Sunday, August 14, 2016
November 5, 2015:
The past few days have been up and down. As is to be expected, I suppose. Although, I did something that went against my conscience. I went to the casino shortly after my last post. In all honesty, I don’t see too much terribly wrong in going every once in a while. It’s when it becomes a problem and we use it as a means to cope with our internal distress when we need to readdress our situations. That goes with everything, I suppose. Everything is permissible under the Spirit, though not everything is beneficial. It should all come from a place of love. Still, when I went to the casino this time, I lost a bit of money. I wasn’t playing poker well at all. I’ll be the first to admit that. And I ignored the promptings of the Spirit that were encouraging me to leave when I was even. I probably made a spectacle of myself. Not outwardly. But, I too, was trying to numb my pain. It shouldn’t matter that I had next to no sleep the week prior because I was just lying in bed, counting sheep. That doesn’t make it right. I admit that going to the casino, then, at that time, was against my better judgement. What I did was wrong in not listening to Him the Spirit. I don’t know how to explain the temptation other than the pain becomes unbearable: like I am drowning. Then the deceptions come. To numb the pain. The deceptions encouraging me to believe that to sin is for the right of my soul. Encouraging me to believe that it’s okay, just this once. Because after all, I’ve been doing so well. God would understand if I allowed myself just this little pleasure. Lies! Get behind me Satan, for you have not in mind the things of God. I won’t be tricked like this again. Generally, I’m pretty sure I’m up in terms of my visits to the casinos. Made quite a bit on my trip in 2013. Doesn’t make it right. Sin is not right. And I realize that things were going very well before I chose to do this. I just encourage you to have compassion for the one who stumbles. Trauma and suffering are often what lead to sin. It is out of despair, people sin. It is a tragic truth that suffering and shame accumulates and can be used against us if we allow it. But we have reason to hope. Because God loved us enough to save us from that initial despair. Let’s not, as followers of the Way of Christ, focus on the bad in people. Let’s be as forgiving to those who stumble as we are to those who hurt us. We need repentance and a godly sorrow for our sins. We’ve been forgiven a lot and we must not forget that nothing we did earned this. God loves us a lot. All of us. He loves us until the point when we choose to death over Him. I just wish I could show you the hope I know is there. And I know I am not the best ambassador. Please remember how much I have endured. There is hope right up to the end. All who turn to Him with a true heart will be saved. This is not a reason to continue sinning. Like when you love someone on earth, you will obey them. But God understands our despair. He knows and empathizes with our sin. We need to repent. Live in the light. Love. The sooner we realize that righteousness and living a life for God is for our best interest, that this is for our happiness and glory, the better off our lives will be. As an update, Michelle commented on my update on facebook a couple of days ago. My day brightens when she likes a post or contacts me. I was planning to visit Australia for a while. I’d already planned that I’ll visit an animal sanctuary while I’d be there. Hopefully I’ll have the time to travel across the country. But even if I do, there will be so much I won’t be able to see. At the moment, I am taking part in the RCIA program at St. Wilfred’s church. I’m doing this as a manner of discernment. I have not made decisions yet. Even though this is something I have been wanting to do for a while. Still, I must not forget how happy I am at the church I am with now. So grateful for the church I go to weekly. So grateful for their faith and welcoming. I don’t know how I will inform them if I decide to convert to Roman Catholicism. They are such a wonderful church and have shown me such love. I’ve been through a lot with them. I have to follow my heart though. And still, I may decide not to convert. There was a reason I stayed with them for so long. Our first RCIA class was on the subject of compassion. It was extremely moving. I felt I had a bit to contribute. But the instructor played a video called the Bridgemaster. It served as an allegory for God’s sending His Son as a sacrifice. The premise behind the video was that a man and his son were at a rail bridge crossing. The man’s son went to play and fell under the open bridge into the gears. At the moment, a train was coming towards them. Completely torn on what to do, the man is forced to make the difficult decision to either save his son, while allowing the train, with hundreds of passengers to fall off the tracks or to save the people on the train. By saving the people on the train, he would have to close the bridge on his son. He chose to save the people on the train. And he watched with tears as it passed him. People were watching him out the window. Some were getting high. The man stood beside the tracks in agony. Nobody realized what had happened. A number of years later, the man was walking down the street and passed a young woman who was on the train that day. She was the one getting high. When she passed him, she had a baby in her arms. She smiled at the bridge master. And they shared this smile. It was such an emotional movie. I also met one of the priests at the church when I went there a couple of days later to pray. When I met him, he happened to comment on the fact that he had overheard me remarking about somethings in the Bible the week earlier. I thanked him. The only thing I regret about this conversation is that I didn’t offer glory to God. I took credit on my own. Receiving compliments is always pretty overwhelming for me. I was thinking about this for a bit in the church where I was praying. I know better for next time. I remember, sitting in the pew, thinking, asking, why are you forgiving of so much, my God? Reflecting on all of the opportunities I had to give God glory. The sin that drove me from Him. The answer that I felt in my heart was: Because of Him. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus for offering us hope. I want to emphasize the vital importance and necessity of God’s Word. I read every day. Three to five chapters a day. Because I love God. And because I want to get close to Him. Please remember, I was taught this shame. It’s nothing about my character. I suppose I could have tried harder. I suppose I could have gotten a job. I am not lazy though. I’ve written three books and create art every week. There are probably a few people who think I don’t know what hard work is. To these people, I ask, have you ever had to relearn to socialize and interact with society? To swallow? To walk? I don’t mean this as a spiteful comment. Simply to display that while others have been working to make money, I have been working to keep alive. And the relearning/coping process did not stop after that injury. Although, of course, I am not denying and am grateful for the incredible amount of hard work a lot of people put towards their jobs to support families. We just know work in different ways. Changes are coming. Everyone has been through so much. Regardless of your religion, race or history, we all hurt in the same way. Though our reactions differ and greatly do they differ, we were all children at one point, longing for our mothers to hold us and comfort us. We need to empathize with our brother. Don’t forget the awe and beauty of this world. I see people standing next to gulls and walking through flocks of pigeons like nothing is happening. If you remove the common place occurrence that this is, and mind you, the peskiness of these animals and just step back and view these scenes for the magic they actually are, you’d be surprised. This applies to everything. Just think of the joy and majesty of creation that went into their forming. Think back, remember, as a child, viewing the world for the first time. This entire world is a testimony to the awesome love and power and glory of God Almighty. Everything you have done as a world is magnificent. I remember, (and I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before) during the time I spent on Grimsey Island, I was reflecting a lot. I was taking a lot in visually. In spite of the incredible beauty of the island and the genuine warmth of the people there, there was not much to see. The thought was welcomed in my mind that life can flourish anywhere. All it takes is more than one person. The warmth and love I was shown in my time on this quaint and unique little island, with a population of no more than 100 in the summer, kindled something genuine and irreplaceable for me. I just remember walking through the little streets, observing the trampolines for the children, the tiny church in the middle of the island, the little community restaurant where after a certain time, the locals would show up and start conversing and drinking. Having fun, like people should be allowed to. I remember walking through the schoolyard, reflecting on how many children had grown through it, down by the harbor, a hopscotch design painted into the pavement, a lone lighthouse on the far end of the island. I just think sometimes that it’s remarkably beautiful that we can do this for ourselves. I think it’s amazing the communities we can develop and foster and nourish. Anyways, I tend to think like that when I don’t sleep much. Everyone deserves love and life. Be yourself. The human life is not dispensable. I realize that I have done some rough things in my own past. I’m asking you to keep things in perspective. Remember what I am claiming to have been through. I’ve struggled a lot in developing a healthy foundation of love from which to build upon. I have confessed everything. I know that there has been no solid corroboration as to my story or testimony yet. And I admit, this is because of my own disobedience. But I assure you, its viciousness and intrusiveness in my mind continues every day. To me, it is very real. Christ is the One who offers me hope. For both being the victim of a lifetime’s worth of crimes. And He gives me hope in that I have sinned but He has called me to return to Him and His love. He knows why we sin. And that gives me hope. As an update for today, as opposed to a number of days in the past, today, I went to the gym and worked a bit on my language course. I also applied for a number of jobs. I am also looking for a better apartment at the moment. There was no Men’s Ministry this evening. Hopefully it will continue over the next couple of weeks. I find that very encouraging and helpful in my own walk. Today, I am incredibly grateful for community. I am grateful to be a part of my city and world. I am grateful that the Jays won a pennant! Most of all, I am thankful for my God, who is such a beautiful and loving Creator. I am thankful that I can come before Him and cry out in prayer whenever I want. Also, as an update, I am noticing that lately I am picking up a habit I had a couple of years ago again. That habit is that I am stopping where I am and praying to God the minute I feel the urge. I do this in thanksgiving and in grief. I notice that the Spirit guides me in prayer much more clearly when I do this than when I prepare in my mind what I am going to say. I realize this is not the right way. I remember, years ago, falling to my knees and weeping in solemn prayer when I felt badly. This is something I want to revive for myself. That spontaneity. That sincerity. I am coming to respect that our souls are shaped mildly and influenced not just by what happens to us but also what we fill our hearts with. I have already given up so much that was detrimental for my soul. I am intending to fill my heart with love from now on. It’s easy to call somebody who is extremely traumatized crazy. Mostly because a lot of the time, the behavior that results from being extremely traumatized, is unpredictable, unexplainable and strange. Trauma symptoms can be very similar to symptoms of insanity. Although, in my rational mind right now, I sincerely question the concept of insane and crazy. What does that mean? I don’t want this to be a shock to you. Neither do I want to appeal to your pity. I want very much to offer something for you to believe in. I don’t expect anyone to have faith in me now. Keep faith in God. It’s a reason this was meant to be a surprise. Especially now. I can just lay out what I know so that when I overcome, I know I will be redeemed. I’m just asking for you to have compassion. I have faith that something big may still happen. This is about people. It’s not always about men and women. It’s about love and respect. View things soberly apart from the customs of the world. Men were children too. And children can hurt. As it is written in Ecclesiastes, ‘we all were born with eternity on our hearts’. We need to seek God. Repent and call on Him and He will seek you. I have consciously turned my cheek completely aside and forgiven more times than I can count. And often when I did, I was hurt again. In spite of a few people’s continual assaults on everything that made me a person, I continued to forgive. There’s something selfless about still being vulnerable yet making the conscious decision to forgive for the benefit of their souls.