in any way that we can. We are suppose to forgive the people who harm us in any way. We are supposed to love the sinner and hate only the sin. As Jesus was being crucified He said to God, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." So I have no doubt that God did not send them to do what they did but I also cannot understand the level of pure hatred for the bombers' family. The mother was criticized for not wanting to believe first of all that her boys were responsible and then also for being in denial that it happened at all. I've tried to put myself in her position and I can't do it. I cannot imagine what it would be like to find out that one of my boys had done this incredibly horrible thing and then also that one of them died because of committing the act. She has not been allowed to mourn the loss of both of her children. Shouldn't she at least be allowed that? I myself do not believe that I am entitled to punish or judge anybody and yet it is religion that is being considered the source of hatred when you have all the nonbelievers who don't want Tamerlan's body buried on American soil yet they also don't want to allow the family to claim the body. He was shot multiple times and suffered blunt force trauma (he was punished) but not to their satisfaction. Many people commented that they actually wanted to see his body dragged through the streets and then set on fire for all to watch. No mercy. Unforgiving. Not Christian. It took weeks for a mortuary to agree to take Tamerlan's body and once he did he needed police on constant guard. He suffered criticism for taking it. The article stated that the director received about a dozen calls from people wanting to donate to Tamerlan's burial but he directed them to give instead to the victims through the One Fund Boston. At that time he could not find a cemetery that would allow him to be buried. Tamerlan's body has finally been laid to rest in an unmarked grave in a Muslim cemetery in Virgina. However even they are now coming under fire. They are worried that they need police on guard to prevent defacement. What kind of world do we live in when the dead are not allowed to be buried? Yet anyone with faith are the haters. I understand that a lot of pain and suffering happened that day as a result of the actions of those two boys. I understand that people lost a lot. It seems like to me though that people think that it will make everything better to respond with even more anger and hatred and the few people that feel the same as I do get called unpatriotic and get told that we need to leave this country.No, I won't leave the country but how about I pray. I will pray for less anger, less hatred and more healing. I know that forgiving can be hard and that giving up one's anger can also be very difficult but anger, hatred and violence are the true cause of all that's bad in the world. Not religion. Not Christians. Not God. The world needs God. :) 

Link to article about mortuary that took Tamerlan's body
Link to article about burial of Tamerlan's body

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Declaring my faith and standing firm...

As my very first post I thought I would start out by touching upon the transition that occurred in my life when I made the decision to have faith and put my trust in God. There have been many and I find that even after a year I still find areas where I kind of have to adjust to certain things that are going to arise from me becoming a devoted follower of Christ.

I believed in God faithfully as a very small child and I remember it quite clearly but I also remember that I kept it pretty much to myself. I pushed God out of my life from about the age of 10 until a year ago. During the time that I lived my life the way that I wanted I took up smoking, swearing, I went through a divorce, had a child out of wedlock, drank occasionally and even tried drugs although I am thankful that I didn't become an addict. Sadly all of these are so very normal in today's society. I could sit here and give excuses such as, "I was young and I really didn't know any better," or "I didn't have a mother or father and that affected my upbringing." I could go on and on with the endless list of excuses that most of society makes although I do have to mention the one that irritates me the most now and it is: It's the day and age we live in. People need to realize the world is a constantly changing place and they need to "move with the times". None of these excuses truly excuse my behavior though do they? It all goes back to one thing and that is that I was living my life for myself and not God. My husband changed all that over a year ago though when he came home from work where he had met some people that got him curious about The Bible. He come home wanting to learn as much as possible. He asked me questions to which some I had answers and then others I had only partial answers while still others I couldn't answer at all. We had more then one Bible so he picked one and started reading until he had read it all the way through. He started teaching me things that he read and each time he taught me something new I became more and convinced that the Bible really is the truth.

Now as I learn more and more (I have started reading the Bible on my own now) I notice that I begin to implement changes in my life. Swearing feels so bad that it was one of the first things to go. Although I admit that I have the occasional slip up, I have mostly omitted swearing from my vocabulary. I admit that smoking is still a struggle with me but I am determined not to give up quitting. It also means though that my entire belief system has changed and with that so has the person that I used to be. I used to be such a selfish person who was hung up on materialistic things. I cared so much about what other people thought of me and with that fear came the need to feed my self image. It's actually a huge relief that I don't feel like that anymore. Don't get me wrong, I have friends and family that don't understand and although I have tried my best to explain it to them they just can't. Right now they are of the world, they believe in all the excuses as truths and I know that I cannot change them... that I cannot save them. All I can do is try to be patient and keep trying to explain in the hopes that one day it will ignite a curiosity in them to learn. I can now love them all in a way that I never even knew was possible though and for that I am so very thankful as it is what grants me the patience I need to maintain while they call me a "Jesus lover" or "goody two shoes" which I accept that I am a "Jesus lover". I know that I am far from perfect only now I try my best to make God happy instead of myself. Still, my family especially finds that pretty strange.

I still get caught off guard by people who actually try to sway me away from God. Or even people that will try to convince me that something is right although I know (because it's clearly stated in the Bible) that it's wrong. People will try to tell me that God is misogynistic or that homosexuality is not a sin. I won't argue with anyone about it. I state my belief and tell them where to find it in the Bible and then I move on. I know it's the best I can do. After all, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink.

I think this is where I am going to stop for now but I plan to post more to come. I want to dedicate a blog to the subject of homosexuality and what the Bible says about it because if you google it you find so many who actually encourage homosexuals to believe that it isn't a sin. It only makes me sad because I believe that some actually go there looking for genuine answers only to be lead down a path of false information. To be clear I do not hate nor wish any harm on homosexuals. God loves them and as a Christian we are to love them too but we are also supposed to hate the sin itself and try to bring them the truth. I actually have a lot to share about many things. I want to thank those of you who read this post and I invite you back again. Until then- God bless and keep you. :)