You Matter

I’m trying one of those dating websites… again

Having tried this before, most recently last year, I realize that it seems silly to do it yet again.  What’s the definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result”.  Well, I’m not doing the same thing this time, not really. I mean, yes, I signed up on the site but this time I’m not going to delete my profile the minute one man shows he’s a jerk, or another only wants a booty call.  Plus my mother said I should try again, lol.

I’m also in a different frame of mind now.  I am not doing it because I feel a I need a man to be whole, to feel wanted or loved.  I’m doing it because I’d really like to have a man in my life, I’d like to be married again, but not in the sense of, in the words of Jerry McGuire “You complete me”.  I’m already complete, I’d just like some icing for my cake.

I’ve already met with one man.  He was very nice, we had a good chat and some wine but that was all, no connection, and that’s perfectly fine.  Just the fact that he showed up was a step above the last guy I’d spoken with from a dating site.

I’m chatting to a couple other gentlemen right now, through the site only, and it’s just nice.  I’ve also turned down a few men, politely telling them that I didn’t feel we’d make a match but good luck to them, that sort of thing, as one man did with me as well.  It’s the polite thing to do, wouldn’t you say?  One man didn’t agree…

On my profile I’d stated that I’d like to be married.  It’s a question everyone has to answer and you can say you just want friendship, just dating, long-term etc.  I opened the app last night and a man had sent me a message.  All he said was “I’d marry you”.  Yes, a bit corny since all he knew about me was what was on my profile.  I went to his profile, read through things, looked at his pictures (no, that’s not shallow, there has to be a physical attraction) and decided I’d tell him I was not interested.

His reply was “I guess I’ll have to spend my millions on someone else.  You think you’re that much of a catch?? YAWN!”

You know, the first thing that popped into my head (after “what an ass”) was that I didn’t reply to him thinking I was a catch….

Wait, WHAT??

The HELL I’m not!

I AM a great catch, thank you very much!  I’m intelligent, I treat people with respect, I have a good sense of humor, a strong faith, am loving and loyal to my family and friends.  I have a lot to offer and expect the same.  So, I wrote him back…

“I am a great catch for the right man, just like you will be a catch for the right woman.  I thought I would at least respond to your message but maybe I should have ignored you completely.  Have a nice life.”

Yes, there is a bit of snark there but hey, he had no right to judge me just by one picture and a short paragraph in my profile. Justifiable snark, in my book.

How often do we do that though, judge someone superficially.  I’ll bet we do it more than we’d like to admit, I’m sure I do even though I try not to be a judgmental person.  Words can be so hurtful, if we let them. Especially if we are not rooted in the belief that God put us here for a reason.  WE matter to HIM or we wouldn’t be here, and that’s what really counts.

So, I’ll stay on the site, meet up with a few more gentlemen for coffee or drinks.  Maybe I’ll meet that special someone and fall in love, maybe I won’t.  All I know for sure is I DO MATTER, to the One who matters most.  HE knows I’m a catch, and so are you.

Infinite Life

About a month ago I jumped onto the Candy Crush bandwagon…

Some of you may be thinking “What took you so long”, others are possibly thinking “I would NEVER play that game just because so many people do, I don’t want to be a joiner”.  Well, I used to think the later but then decided to see what all the fuss was about.  I totally believe all the hype now, it is definitely addictive!

This past Saturday I was sitting on my couch playing a few levels.  If you are not familiar with the game, you have a limited number of lives with which to match up similar candies so they “crush” each other and you can even create other candies depending on how many of them you match up.  Some of the levels have you clearing “jelly” which appears as a clear bubble around the candies, others have you collecting fruit, etc.   As you progress in the game you get to levels where you can collect special wrapped candies.  Once you’ve collected enough of them you win prizes, one of which is “Infinite Life”.

Now, this infinite life isn’t actually infinite, you only get it for a few hours.  I found myself at such a point on Saturday and I took full advantage, playing each level over and over again until I was successful at whatever task was required and then moved to the next one, you get the picture.  I finally got to the end of the levels in that particular set and was informed I’d have to wait 72hrs before moving to the next group.  I could move up faster if I paid a fee but I was not going to do that, I’d just be patient and wait.

