Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Empty Chair




Last night, as I lay dreaming, God took my hand, and we walked. We walked to His table. His table of peace, His table of blessings, His table of love, mercy and kindness.

I saw the chairs, so very many of them, each holding a child of God, partaking of their inheritance;  these children of His were steeped in beauty and wonder and I wanted nothing more in that moment than to find my chair and enjoy the rest everyone else was savoring. I was in awe. Nothing in the world had prepared me for a time such as this, nothing ever could.

As we walked, hand in hand, side by side, not as two, but as one..I saw what He saw, I felt what He felt. In that moment I was Him, and He was me, and it was perfect.

As we wove our way down the meandering path of perfection, smiling, laughing and loving each person we passed, I began to notice the empty chairs, not many, but still enough that the absence of presence seemed out of place-but more than that, these chairs were lonely, they hurt with a longing I couldn’t comprehend, I didn’t want to, but somehow in my deepest being, walking next to my Savior, I knew what He knew, I still felt what He felt, and it wasn’t the chairs carrying the deep ache and mournful longing, it was Jesus.  In spite of all the beauty surrounding this immeasurable table of joy, I felt the sadness. I felt His sadness.

Then I saw it, a familiar chair. Although I knew I had never seen it before, it beckoned to me, like an old friend. Reluctantly, I released His hand and walked over to the object silently calling out to me. I put my hand on the carved wooden back, but there were no answers to be found in the chair. He knew and waited in silence for me to ask.

“God” I said, “why do I feel as if I know this spot? How can a simple object feel so familiar?”

He looked at me with a great sadness, a look of such deep mourning that I wanted to take my question back, grab His hand, and continue on in blissful ignorance. But it was too late, He replied “this chair belonged to Danny”.

“I don’t understand” I replied in barely a whisper, “I knew Danny, she was the kindest person I ever met. There were so many people gathered around her final resting spot, so many lives she had touched just waiting to say goodbye. Why God, why is her chair empty?”

And in that very moment I knew, as I looked at Jesus and heard His reply, these words will be forever etched on my heart, “I knew Danny too He said, but she didn’t know me.”

And then I woke up, in my own bed, looking at my own walls, crying silent tears for what could never be, and hoping beyond hope that it was just a dream, a reminder, a wake- up call to where my focus truly needs to be.

We spend so much time mourning the empty chairs here in this world, missing those who are away from us for just a breath until we see them again. But, do we ever stop to think of the eternally empty chairs?

It’s time to fill them up!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A new beginning



I'm going to be honest, I forgot about this blog. It's amazing, and incredibly scary how quickly life is able to distract us, especially from something so rewarding as sharing my experiences with those who understand, or simply need to hear that it's going to be ok, life does change for the better.

With that being said, I'm going to start my new beginning (blogging again) by posting a testimony I shared with my church family. I hope listening and watching this video helps you to understand me a little more...I start speaking about the 13 minute mark.

Check back often, as I do plan on updating more than once every few years.

https://www.facebook.com/sean.mueller.58/videos/1367672209919836/


Friday, September 2, 2011

That one night....

