Consulting the Dead

My entire life up until the last decade was pretty crazy. Quite dysfunctional. (And as I sit here typing this, my fingers just froze over the keys, overwhelmed at the thought of telling people anything about my past.) Funny thing: since I have become a Christian I have spent a good portion of this walk absolutely hating who I used to be, have felt deafening shame over my past and all those decisions I made and all those self-destructive things I did. It was tormenting, really, trying to reconcile who I was and who I thought I was supposed to be now as a “good Christian girl.” I tried my damnedest to kill off every part of me and shape myself into what I thought I should look like. I became very inauthentic and it drove my husband crazy. I was also driving myself crazy. I was trying to do God’s work for Him. (Are you thinking to yourself: how’d that work out for ya?)

I was living the try-hard life. The do-more-to-be-more way. Which is exactly how I lived my life up until then. Nothing was ever good enough and I received my validation in what I did not who I was and that attitude carried over into my walk with God. I created this perfectionistic standard by which I thought I needed to live up to in order to look like what I thought me as a Christian should be. So, even though I was trying so hard to bury my old self, I was still consulting that corpse as to how I should react and respond.

That dead girl still had a hold over me.

And she still does.

See, that dead girl lived a life a survival, just trying to live and get by, always wishing for something better but never expecting it. That girl made poor decisions, sought validation in a lot of wrong places, hurt herself and allowed other people to hurt her. Inside, she was still that little girl who only wanted to feel loved, to believe someone truly loved her and cared about her and would protect her but no one ever did, who always felt alone and abandoned and worthless and unlovable. She started writing novels at 10 years old to lose herself in other worlds where she was in control, who began to write dark poetry at 15 as a way to get the pain out, who, at 17 was compared to Sylvia Plath (and for those of you who don’t know, Sylvia killed herself by gassing herself in her oven while her two children slept in another room; she was 30).

That girl left home at the age of 16. Sixteen. (My son is 7 months away from the age I was when I left home. Incomprehensible.) She went from place to place, wherever anyone would take her, never really feeling at home, but always an outsider looking in. That girl went through a depression once so bad that for three months she suffered constant panic attacks, wouldn’t leave the house unless it was to go to work and lost so much weight that people feared for her life (she weighed in at 89 pounds at one point).

I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for this girl but only to give you an idea of the kind of person that for some reason I still insist on talking to even though she is dead. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And Romans 6:6-7 says “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

So, if that part of me is dead, I must be talking to a dead person.

Consulting her like a necromancer.

“What do you think? How should I feel? What does this mean? How should I react?”
I am grabbing that corpse by her tattered collar and asking her for direction. And the enemy is more than happy to oblige that kind of behavior. He cannot manufacture life, but he can certainly counterfeit it. He’s a ventriloquist, speaking to me from that corpse, giving me the answers he wants me to hear. A puppet-master with his hand in the back of that dead shell, making it move and respond, speaking to me through another source like he did with Eve in the garden. And I am listening.

Why? Why do I keep doing this? This is what I really want to know. I mean, if I am to be honest, all my old-nature responses and self-defense mechanisms don’t work, they don’t get me where I want to be but are only tiny little band-aids applied to gaping, infected wounds that desperately need to be HEALED, once and for all. Why am I still so intrigued by and in bondage to these old things when I hate them so much? Can familiarity be the only reason?

I’m praying the Lord will give me an answer but that means I have to want to hear it and be ready to move and act when He tells me what needs to be done. And I pray that Holy Spirit give me the strength I need to do so, because I cannot do this on my own.

The Word says that whom the Son sets free is free indeed and I need to walk out that truth in my life because until then I am a self-contained prisoner, choosing to live in the cell while the door stands open just waiting for me to leave.

God bless,
Miranda

“And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?”  Isaiah 8:19

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Hard Confessions

I met a friend for coffee today.  We went to Leaf and Bean (great food and coffee by the way, it was my first time there) and as we sat there for a little more than an hour chatting and catching up, it happened.

Anxiety attack.

It was a “minor” one (i.e. the room swam a bit and I had that strange “detached” surreal feeling wash over me here and there with slight stomach twinges).  I nibbled my sandwich and sporadically sipped my coffee, talking and trying my hardest to focus on my friend and our conversation while the anxious waves came and went.  During the conversation, I mentioned to her that I have struggled with panic/anxiety throughout my life and hey, as a matter of fact, I am struggling with that right now, yes, at this very moment.  She looked at me slightly astonished and said something that has stuck with me all day.  She said that looking at me that she would never have guessed that I was having any anxiety issues, that I seemed composed and fine (not her exact words, but that was the gist).  I told her that I had grown pretty good at hiding it (maybe “stuffing it” would be a better term.) and that I have also struggled with intense, paralyzing phobias as well since I was 11 but that only a handful of people know because I choose to hide it out of shame and embarrassment (I did, however, fail to mention the “eating disorder” that is a byproduct of said issues).

I made it through our lunch date and my friend was so loving and supportive, even stopping to pray over me before we parted ways.  Then I got in my truck and just began to cry, feeling at first disappointed in myself (my initial thoughts after these episodes are usually self-berating because it happened AGAIN and why can’t I lick this thing for the love of Pete?) and I cried all the way to the store, that ugly, chest-hitching kind of sobbing that makes your face puffy and blotchy.  As I was driving and ruminating on what my friend said another thought came to me: Doesn’t that make me a liar?  To hide it and pretend like nothing is wrong, to not talk about it out of shame or fear of what others will think?  To stuff it and try to ignore it and hope it goes away and not reach out for help or someone to just talk to or pray for me?

