Saturday, August 31, 2013

There is Power

There is power in the name of Jesus... To break every chain, to break every chain, to break every chain...

It isn't Confidence


Out of nowhere, 
bright light blinding, 
knocks you to your knees. 
Heat flaring fingertips, 
beads of perspiration, 
instantly evaporating. 
Electricity flows 
through body and soul. 
The deafening roar 
driving you insane. 
Heart pounding thrill 
dangles you near death. 
A vacuum created 
leaving you,
Absorbing your energy 
leaving you,
limp and lifeless. 
Never striking twice 
leaving you,
My love is a bolt of lightning.

What a woman she was, the woman who believed this about herself. Sexy. Confident. Knowing that she could have any man she wanted, give him the thrill of his life, and walk away... destroying him...  leaving you, leaving you, leaving you... she says it 3 times... and hey, she warned him beforehand, right? So she wasn't to blame.

This was written before the term "shock and awe" became popular... but that's what she wanted to do... shock him, bring him to his knees, completely take the life from him... leave him in awe and disappear.

Today's feminists would say it sounds like a sexually liberated woman who knows what she wants and gets it without having to compromise or give up any part of herself. They would be wrong.

This was written by a broken woman. Too afraid, at that point, to attempt to act this way herself, she imagined it... wrote it down... conceived it almost as an act of revenge against those who had treated her that way.

They too would warn her. Vague answers and lies, disrespect... all were giant red flags she ignored.

No self respect. No confidence. Plenty of self loathing.


With herself and with them.

This wasn't confidence. This was a cry.

But I got an A on the college poetry assignment and my classmates looked at me a little differently after I read it that day. Treated me a little less like "that girl everyone knows who got knocked up in high school" and a little more like someone who might know something.

And the girl in the class who was already a published writer of porn passed along some information... just in case I ever wanted to broaden my horizons.

If you read my last post, then you know this is just a little more proof... I guess God does play chess backwards.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Friday, August 30, 2013

No, I Don't Really Want to Have this Conversation

No, I don't really want to have this conversation, but what is the point of a blog that helps hold me accountable if I only put the things in it I actually want to talk about? Plus, I have been getting the feeling that God wants me to be comfortable with this topic. (Really? Me? Seriously?)

Let's start here... I recently had to define this word for someone I know and love. Why? Because sometimes something as simple as the real definition of a word can help someone you love triumph over sin. Because until they know the true definition of that word, it is easy to say "Oh, this isn't that... that is something way worse than this... what I am doing is still on the edge of okay..."

Confused yet?

Porn. I'm talking about porn.

What is the definition of pornography? As I explained it to this someone, it goes like this... Porn is the visual, audio, or written description or depiction of anyone in a real or simulated sexual situation whether they are alone or with one or more other people of the same or opposite gender.

Wow, right? That covers a lot of stuff...

Erotic literature. Pictures. Videos. Most late night television. Definitely the VMA awards... but I'm not writing about Miley here...

So, why was it so important to share with this person that it is a slippery slope from reading semi-erotic literature created mostly by teens who have no clue what they are talking about to an all out porn addiction?

Because I know.

I could write about exes with problems. I could write about friends with problems. I could easily use other peoples' lives to say that pornography is evil, addictive and has the capacity to ruin every relationship you'll ever have... but if I can use examples from my own life I probably should.

For me, porn twisted my sense of normalcy. If what was happening on the screen or in the story I was reading (and eventually writing) was normal... then if someone asked me to do it or even go a step further... of course I should, right? Even if I didn't enjoy it. Even if I was disgusted. Even if I was embarrassed. Even if it just felt wrong. If I said "No" then someone might think there was something wrong with me. Right? Eventually... all those silly feelings went away and it all felt "normal."

Porn also messed with my idea of what was ideal. It furthered my confusion of love and sex. That love story was soooooooo romantic... yeah, he was disrespectful and that one time sort of bordered on rape... but, eventually they fell in love... so, it's all good. Right?

While only one ex boyfriend ever got angry at me for looking at (and writing) porn, there were several relationships where it was a problem for me because the other person was so obsessed with it. I can't say much more without it sounding like I'm telling other people's secrets... but at some point I decided that it must not be that bad. I'm sure another post is coming about what led to that decision... but that's not this one.

I honestly don't know that this could be called an addiction for me. I gave it up quite easily when I gave up sex... which you can read about here. More accurately, it was a symptom of my addiction.

Not that I didn't slip up... (with porn, not with sex.) I think it is clear to anyone who actually reads this blog (which I'm kinda hoping is nobody today) that I know I am a sinner... and I have a lot of work to do... but God used the last "slip-up" to open my eyes to what I was really seeing.

All of those things listed above are indeed porn, but my slip-up and my eye-opening experience resulting from that slip-up were due to a video on the internet. I'm sure I'll be writing about the other forms some time soon as well... *sigh*

The last time I watched an actual pornographic video, it was late at night. I was lonely and tired and sad and bored and restless... I just couldn't sleep. I grabbed my phone from the charger and went to a site I had been to plenty of times before in the past and picked a video at random. (Know that when God is trying to tell you something, nothing is ever random.)