 It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I know. I’ve made all sorts of excuses to myself in order to justify these quiet pages, but, the bottom line is simplistic (in words anyway). I’ve been afraid.
Each time I journey to the past, it brings about darkness which I had tucked away, buried in a mental box, not meant for visitations.
Then I ask myself, what good comes from my newfound light if I leave others in the dark simply because I don’t care to go back and share where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’d like to be? I’d say it makes me somewhat selfish.
So, rather than traverse the darkness in fear, I bring my light with me, slaying shadows that lurk, waiting to drag me back into what was. I’m once again ready to travel back, armed with His loving presence.
When I take a moment to reflect on my life, I can see moments in which God was reaching out to me, cradling me in His arms, even at times when I felt completely alone. I didn’t feel His presence then, because I didn’t know Him or believe that He existed, especially for someone so completely broken, as I was.
When I was in the third grade, my school offered an after school Bible study. (Yes, this was still allowed in the 70’s.) I went, not because I wanted to hear about Jesus, but to stay away from home a little longer. While attending, I said a prayer with one of the teachers, all I remember was her saying “now you’re saved”. Saved from what? I had no idea, and didn’t really give it much thought until years later, reflecting on times my life should have ended, but didn’t. I see now that He was with me, holding onto me, even though I didn’t know who He was.
Sometimes, living a life of abuse leaves you seeking the same, grasping what’s familiar, regardless of the feeling of pain and humiliation in which you’re left to drown.  It’s difficult to search for something better when you feel unworthy of the happiness you so desperately crave. Satan feeds us lies, and those who are starving, hungering for something they don’t know how to find will gobble up those untruths, swallowing them with gusto and beg for more.  I know, because I once ate them every day; filling myself with his lies was as natural as taking a breath of air.
I didn’t want to live, yet I didn’t know how to die, so I took roundabout paths, seeking an end through volatile relationships, attracted to the same type of men I had grown up with, those who dominated me, controlling my life and steering me down destructive paths. We (me and them) were all nothing more than puppets of the world, allowing ourselves to be led by an unseen enemy. Knowing this has allowed me to forgive, something I thought I could never do. More so, I’ve forgiven myself for being led down life’s dark corridors, walking hand in hand with evil and allowing those lies to take root and grow for so long.
I’ve debated whether or not to share a certain memory, but it has been nudging the recesses of my mind, almost as if asking to be released and shared with someone who may understand. Someone out there knows what I was feeling and needs to realize that His love can and will prevail.
During my early 20’s, I was in a completely abusive relationship. (one of many) I knew the person I was with didn’t really care for me, but since I didn’t care for myself either, I stayed, thinking we were on equal terms in the department of “who cares”. If I had known how deep the evil he carried within was rooted, I may have scurried away, then again, perhaps not.
One night, during a frequent argument, he said “I’ve had it with you” and proceeded to drag me out to the car, shoving me into the passenger seat and slamming the door before getting behind the wheel. It was a hot summer night, but the clinging humidity did nothing to warm me as chills ran up and down my body. He’d been angry before, but this was different.
I was crying, silent tears leaving a trail of warmth on my fear frozen features. I had no idea where we were going, I’m not even sure I cared…until I saw it.  There, lying on the seat between us was a gun. Comprehension dawned quickly. My eyes raced from the seat to his, and there was all the confirmation that was needed. He was going to kill me! A slight nod in my direction erased any doubts I may have had.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t fear that engulfed me, rather an overwhelming feeling of peace. It was almost over, this life, this pain, this complete emptiness was about to disappear as I drew my last breath. I was resigned to my fate, even looking forward to the end.
It was late and the baseball field he pulled into was empty. Only those looking for trouble were out that late in the city, or, those heading for it.
Turning off the car’s engine, he picked up the gun, pointed it at me and told me to get out. I did so slowly, taking in my surroundings, trying to memorize every detail of my last moments. The fear still hadn’t come, only the realization that this was the end. There were no regrets dancing through my mind, I’m not even sure there were any thoughts other than “over, over, over, it’s almost over”.  It’s somewhat difficult for me to reflect on that night and realize that I was somewhat giddy with relief, but yet, that’s exactly how I felt.
He pointed the gun at me and told me to start walking. Obeying his command, I moved forward, the sound of crunching gravel under my feet as I took what I believed to be my final walk seemed as loud as firecrackers going off with each step I took.
I continued moving forward, thoughts of “this is it, this is it” screaming in my head. I started wondering about the pain, would it hurt? How long would it be before I succumbed to complete darkness?
I was trembling, the anticipation causing my ice cold limbs to sweat profusely. I wanted to run, scream, shout, but there I stood, frozen, waiting, allowing my puppet strings to be pulled in one final dance of life.  Just when I thought I couldn’t stand another moment of suspense, he said the words that would shame me for years to come. “sorry bitch, you’re not worth it”. He then got in the car and drove away, leaving me alone with my humiliation.
I crumpled to the ground, not in relief over being alive, but in utter despair that I wasn’t dead, as his words screamed in my head, “you’re not worth it”, over and over.
Perhaps you’re wondering if I went back to him after that, and the answer is a sad “yes”.  Not for long, but any moment with that monster was too long.  I walked back to our little rented house that night and apologized for making him so angry.  Weakness enveloped me like a long lost friend as I stood there, waiting for him to take me back, which of course he did. How fun for him to have such a malleable partner, someone to bend at his will.
Looking back now, I wonder how differently that night may have been had those Bible teachers gone to another school, had I never invited Jesus into my heart. He was there with me, I know that now. He kept me alive, not because “I wasn’t worth it” but because I AM WORTH IT.
You, my sisters, are worth it too! God Bless