When I glanced up at the clock I realized I’d been playing for two and a half hours.  2 1/2 hours!!  As I came out of my sugar crush stupor, the day started to come back into focus.  I heard children laughing outside, dogs barking in the dog run as they played with their owners, a slight breeze coming in my open balcony door.  I also felt the soreness of my backside from sitting so long in one position and my fingers were a bit stiff from holding my phone.

I was missing a beautiful day for a chance to have infinite life … in a game.

I couldn’t help but compare the eternal life we get through Jesus Christ with this episode of abandon.  How different it is!  The game, and this applies to any number of video games, can captivate us in the worst way – stealing time if we let it.  We miss out on life, the joys around us.

As for infinite life, in the game it’s a sham but the enemy can use that desire in us to “move up” or “win” and we become enthralled.  With eternal life through Christ, we don’t have to win anything or collect good deeds in order to have everlasting life through Christ, we just have to believe, have faith, and accept Him as our savior.  He already paid the price, and the life HE offers is NOT limited to just a few hours.  We won’t miss out on the beauty around us when we go home, we’ll be a part of it!

I’m not saying video games are an instrument of the devil, but just like anything else, he can use them and make us become obsessed by them.  I still enjoy Candy Crush, but I limit my playing time, I watch the clock and when my time is up I stop.  Don’t let the enemy use a fun distraction to rob you of more important things.  Keep to a time limit so you can enjoy all the other joys this life has for you.

Later today I think I’ll see if I can reach level 54…

 

 

 

Where to start…

It has been such a long time since I posted anything, so much has been going on.

I had a job for a few months with a friend, helping her with her podcast, but unfortunately I will not be able to continue with her for financial reasons so I’m once again looking for a job.  I’ve been applying to all kinds of companies from office worker to retail to customer service, the one area I have tons of experience in, and nothing is happening.  It’s really quite depressing.

I was also recently diagnosed with chronic depression, go figure.  So, I’m looking for work again, have no money again, and no one seems to want to hire me.  Seriously, it’s annoying.  I got really mad at God the other day.  I just wanted to be out of this difficult season and can’t understand why I’m still in it!  What the heck, right??  I’m tired of it, over it.  Is there something I haven’t learned?  Have I not been patient? Have I not come to You in prayer enough?  Have I not trusted You enough?  Just let it be over already!  I want stable income and less stress and to be able to pay for gas and food without relying on others.  Why can’t I have that???

Frustration, annoyance, anger…

My twin sister reminded me that it’s okay to be angry, even at God.  Read Psalms, she said, David got plenty angry.  It doesn’t mean  you don’t still trust that God will do what He needs to, or that you don’t believe anymore.  It’s normal to be upset when you don’t understand something, and really, how often does God explain Himself?  I guess that’s what belief is, trusting that God has everything handled even when we can’t see it, even when life is hard, even through the anger.

And it’s Really. Hard. Right. Now.

The one thing I continually tell myself is this: God is mighty. God is faithful. God’s got this.  Joshua 1:9 comes to mind:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So I’m trying, I’m really trying.

I had  a dream the other night.  I was at this store, like a little general store, the kind that has everything you need.  The store was on this hill near a river.  I walked up this path and when I turned around the path was flooded!  I looked to my right and there were people actually jumping into the rushing water to be carried away, but I was safe on a hill.  Across the river there was an even larger body of water, like a huge lake.  The waves on the lake were gigantic, out of proportion big, know what I mean?  I felt very small but I wasn’t afraid of it, it was amazing and beautiful, and I was safe.  I thought it was the weirdest dream, I couldn’t make sense of it.  Then I read Psalm 124 that morning.

“If the Lord had not been on our side—
    let Israel say—
if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
    would have swept us away.

Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.”

God was reminding me of His power, that He is keeping me safe and will provide all I need.

Don’t you just love that?!  I felt so much better after that and even though I am still job searching and still feel somewhat concerned, because I am human, the level of stress has lessened quite a bit.  It’s such a lovely feeling.

On a completely different note, my oldest daughter is getting married over Memorial Day weekend!  She’s done such a good job organizing everything, all that’s left is the flowers and of course those can’t be done until just before the wedding.  Her dress is at the bridal shop getting pressed this week and one of my sister’s and I will have the veil completed by the end of this week.  I have a dress, a cute bag and now only need shoes.  Lots of people will be here, family is coming into town next week, it’s going to be a fabulous celebration!