The women and the man in this video were not American. The were saying things in English, but with very thick accents. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Then, suddenly, though the video did not change... I was watching an entirely different movie.

I started to cry.

These women were wearing clothes (barely) and makeup (lots) but it wasn't enough to hide the bruises up and down their legs and thighs... you can strategically place a hand anywhere to cover a single bruise... but there weren't enough hands on the set to cover these.
All of the sudden I realized that these were real people. I started imagining what they had been through to get those bruises and my chest started to hurt just thinking about their pain. I may be a baby when it comes to pain... but bruises hurt... Why were they being beaten? Was this something that happened all the time? What makes those kinds of bruises? Did they cry? Did they beg someone to stop? I don't know... but people don't voluntarily let themselves be bruised like that.

Let's forget that lust is a sin for just a second, and look at it this way.

Healthy, happy people don't make porn and share it with others.  Maybe they were those women I'd heard about who were sold into slavery for just this type of purpose. Maybe they were being forced to do this. Maybe they were just broke and needed the money. So many maybes...

Whether these men and women are being forced to do the things they are doing, or whether they are doing it because they are hurting, broken people... what kind of a person takes any kind of pleasure in watching someone in that situation do anything?

Yes, partaking in porn is a sin. Yes, I slipped up. Yes, I learned my lesson... so much so that it has taken me a little time to actually write about it... but it is a lesson that I will share if it makes someone else think before they click play.

And as I look back over all that I've said here, I see there really is too much for one blog post... but there may be a reason I have so much to say on this subject... and all subjects pertaining to sex... Remember this post? Well, these were the things that were ever-so-lightly touched upon in that article... the article where I knew I could "preach it" better than the woman who slid past all the dirty parts of these problems and just tried to smooth it all over with a pretty picture of Jesus...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maybe Tomorrow

The God who juggles the planets
and put each star in the sky
still knows the number
of hairs on my head.

The God who breathed life
into the very first human being
knows what I'm thinking and feeling
at this very moment.

The God who planned
the biggest rescue mission
in the history of the universe
and watched His son die for me
still takes the time to remind me he is here

He is the very same God who knows
I'm sitting on my couch
     feeling sad
          and lonely
               and frustrated
                    and annoyed
because everything doesn't happen
when I want and where I want and how I want...
He sees me in the midst of a completely selfish moment
     and still loves me.

He isn't just putting up with me.
I'm not just sliding into Heaven
by the narrowest margin because
He is a good God who doesn't go back on His word.

He isn't looking at me thinking, "Oh crap, yeah I guess I'll take her too..."

I know that a God who has done for me all of the things He has done... and put up with everything from me that I have put Him through must love me with a deeper love than I can imagine. Sometimes I think that if I could truly wrap my brain around how much love he really has for me, doing the things I don't want to do wouldn't come so easily. If we could understand perfect love, could we ever do anything to hurt the One who has it?

But tonight I wonder if He isn't feeling a little like I do when one of mine gets sent to bed early for having a bad attitude... or doing something I've repeatedly told them not to do.

Do His shoulders sag a little with disappointment, head shaking slightly from side to side as I climb into bed?

I think I hear Him saying, "How much longer is it going to take for you to realize and accept that I do know what is best for you?... Get some sleep. You can try again tomorrow."

and the next day, and the next, and the and

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How long have you been planning THIS!?!

Over the past several months, as I spend more time listening to God and less time listening to myself... He has begun showing me some of His plans. As He has done so, I keep thinking, "Really? Are you sure?"

While I was running on Sunday night and having a little conversation with God (it feels weird to say I was praying... because I talk to Him all day long... my eyes are open, my hands are often busy, and I'm almost never sitting still... but we talk to each other.) So I'm having this conversation and a memory pops into my mind...

Eight years ago I was living in "Christian Lite" mode... easy to do. Lots of people do it every day and I know I have, off and on, for a long time...

Anyway, not long after my youngest was born, I received a Christian Women's magazine in the mail. One of the articles I was reading about was especially interesting to me, but I remember having this inward conversation... "I could explain what she is trying to say in a way that more women would understand... but to be credible I'd have to stop living the way I am living..." and I put it down and never looked at it again...

Now, did this incident happen because I was ready to begin the journey then and I just didn't listen? Or, was this something that happened then... so that He could remind me of it now, so that I would KNOW it had been His plan all along?

I don't know. That isn't the question I needed answered... He answered the one I needed answered. I wanted to know He knew all of this was going to happen as STILL wanted me to do what I feel Him calling me to do.

He, in all of His PERFECTION knew each and every choice and mistake that I was going to make over the years... and He STILL called me to this.