I know many have left comments on my past posts and I apologize if I didn’t respond to you. For some reason I can’t leave a comment on my own or anyone else’s page. If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know. Thank you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alone

Alone. –adjective (used predicatively)
1.
separate, apart, or isolated from others: I want to be alone.
2.
to the exclusion of all others or all else: One cannot live by bread alone.

What a sad word that is. Sometimes I see it and can’t help but pause, reflect, remember that it is exactly what I once craved; Complete and absolute solitude.
Sadly, we don’t realize how clever Satan is until we find ourselves in the light and take the opportunity to look back at the deception we allowed ourselves to wallow in, the whispered lies reaching deep into a vulnerable heart and wrapping dark tendrils of untruth around our very existence.
Because I was abused, I believed that I was unworthy to experience what others had. I didn’t think it was ok to smile, be joyful, and bask in life because I had been broken and continued to feel as though the pieces would never be put back together.
Each day we self edit our life narratives, picking and choosing which memories to share and which to hide in the dark corners of our minds. Eventually, those corners become full, overflowing and spilling into our presumed happiness. I say “presumed” because hiding the memories means we haven’t yet learned to give them over and let His hands cradle the pain.
I can only wonder how many others like me, (those like I once was), are out there? How many women are huddling under their secrets, afraid to let go of what has become their normal and grasp the light rather than shrink from it.
Are you clinging to the shadows? Do you wake up each day wondering why you’re even bothering to open your eyes? I remember those days so well. I want to remember so that I can fully appreciate what I now have. The good news is that I no longer have to carry the burden of pain myself. I have given my cares over to God’s loving hands and am flying free for the first time.
Are you ready?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Your bucket list?

I've been somewhat uninspired lately. I'm not sure why, only that I felt the need to write about something important, something that touched people, so I've been waiting.
In the midst of that self-induced limbo, I came across a blog belonging to the most amazing 15 year old. She is dying of cancer and started writing very recently to update her friends and family on her progress. It seems to have taken on a wildfire mentality and you can't help but spend a few moments reflecting on your own life as you read it.
I may even have to start my own bucket list. I wonder, what would be on yours?

Here is the comment I left for her..

"Alice, life isn't about how long we live, but how we live it and the imprint we leave behind.
You, my beautiful girl have done more in the span of a a few weeks than most people manage in a lifetime.
I know you won't be able to accomplish everything on your bucket list, and that's ok because no one ever does. Our lists grow with us and keep getting bigger; so don't ever regret not being able to do all you wanted, just enjoy every moment doing what you can.
I don't know you, but I love who you are! God Bless "

Please visit her blog and leave a word of encouragement.

http://alicepyne.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Quiet Goodbye