So, as you can see, it’s been a very up and down year for me so far.  I am so thankful for my family, good friends and great church support.  Thank you, Lord, for holding me together and for reminding me that through it all, You will always be there!

 

Suitcases

I have a job!

Well, technically it’s just expanded from what I was doing, helping my friend with her podcast, BUT I’m with her daily now and actually learning how to be a full radio show producer.  It’s fun, it’s exciting learning something new and it appears I have an innate skill for the role.  I’m really enjoying myself and, at the same time, teaming up with a friend in a wonderful ministry.  I love it!

It is also a big step of faith because we don’t quite have the income yet to pay me regularly.

This season of unemployment has been one big faith trip for me.  Seriously, it’s been a TRIP!  Many of you probably think I’m crazy, accepting a full-time job that won’t be able to pay me a sustainable salary from the get-go.  Heck, had something like this happened to me just a few short years ago I’d agree with you!  There’s no way I would have felt comfortable going without a job for so long.

Something I’ve learned, though, through the past 8 months, is that it’s not all up to me!  In fact, not a lot is up to any of us.  God has a specific design and will put us where HE needs us.  He will also REMOVE us from where we are not meant to be, and not always seamlessly, like He did with me last May.

HE knew it wasn’t a risk for me to be unemployed, because HE was taking care of all of it.  He is here to lift the load, we only have to trust Him.  Yes, that can be easier said than done, but it CAN be done.

Any worry I had He relieved swiftly, any unease of spirit He calmed gently, any burden weighing me down He lifted powerfully.  He provided not only financially but relationally as well.  I’ve recently made some new friends and reconnected with some people I knew years ago and it’s been a real blessing, to say the least.  Every time I turn around He’s doing something else, like providing this computer on which I’m composing this blog!

He has helped me get through a long state of depression with the help of friends, prayer and spending time in His word every day.  Of everything I have learned, that is the most important, and I am faithfully reading in my Bible every day.  Another thing that has helped is praising.  I praise His work every day, in my life, in my children’s lives, in my friend’s lives.

Suitcases

We don’t have to be afraid, we don’t have to carry those suitcases full of earthly burdens.  He will take care of us – always and forever.

Never doubt it!

 

The Changes a Year Can Bring

Now that the end of the year is coming I decided to take a look back.  I also figured since I hadn’t written anything in over a month that it was time!

The year started off fairly normal.  I had my same full time job that I disliked but it was income.  I was almost at a year in my apartment that I loved.  Kids were in school, car was still running.  Just a normal life.

In March I helped launch a new campus for my church and started producing the service every Sunday, which I loved.

Then, at the end of May, I was laid off.  I had no prospects for a job and, honestly, felt like God was telling me to wait for the right one instead of just taking anything that came along.

Around the middle of June I started helping a friend with her podcast, booking guests and managing her calendar.  In July I broke through a barrier of unforgiveness about an abortion.  In August I wrote about it publicly, in September I went on my friend’s podcast to talk about it publicly.

In the last 3 months of the year I’ve been to a worship leader’s conference, helped produce a women’s conference, spoken about my abortion at church, started working alongside a wonderful group of women on some possibilities for next year AND was hired as a volunteer programming coordinator for the Denver Comic Con coming up next June.

Sounds great right?  Doing things I like to do, whether or not I was getting paid to do them, really has been fun.

These are not the things that have made the biggest impact on my year though.

What has made the most impact has been spending more time with God, in the word.  It’s been having time to focus on my friends and family and not be stressed.   Most of all, it’s been my growing trust in God’s provision.

I am in my seventh month of unemployment but I am also still in my lovely apartment, still have my car, still have food, can still purchase gas, am still helping at church and with my friend’s podcast.  Through it all, while I can’t say I never worry, I am quicker to remember how God has provided over all these months.  Anonymous gifts, remarkable generosity and unending support from everyone I know, and some I don’t.

I still believe God is going to bring me to the exact job He wants me in and that, until then, He will take care of things.  I’ve asked Him to make it as clear as day where He wants me and I trust that will happen.