Does speaking publicly still scare me to death? Yes. I can't even say I haven't considered turning and running and doing the opposite of what I know I should do. I could listen to the lies of the enemy that wants me to back down from this challenge...  But someone reminded me today... I AM NOT THAT GIRL ANYMORE... He chose me to do what I am about to do... and that means that if He puts me in an arena speaking to 5000, or in a small church speaking to 10... I can do it. Because HE SAID SO!

I also need to remember that I am constantly seeking His will now... and I definitely wasn't back then. So, when I mess up, it isn't the end of the world... it's all part of the process... He knows I'm not perfect... if I was, I wouldn't need Him...  So last night, when I totally blew up at my kids who were doing their best to make me crazy, He said... don't forget that one... it'll probably be part of a story you are telling others some day to help them get through this very thing...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fear Rising...

I have prayed over and over for the outcome that I want in the upcoming custody trial. I know that this little girl belongs with her mom and her siblings. I know that we are what is best for her. It hurts me to see the way her dad manipulates her...

So here is my question... as I keep praying for God to do what is right for her in the upcoming custody hearing... I KNOW that what is best is for her to be here. Nobody who knows us questions this.

But I also know that sometimes God allows things to happen that we don't expect... for various reasons that we may never know... What if He decides to let the other lawyer pull the wool over the judge's eyes? What if there is a lesson here I am supposed to learn?

What if, like He did with Job, God allows something awful to happen... regardless of my righteousness in Him... regardless of how far I have come with His help... regardless of how I give Him the glory.

I know that God has not given me a spirit of fear... but how do I get rid of these feelings? How do find my confidence again?

Fifteen days to go...

(Edited...) Wow... how long ago did I post about a peace that passes all understanding? And now I go on and on about not knowing... praying for continued peace... even if God does allow the worst, He will work all things for the good...

Thank you Lord for a little bit of clarity this morning... and a confirmation that sometimes I don't really need to write to get things out... but to just go to sleep and see if things don't look a little brighter in the morning. Amen.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

God is my Defender

Okay, I'll admit it... I'm scared.

I met with my lawyer this week as we are just 3 weeks away from a full day of court proceedings to determine who will have custody of my youngest daughter. My lawyer says her dad has no chance... but from the barrage of emails and texts I am receiving... making demands and threats... his lawyer is telling him the same thing.

The scared part of me wants to give in to his demands. Bend over backwards even more... so that he will just stop being so mean. But I know better... he is never happy... nothing is ever enough.

My lawyer says I am a saint... Twice when he was broke I gave him a job. When he was in the hospital, I ran errands for him and took our daughter up to see him twice! All while he was posting nasty things about me on Facebook... on the laptop that I picked up for him from his apartment.

Now that we are out of Galesburg, he knows he has no cop friends to protect him... so he hasn't been physically violent or threatening... but he is hurting a little girl emotionally and calling it "love"... I'd rather he threaten me again. At least I can call the police for that... or claim self defense.

For a long time, one of the things I loved about a certain long-term ex-boyfriend was that when my daughter's father gave me crap, the boyfriend would step in between us. He would step up to defend me. (In hindsight it seems like it was less for my protection and more for his ego... you know, can't let another man belittle me... that was his job... that's a whole different post) But I loved him for defending me.

How often I have longed for that part of the relationship again. What girl doesn't want to feel protected, defended, cared for... Who doesn't want to be held and told that everything is going to be okay?

But short of the physical person to wrap their arms around me... I know that I already have that... I just have to trust that God will be my defender.

I am praying this Psalm right now... unable to sleep... needing to get this all out...

59 God, save me from my enemies.
    Protect me from those who come against me.
Save me from those who do evil
    and from murderers.

Look, they are waiting to ambush me.
    Cruel people attack me,
    but I have not sinned or done wrong, Lord.
I have done nothing wrong, but they are ready to attack me.
    Wake up to help me, and look.
You are the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel.
    Arise and punish those people.
    Do not give those traitors any mercy. Selah

They come back at night.
    Like dogs they growl and roam around the city.
Notice what comes from their mouths.
    Insults come from their lips,
    because they say, “Who’s listening?”
But, Lord, you laugh at them;
    you make fun of all of them.

God, my strength, I am looking to you,
    because God is my defender.
10 My God loves me, and he goes in front of me.
    He will help me defeat my enemies.
11 Lord, our protector, do not kill them, or my people will forget.
    With your power scatter them and defeat them.
12 They sin by what they say;
    they sin with their words.
They curse and tell lies,
    so let their pride trap them.
13 Destroy them in your anger;
    destroy them completely!
Then they will know
    that God rules over Israel
    and to the ends of the earth. Selah

14 They come back at night.
    Like dogs they growl
    and roam around the city.
15 They wander about looking for food,
    and they howl if they do not find enough.
16 But I will sing about your strength.
    In the morning I will sing about your love.
You are my defender,
    my place of safety in times of trouble.
17 God, my strength, I will sing praises to you.
    God, my defender, you are the God who loves me.