We’ve all heard of, perhaps even known someone who quietly killed themselves. I’m not referring to a peaceful death, rather one that leaves the survivors baffled because there was no note left behind, no final farewell in which the reasons for such finality are explained.
Why would someone do this?  I can’t answer for everyone, only myself, someone who overcame a deep desire for death.
The majority of my life has been spent in a pattern of self destruction, finding ways to ensure the shortest survival possible.  Unhappiness has a way of breeding negativity in every area of your life. Even during the rare moment of an uplifted outlook you still hide a feeling of impending doom behind the smile the world sees, waiting for the rare glimpse into serenity to pass so you can once again find yourself cloaked in a world of gray.
It wasn’t depression I suffered from, rather, low self-worth, a feeling of not belonging or even being wanted.  I’m sure a psychiatrist would have prescribed medications to mask the moods, but at what cost? Losing the essence of who I am? It wasn’t medicine that was needed, it was fulfillment.
Before I found the answer to happiness, I sought an escape. As a teen I would take ½ a bottle of pain medicine before going to bed, kind of bargain with myself; if I wake up, I’m meant to live one more day, if not, then I wasn’t.  I would compose long goodbye letters in my head, filled with a message meant to hurt those who were left behind.  I would tell my mother how weak she was, how much I resented her for not protecting me. My brother would know how much his touches sickened me, how dirty I felt every time I looked at him. There were no words for my father, I never composed his letter there simply weren’t enough angry words to pacify my thoughts.
I never put the words on paper because under all the hurt, the anger and shame, there was still a love for these people in my heart, buried somewhere under the pain was a kernel of hope that maybe, just maybe they actually loved me too, and for that reason I couldn’t find it in myself to hurt them with words, just in case I didn’t wake up.
There were other times, other notes, other people who were the mental recipients of my wrath, but in the end, goodness overcame the dark.  God’s love was invited into my heart and He poured it willingly.
 I stopped wishing for the end a year ago. It’s amazing how much a life can be transformed once your eyes are opened to the light, the Life. There are so many hurting people out there, crippled by their pain, seeking solace in suicide because no one took the time to pour love into them, to show them it’s not the worlds approval they need to seek, rather the purest most amazing love available, their Fathers.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