I am looking forward to the new year and what possibilities lay ahead.  I never imagined, in all my life, that NOT working, not being able to provide for my family, could be such a positive experience.  In giving up my dependence on what I thought I had to provide, He has shown me what the REAL provider can do, and it’s amazing.

Take a walk

Feeling low again as yet another job interview proves fruitless

I’ve always been more prone to sitting around depressed than doing something about it. I wallow, I’m a wallower.  I’m fighting against that more and more as my state of joblessness stretches toward it’s sixth month.  My unemployment benefits will run out at the beginning of the year and, while I know God has everything covered, I’m struggling to hope today.

Every time I think I see a glimmer at the end of this tunnel it gets snuffed out.  I know there are plenty of people out there who have a lot more to be depressed about than I do.  I’m not sick, my kids are healthy, I have a home and clothes and a car and WiFi, for crying out loud.  I mean, what is WiFi compared to clean water and shoes for my feet?

All the logical thinking in the world can’t get through to us sometimes, you know?  That’s me today.  I don’t even feel like picking up my bible.  I’m listening to Kari Jobe on YouTube as I write this and even that isn’t helping.  I’m in the middle of a moat filled with black tar.  It’s stinky and sticky, but it’s like I’d rather sit here than make the effort to pull myself out, the drawbridge feels too far out of reach.

I think what I need is to get out of this apartment, take a walk.  Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that can help us, don’t you think?  If you’re feeling like me today, go take a walk.  No music, no phone calls, just go out and enjoy God’s creation and remember, YOU’RE His creation too.

All He creates is good.

Expect the Unexpected

A wonderful thing happened recently…

I just got home today from a three-day worship conference.  It was amazing.  The music was fantastic, the talks were inspiring, the prayers prophetic and being surrounded by hundreds of strangers and a group of friends from church was electric.  There was this unplanned theme that emerged, for me at least, in both the prayers and the breakout sessions I attended.  God will provide whatever you need and He sees YOU, He knows YOU.

Now, for those who have not read my recent blogs let me tell you this is a big deal.  I’ve been unemployed since June of this year.  It’s the longest I’ve gone without a job since, well ever.  I’ve been working since I was fifteen and the only time I did not have a job was four weeks back in 1988, I think.   What God was telling me during this conference was a reminder, a reinforcement message.  He knew I was starting to feel more and more uneasy about not having a job, thinking about money or lack there of to be more specific, so He kindly nudged me back to the right thinking.

The conference was just what I needed to get me out of my funk and I loved being in that huge group of believers just listening and pouring our hearts out to God.

On the way home today I made sure to text my daughter (I was not driving, I promise) to let her know when I’d be back.  She told me there was a surprise for me from a couple of her friends.  When I got home I noticed some boxes of canned soda on the microwave but I didn’t think much of it because a friend of the family had stayed with my daughter while I was away and I assumed she had bought them.  This wasn’t the case, as it turns out.

I opened the fridge and saw a couple of gallons of milk, a baked chicken, five dozen eggs (seriously, 5 dozen, or the same amount Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast eats every morning to get large …) and some chips up on top of the fridge.  I then opened the pantry and saw at least a dozen cans of soup, a few jars of spaghetti sauce, about a dozen boxes of pasta, some cereal and in the freezer some pizzas and little flour tortillas…. Needless to say I was dumbfounded.

I texted my daughter and asked if all that food was from her friends.  She said yes!  I asked where they’d gotten it, she said they’d bought all of it for us.  I then asked if it was with the help of their parents and she said no, it wasn’t.

If you want hope that our teenagers are being used by God to serve others, you just read it.  Two 16-year-old boys, good friend’s with my daughter, who just wanted to help out because they knew I was unemployed.

That’s not all!  I also had two phone calls while at the conference today and when I listened to the messages tonight they are from two companies I’d sent applications to who want to talk to me about a position.  I already had an interview lined up for tomorrow before I left for the conference Tuesday morning so now I have three possibilities for employment.

God is most certainly GOOD and if I was ever in doubt of that I need no more proof of His faithfulness then my own life.

One thing that was said today by Pastor Cash Luna from Guatemala at the conference, something that really impacted me, was this:  “People pray according to their income and not because of faith.  Pray according to what God can do.”

Can I get an AMEN?!