See, those were learned responses from a lifetime of dysfunction and self-destructive tendencies, of poor choices, of being rejected and mistreated and yes, even sometimes abused (by others and even by my own hand).  It was a mechanism developed to deal and to cope in that world, in that life.

But that can only last so long before the whole structure built on lies and pain comes crumbling down.  There’s only so much you can stuff down before something detrimental happens.  Before the top explodes.

This is what the Lord has been patiently showing me,  that those mechanisms and habits have no place in His children, that those old nature ways and compulsions and behaviors cannot cohabit with His light and Spirit inside of us. Light and dark cannot have fellowship.  Where one is, the other cannot exist.  Over the last few years, this truth has come to a painful head in my life.  I have (almost) daily struggled with the anxiety/panic/phobias for over two years straight now.  This has never happened to me before for such an extended period of time.  It has gotten better as time goes on, but this process seems to be going way too slow for my taste, let me tell you.

It’s like there’s a tug of war between the darkness that has held sway over me for these last 40 plus years, that wants to keep me under lock and key and the Light that loves me intensely and wants nothing more than for me to be free of these things because they’re no longer needed and they’re all based on lies.  I think the hardest part for me is learning this new reality is really real.  My whole life (since birth) has been fear-based, those fears  always being repeatedly reinforced and so those have been my “truths” for my entire existence.  It’s hard to think of or imagine a life without those things being present because that’s all I’ve known and sadly I think we get comfortable in those places even though we say we hate them and want nothing more to do with them.  We don’t know any other way and change can be scary, even if it promises to be good.  You ever watch Shawshank Redemption?  You get so used to living on the inside, being a prisoner, that freedom seems foreign and strangely frightening.

Jesus came to a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been sick with his infirmity for 38 years and He asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”   Another translation says “Do you desire to become well?”  This Jesus asks of a man who constantly came and waited by this pool for healing.   It’s telling to hear the man’s response for why he is not healed: because no one helped him into the pool and others just went in before him.  I have to stop and wonder: did he ever ask anyone for help?

I know that what stays in darkness festers & rots but I also am learning that in bringing those crusted, infected wounds into the light is when the healing can truly begin.  It’s just hard to take that first step of being vulnerable and admitting to the dark, sad, imperfect things that are a part of you.  I still don’t want to do it, I hesitate to push the “publish” button for my dirty laundry to be aired for any to read but I also know that when I have heard others admitting to their struggles and being transparent about their truths, I realize that I am not alone. I have felt that way more often than not in the midst of this turmoil, like I am the only one going through this thing and no one would understand.  Yet, one thing the Lord has spoken to me recently is that I need to start being honest: to myself, to Him and to others, because anything else is a lie and I can’t become all He’s called and created me to be if I insist on being a liar.

So, here’s to another step in my journey of healing and change.

No, I do not have it all together even though it may seem I do and yes, I am sorry that I wasn’t honest about it.

Thank you for listening and God bless,

Miranda

 

Heavy hearts in heavy times

I have never seen or heard so much hatred in my years of being on social media.  It’s downright disheartening.  It brings me down, grieves my spirit.

I myself have been verbally attacked because I made statements about that very thing (people justifying hate speech).  I was called a p***y (sorry) and told that there’s nothing at all wrong in wishing someone harm or death.  I mean, hey it’s not like they’re going out there and doing it, right?

Speechless.

I was also called out by name (and workplace) on someone’s page for a long-drawn out debate that they had with several other people.  I made one statement to all those other people, naming no one and not even mentioning anything political, and this person decided to call ME out, questioning my “Christianity” then unfriended me.

What?

Needless to say I decided to stop making any such comments on anything relating to this subject.  I have spent more than my fair share of tears over these things and given it all over to the Lord because quite frankly I just can’t hang onto them and let them break my me.  It’s not worth my sanity.

You know, I certainly don’t agree with certain candidates’ policies, beliefs, etc.  I actually think some are downright wicked.  HOWEVER, that in no way gives me the right to go out and start spewing vitriol and nasty remarks about any of them.  To call them names and wish them ill-will, or, God-forbid death.  I mean, why would you do that?

I understand why the world does it, but the church?  Remember, we are here to represent HIM, not ourselves.  We are ambassadors of the Kingdom, of Jesus Christ and all HE stands for.  We can’t bring OUR opinions and biases into these conversations or statements.  What would Jesus say?  We are supposed to be the oracles of God.  Would God call these people degrading names, even if what they have done is evil?  My guess is probably not.

Jesus died for our sins, all of our sins.  He didn’t die for most of them or for a select few. Nor did He give up His life for people who are “worthy.”  Don’t be tempted to play the game “Well at least I never...” because we all have….. in some form or another.  The Bible says there is no one good, no, not one, and we ALL fall short of the glory.  He died for everyone.  EVERY ONE. Yes, even the evil, wicked candidates or politicians or their supporters who speak nasty awful things to those who don’t agree with them.  We should be PRAYING for them, putting them up in intercession before the throne of God and praying for their salvation.  The hardest people to pray for and love are the one’s who need it the most.

I am not saying I am exempt from this myself; Holy Spirit convicted me of this very thing and I am glad He did, because the last thing I want to do is misrepresent my Lord to anyone ever.  We are sometimes the only Jesus that some people will meet…and I want to make sure that I glorify Him in every way.

And not just in these hot, political climes but in every day life with everyone I encounter.  Those people are all an arms-length away from Jesus….in me.  And you.

Vote prayerfully today.  And please, slow down and think before you speak and respond in love. Press into His presence.  Know Him so you can show Him.

God bless, pray always and be safe….

Miranda

Ephesians 6:12