The day I hated God

A life spent lacking in love’s knowledge led me to a desperate search for the elusive secret others seemed to be whispering about, sharing with each other, and leaving me out of.
10/29/87
I kept thinking the heat would smother me before my shift at the shoe store ended that day. I had worn an oversized sweater to hide a middle that had yet to begin thickening.  I was in a hurry for things to happen, the little bump, the first flutter, labor, and then the ultimate gift, holding my baby. I was 18, and completely adoring the idea of finally being able to love and be loved; a child to call my own.
It wasn’t a secret, not really, I had no one to answer to; yet for those blessed 8 weeks I kept the news of my pregnancy to myself. This was all mine, it was my baby, my life, my love.  I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I knew everyone’s secret, I felt it growing day by day, but instead held the knowledge close to my heart. If I told, that meant sharing and I was greedy right then, drinking in and becoming drunk on this newfound feeling inside of me.
The first pain hit as I bent down to stuff another woman’s foot into an overpriced shoe meant for fashion, not comfort.  It wasn’t alarming, not yet, just an unexpected cramp which I decided to blame on all of the stretching for boxes on high shelves, the pressure of trying to please unpleasant customers, and the constant ups and downs of shoes on, shoes off.  
I don’t remember when the waves of pain hit, only the panic, the immediate feeling of loss over something I had waited so long to find. I was young, na├»ve, but not stupid. I knew what was happening. Although I know I rushed to the employee bathroom, it now seems to have taken forever to reach.  I’m sure it was only a few seconds, but my mental sojourn to the past takes long minutes to locate the door when wandering down that corridor of memory. Perhaps it’s my way of holding onto that little life that was inside of me for just a bit longer. A way of remembering the joy just a moment more before I turn the handle, open the door and get hit once again with overwhelming loss.
I tried to pretend the sticky feeling wasn’t there, coating my undergarments with little pieces of life; tried telling myself the pain was normal, just my body growing, stretching and making room for the baby I wanted so badly. I even stooped so low as to pray to a God I had no belief in to save this little gift inside of me.  The pretending was over the moment I sat down and watched the bowls water become tinted with the blood flowing freely from my body. The pain was intense, the loneliness of loss overwhelming, but I turned it off, choosing instead to shield myself once again in numbness, feeling punished for ever wanting to feel life, and know love.
Forgetting I had been pregnant just a breath ago, I reached for the community box of tampons and went through the steps I had taken each month for years prior, refusing to acknowledge  that this was no normal period. It was the “plop” of falling cotton that brought me back to reality. Looking down, I saw the tampon I had just inserted floating in the water, becoming bloated with fluid, reminding me that my body was going through the birthing process, dilating in order to expel the life I wanted so badly. I hated God, I hated life, I shut down, almost completely. Going into auto-pilot I found a pad, made sure there were no tell tale remnants of the horror I had just gone through, opened the door and went back to work. 
My expression must have made it obvious that something monumental had just happened, something life changing and painful, but no one asked. I had kept a distance all these months from my co-workers and they had no desire to get close now, especially now when my face must have been stuck in a silent scream of “stay away!”
I was in the bathroom every 30 minutes, bleeding, changing, bleeding, changing, but still the numbness remained. It was near the end of my work day when the fog finally cleared long enough for me to wonder at a minute splash as I sat there once again. Looking down, it didn’t take long for me to realize what was in that porcelain bowl of water; My life, my essence, my baby, floating in waste, waiting to be flushed and mixed with life’s garbage. The numbness receded, replaced by a wave of hopeless emotion as I stood there trying to find the courage to push the handle and watch this little piece of me swirl down the drain, leaving me forever.
It was a knock on the door that told me I had spent too long looking, too long trying to conjure non-existent courage.  I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t, I couldn’t, I could not do it!
My hands shook as I held the little Dixie cup and gently scooped this little piece of flesh, my heart, my blood, from its watery grave. I didn’t look at it, couldn’t bring myself to look closely at this tiny, tiny creature. Yes, that’s what it had become. All feelings of love had flowed out of me with this lost life. A moment later I left the bathroom, my little burden wrapped in paper towels and put it in my hand bag.
My purse became my own elephant in that little break room. I could hear it crying out to me from the sales floor. Reaching out, grabbing hold of my heart each time I perused the stock shelves for a box of shoes. By the time I clocked out, my mind was screaming for freedom from the chains that were wrapping around it, tying me to the burden of a life lost, cradled in a little cup, a paper coffin.
The weight of my purse was like a brick as I walked out of the mall that night. I couldn’t stand the thought of what was inside, could no longer bear the thought of having my tiny dead baby with me a moment longer. I had to let go. I didn’t look as I reached into my bag, grabbing hold of this little piece of me one last time. Walking past the community dumpster, I tossed it in, no goodbyes, no tears, only blessed numbness.
It’s been almost 24 years and there are still days I wonder what might have been, what could have been had I done things differently. Could a doctor have saved my baby? Should I have flushed and never looked at what had once been growing in me, depending on me for life? Was I wrong in what I did that night?
I have never shared this tale before now, choosing instead to hold it close as a personal burden to be carried, another choice gone wrong. Every decision we make sends ripples throughout our life’s ocean and I now realize that there is only one way in which to calm the waves, bring peace to our waters.
I blamed God, denied Him in my need to find reasons for all of the pain my life piled upon me. I now know it wasn’t God’s hand that caused so much hurt, rather the world’s evil, Satan himself that brings destruction.  I may not have known it at the time, but Jesus was with me that day. He cried with me, took the pain with me and lay in bed with me for the days after as I contemplated ending it all. He was my strength when I had none left of my own.
I don’t have the answers for why I lost something I so desperately wanted, I no longer need them. I do know though, had I known God’s love at that time, I wouldn’t have sought so hard to find it in all the wrong places.
 Thank you Jesus for showing me what true love really is.