If you’d like to experience a little of what I did over the last few days go to New Life Church, hit the menu icon and go to “Conferences” and then “podcasts”.  There isn’t anything posted yet from this year’s conference but you can choose sessions from last year, which was equally as awesome.

Seek the Lighthouse

It’s the little things that can break us down, if we let them

Yesterday was a day I’d been looking forward to for several weeks.  It was a day when some friends and I got together to talk about future plans and trust and just got to know each other a little better.  It was a great day; sometimes intense, sometimes carefree but overall it was a time of knitting us together as a trusted circle in sisterhood.  By the time our meeting was over and I got home at around 4:00pm I was exhausted, and not just because I’d been awake since 6:00am.  Exhausted in a good way, exhausted in the way you are when you know you’ve accomplished something significant and possibly life-changing.

A couple of hours after I got home it was time to meet up with some friends for a bible study which lasted until around 8:15pm.  I was really ready for bed by then.  I got home, did my getting ready for bed stuff and hit the pillow before 10:00pm.

You’d think, having had such a full day, that I’d be able to close my eyes and fall asleep within minutes.  That did not happen.

I couldn’t turn my brain off.  I kept replaying the day, smiling to myself, remembering the discussions.  That’s when it happened.

It started slowly, one little thought of “You should have said…”.  Then another, “You spent too much time talking about your strengths”, and another “That comment probably made you come across as disingenuous”.  Then an avalanche of negativity about what I should or should not have said or done came roaring in, pulling a dark blanket over the memories of the day.

Why did you use buckwheat flour in the bread, not many people ate it they must not have liked it.

You should have looked people in the eye more when talking about your past

That comment you made was silly

Your new friend is going to think you’re fake

On and on the narrative came, flooding my brain, drowning the positive accomplishments and good feelings of the day.

That’s how the enemy works.  Just little things at first, things you’re willing to ignore, brush aside, until all at once that seems to be all you can think about.  What you should have done or said differently.  What people may or may not have thought of you.  The insidiousness of the lies completely takes over your thoughts, envelopes your spirit, until there is no light.  You have to fight it, banish the darkness.  How can you do that?

Pray

I laid in bed and started praying.  I prayed for my friends, I thanked God for them individually and as a whole.  I thanked Him for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing group of women, for friendship and His love and mercy.  I prayed and praised until the darkness was a faint shadow at the edge of my mind.

Then, and only then, did I finally fall asleep.

“For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:29

Push the darkness out of your mind, knowing that it’s not from God.  He is our shield against all enemies.

See Every Day As A Good Day

The ups and downs of life can be so interesting, can’t they?

I am still unemployed, I wrote about it back in June.  God has taken me through a lot of growing over the past few months.  My last post was about a really big step in this journey of obedience and discovery.  I talked about a couple big things on LifewithLisaWilliams.com.  But, even with all that “purging” I can still fall prey to doubts.

Just in the last couple of days I’ve struggled.  I worried about rent, bills, car payments.  I was depressed, avoided thinking about issues by immersing myself in Netflix shows (Person of Interest is on there now!), wished I had some wine and ate too much chocolate (I’m a stress eater, can you relate?).  I applied for more jobs, talked to my mom, talked to my dad, cried a little…

My biggest concern had been my rent.  I asked God if He still wanted us in this apartment or if I needed to start gathering packing boxes.  So I prayed… and read my bible… and prayed… and read my bible…

This morning I was reading in Proverbs and was reminded of this:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Today, on the last day to pay rent before I started getting socked with a bunch of late fees, I got an unemployment payment.  Coupled with some money I had from a gift I received last week, it would cover my rent.  One issue covered!  That was a big one.

My next concern was the car payment and insurance for said car.  I really didn’t like the idea of sending my 16yr old daughter to school on the city bus.  I knew I needed to trust God, that He would bring me something to help cover those expenses in time to avoid repossession.  I had until the 18th to get a payment in.

And just that quick, a friend from church sent me a message on FB that she and her husband wanted to cover my car/insurance payments this month.  Yes, I cried again…

God has given me some breathing room.  I am continuously amazed at His faithfulness and mercy, blessed beyond measure.

I sent my children a group text, I had to share this with them personally.  Church is more than just gathering together as believers to praise God and learn about walking with Jesus.  It’s about coming alongside each other in prayer, support and letting God work through us to bless others.

Before I get out of bed each day I’m gonna do some praising!  I can’t wait to see what else is in store during this season of my life.  I pray those reading this feel assured that He is looking out for you too!

… and because you just can’t have too much Chris Rice…

Forgiving Abortion

It seems the topic of abortion is always pushed to the forefront politically as a means to an end, to gain favor or show disdain for candidates in just about any race for office.  This blog is not about politics, I’m not running for any office now or in the future.  I am simply a woman who is going to share a story.

Understand that this is not something I ever wanted to share.  Very few people know this story and I was perfectly willing to leave it that way.  It would seem, however, that God had other plans.

When I was about 24 years old I became pregnant.  I remember it was late spring or summer because I didn’t have on any winter clothes when I went to the doctor’s office to confirm the pregnancy. I remember where I was living at the time and I can kind of remember the boy involved.

The other things I remember were being scared, unsure of what to do and basically freaking out.  When I told the boy about the pregnancy he didn’t believe he was the father, which really hurt me and made me feel cheap.  I was a bit promiscuous during that period of my life.  I equated sex with love, or at least it made me feel attractive, something I’d never felt in my life.  I was an insecure, introverted girl who was walking down the wrong path of drugs, alcohol and sex.  I suppose I felt it was validation, even if it was only a one night stand – which in this instance it was.  To me sex meant I wasn’t the homely, unwanted girl I’d imagined myself to be.

I didn’t want to believe I was pregnant, tried to wish it away, cried a lot about it, but of course none of these things changed the reality of my situation.  Questions surfaced: How would I be able to take care of a baby?  What will my family think?  How would I be able to give it up for adoption if I had it?  Everyone will think I’m a “slut”!  How could I have let this happen!  I’m so stupid!  What was I thinking?!

I believed everything the enemy threw at me, everything he wanted me to believe.  I was worthless, I wasn’t strong enough, everyone would hate me, my family would disown me, my friends wouldn’t talk to me…so I chose to terminate the pregnancy.

I didn’t talk about it afterward, really. I just shut the experience away, tried to move on with my life.  At least, that’s what I projected on the outside.  On the inside I was struggling.  I had been raised to believe in God, although I was not even close to living a Christian life at the time, so I was wracked with guilt and shame over my decision while at the same time thinking it was the best choice I had.  I thought my distress would lessen with time so, again, I just avoided thinking or talking about it.  Quite a few years later, I was having a phone conversation with my mother and the subject came up.  I was married at the time and had already given birth to my three children.  I can’t remember exactly why we were talking about it, but I do remember hearing my mother crying on the other end of the phone.  She said “This is the first time you’ve talked to me about your abortion.”  I replied “I thought you’d be disappointed in me, especially since you’d had a miscarriage.”

That was something that added to my guilt.  How could I talk about my decision when there were women in the world, in my own family, who’d had trouble with pregnancy.  How could I look a woman in the eye who had lost a baby or couldn’t even have one and discuss the topic of abortion.  What would they think of me?  I felt like I was a lesser person because of it.  My mother said she was not disappointed, that she loved me no matter what.  Had I continued, moved forward and told others about my decision I probably would have saved myself years of pain.

As those years passed I was ‘successful’, for the most part, at putting the event away.  I purposely did not comment when the topics of pro-life or pro-choice were broached (honestly, I still try to avoid those discussions).  I hated election years because the subject always came up.  On occasion the recessed memory would surface, I’d cry and feel like a failure and then tuck it away again.

Even after I actually started walking a Christian life I still didn’t address my past.  Well, I addressed the drug use and other not-so-nice things I’d done, but I wouldn’t touch that one subject.  I did finally ask God for forgiveness but even that took some time, after all, I had done what I felt was the absolute worst thing I could do.  According to God’s promise and Jesus’ sacrifice I knew He’d been merciful and granted me the forgiveness I craved, but I still couldn’t forgive myself.

Fast forward to last year, around 26 years after the event.  I started feeling like God wanted me to talk about what had happened, what I had chosen to do and how I felt, but I fought it.  I’d start crying anytime I thought about it, and let me tell you those moments came more and more frequently.  I couldn’t shut things down like I used to, it was like the door to that backroom was disintegrating and all those repressed feelings were leaking through.  I’d remind myself over and over that I was forgiven, but still could not bring myself to self-forgiveness.

Fast forward again to this past July.  I joined an online Bible study through Women Who Believe centered around a book called “Untangled” by Carey Scott.  The study was addressing four very distinct tangles most of us have; Shame, Fear, Unworthiness and Unforgiveness.  There was a quiz you could take to find out what your biggest tangle might be and, of course, for me it was Unforgiveness.  I’d read through Carey’s book and recognized so much of myself in its pages that I was actually looking forward to doing this bible study.  Well, all except the last tangle because I knew that was a big part of me.  I wasn’t sure I was ready to finally fully address that area of my past.

The week before the final lesson I was in turmoil.  I was starting to write this post in my head and even knew what song I was going to put at the end of it.  I couldn’t get away from it, couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I was at a friend’s house one day and she could tell something was wrong.  She asked me if I wanted to tell her about what was bothering me and, before I even knew I was going to say anything, it was out of my mouth.  I was scared about what her reaction would be, worried how she would see me.  This was the first time I’d spoken of my abortion to anyone outside my family in over twenty-five years.

A QUARTER OF A CENTURY

You know what happened?  She hugged me, cried with me, and we just talked for about an hour.  I don’t think she fully understood what it meant to me, to be able to tell her my story and know she was not judging me.  She just listened and shared some things of her own too.  I will forever love her friendship because of that safety she granted me.

The day the final bible study lesson was posted, the one on Unforgiveness, I almost couldn’t read it I was crying so much.  Huge, gut-wrenching sobs, that ugly cry – you know what I mean.  That same day – SAME EXACT DAY – a podcast was posted on Life with Lisa Williams.  Toward the end, the person being interviewed on the show opened up about her decision years ago to terminate a pregnancy and how she’d come to terms with that choice.

I was floored.  This was not just some random turn of events.  There was also a blog posted by Carey Scott, same day, talking about the need to forgive ourselves.  Between those three things I was one big, HOT mess.  What was happening?  Why did I have to look so closely at this hurt, God?  I didn’t want to open that wound any further than it already was!  I begged God, please don’t make me go there.

But in my heart I already knew.  I had to open it, I had to go deep and gouge out the infection that was the enemy’s lie and forgive myself.  One thing from the study that really struck me was this:
“We hold stuff against ourselves that the God of the Universe doesn’t. THE God, who created mankind, who is the King of all, the final authority in heaven and earth, the One who was with Moses, and David, and Mary and Paul. That same God who is the one true God…my word, seriously?”  

That was me ALL over.

It was time.  I sat in my room, eyes swollen and a pile of tissues on the desk, and told myself that if I truly believed God forgave me then I had to as well.  So I said the words, and as I did I felt that tangle ease up just a bit.  It was a small change, but it was there.  I knew that wasn’t going to be the end of it.  It wasn’t going to be that easy to replace all those years of guilt.  It was, however, a first step – the one thing every journey needs.

I’ve taken another step since then, told another friend, someone else who gave me the safety and love I needed to express my pain to her.  I have a lot to work through still, it will take time, but I won’t be hiding.  I won’t be shoving my past back in that closet at the far recesses of my memory.  I will not allow the enemy to use it against me anymore.  I will continue to read my bible, pray and seek God every day.  His Word and prayer are the strongest weapons I have against an enemy that would love to see me fall again.

So that’s it.  That’s my story – my deep, dark secret.  Do I wish I had made a different decision?  Of course I do!  Do I wish abortions didn’t happen?  Absolutely.  I also wish that we lived in a time when women who have made this choice feel open to discuss it.  I hope someone is out there who needs to read this, that it helps you in some small way.  Find someone you trust to talk to and then trust GOD for strength.  You’ll know when it’s time.  If you are that trusted person someone finds, just listen and be open.  Show your friend love and support, that’s what she really needs.  No judgment, plenty of understanding.

If you would like to go through the same bible study I did, please visit Women Who Believe on Facebook or go to womenwhobelieve.com.  I also suggest you buy “Untangled”.  You can visit Carey Scott’s page at careyscotttalks.com.  You can also go to lifewithlisawilliams.com to hear the podcast with Pam Peoples.

Remember, you are loved.

God Bless