New Life, New Season

I suppose it’s unchristian not to do a post about Easter… have I ever done one before?

This may not be the most conventional subject for an Easter post, but I was thinking today about some of my old posts. Back from 2015 and 2016.

I wrote one post about how much I didn’t like being wrong. This was not long after I started my blog, probably just a couple months. Nothing has changed, I still hate being wrong.

Being wrong and surviving

And I wrote another post about forgiveness, at this time I was about 16 or 17, I’d say. I know it was before I moved.

At the time, my dad was still at home of course, and would be for a few more years, and he was as awful as usual, though at that time we interacted less, he was addicted to video games and unless I interfered with that, or was working with him to earn money, we hardly spoke.

By then I was already reading books about healing and coming to realize just how much pain I had from him and my mom. This is an except from a post I wrote at the time.

Then

Letting it go-from another angle.

“Forgiving is hard. Yet, I wonder why? We all make mistakes and so why are we so hard on each other for making them? Maybe we want to see a fairness in others that we don’t possess in ourselves.

Let me be clear; by forgiving I don’t mean letting people get away with serious wrong doing. Nor do I mean living in a sort of denial that the damage other people’s words do to you, is not that bad. It is actually much worse than most of us know. Forgiveness is actually acknowledging they did wrong and letting it go. In the words of Stasi Eldredge “It was wrong, very wrong, and I release you.”

Forgiveness is actually more for us than the offenders… Emotionally most of us have probably heard about the necessity of forgiveness. When you hold on to the actions of another, you build them into your brain. I don’t mean in a mind control sense. But when you hate someone you obsess over them, you think of them and the things they’ve said and done to you; if it’s someone close to you then you struggle with not having their approval on your life even as you despise their opinion. You feel indifferent to their pain and even glad when they suffer. You say you’ll forget them but you can’t, because you can’t let what they’ve done go. If you don’t remember who will? It won’t matter to anyone. And that is what scares us, that our pain won’t make a difference in anything. That we ourselves don’t matter. These people who hurt us were right about us then. The emotional and mental damage this does to us couldn’t be fully disclosed if we took hours and hours to talk about it. To not forgive is to agree with the people who hurt us and to sink to their level at the same time.

That is why the first step toward forgiving is admitting it was wrong and you were damaged. A lot of people don’t get this far. They won’t admit their weakness. Or in some cases they will only admit their weakness but never that they can overcome it. They wallow in their pain all their lives…

So, if you are willing to take step one and admit you have been hurt–bad (And someone may be thinking “I can so do that.” Well hold on.) What is step two? It varies. It may involve crying your heart out. Grieving the wound the Eldredges call it. (I highly recommend their books Wild at Heart or Captivating for more detail on this very important part.) In my own journey of forgiving, I cried several times; I shared my pain with trusted people–but don’t do it with the person who hurt you, that was always a disaster–I prayed about it. To which I attribute all progress I made. Pain can be scary because it is so deep. Sometimes we wish we’d left it alone in apathy and numbness. But really that’s even more frightening.

After sadness, or sometimes before it, will come anger. More anger. And fear. Here we face yet another choice, we can press on, releasing the anger and fear, or we can let it drive us back. At this point you will not feel like forgiving, nor will you feel like the person deserves it, it will be purely a choice. I suggest writing it down. Saying it. “I choose to forgive (insert their name).'”

Now

Now that I know so much more than I did then about the situation, this level of grace on my part astounds me. Yet, I know it wasn’t me, I wan’t that wise, I was simply following what my teachers taught me, I always did have that childlike faith.

Actually for some context, (sorry for burdening you with my dark past), at the time I was attending a very toxic church– not by choice, my father forced us all to go. I hated it. “

Well they hounded us from the pulpit about forgiveness and how unforgiveness would land us in hell.

I don’t disagree, the Bible is pretty clear about that… but this church took it to an extreme that ignored that real damage other people’s sins did to you. No talk of therapy, no talk of long term healing.. I ‘m not sure the idea of emotional healing was ever introduced. I know plenty of the parishioners had family issues.

My dad would repeat all this at home, expressing fears over himself not making it, and praying that we all would. His fear scared me, I would not have felt dubious about my own salvation, but he constantly introduced doubt. Small wonder I still struggle with it.

I’m not naturally much of a doubter, not anymore, but it seems sown into me. Popping up when I least want it to.

My dad also found testimonies on the internet about people who’d been to hell and back, or saw visions, and warned about unforgiveness.

I cannot say how much of it was true, all I know is the Bible has no stories of any Christian visiting hell and coming back, and no precedent for it, though heaven is permitted we know from Paul and John. Perhaps hell is not impossible, though no one would like it, but at the very least, many of the testimonies were too much like Dante’s Inferno, a human’s explanation of what hell would be like, and I am skeptical hell could make any more sense to us than Heaven, and no human would come up with what the Bible says about Heaven (read Ezekiel sometime)

That’s not really the point. I have to thank my dad in a way, that is what pushed me to salvation, finally. One has to learned to be thankful for what good did come of anything in our crappy past, though once I felt offended at the very idea. And I wouldn’t take kindly to anyone else telling me that, since they’d be dismissing what I went through.

No, my dad did a few things for me, though not really out of kindness in this case, it stands more to God’s power that the fear and doubt of those years actually led to something good for me, God truly can make goodness out of anything.

My dad also read the post I quoted above. Which I wrote with him in mind. I heard him talk to my mom about it while he was reading it. I remember what he said, I may never forget it:

“I was reading (my name)’s post… I can’t imagine who (she) could know that would have hurt her so badly.”

In said post, I wrote how talking to the person who hurt you did no good… thanks Dad, for proving me right.

I really didn’t want him to read my post, and wished my mom would have stopped him, but turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think that was one of the last times he read my blog at all. I know he doesn’t now, he’d not like what I write about him, I’d be sure to hear about it.

Now, I no longer think that telling someone they hurt you does no good, if they are a mature person who truly loves you. Or even immature, but not toxic (it’s not the same thing, after all), but I was right not to tell him.

Years later, probably a year before he moved out, my dad also said in one family meeting that he got a sense that I had very low self worth, and he prayed for me about it.

I was aware enough by then to be thinking “Thanks Dad, who do you think gave me low self worth”

Wasn’t you treating my like dirt my whole life, neglecting me, abusing my emotions, telling me I was responsible for all your problems.

Now, this is not a post just for me to whine about my life.

But, we’re talking about rebirth today.

I’m starting to, like Paul, boast in my weakness. If I can take pride in nothing else, I can take pride that I have this terrible story (though it wasn’t all terrible), and I still held onto my faith.

There are man things I am still waintg for, the fullr edmeption of my past, the full meaning of why it happened t o me. A chance to tell more peopel my story. I aprpeciate ou 220 or so followers, but IW ant to reach even more peopel, more and more.

I haven’t to dlit all here, some things I did not even realzie were significant until later. soem thing sId id not feel comfortable sharing yet.

What can I say about this trial that other, wiser, better peopel have not alread siad? All I jave if my own story.

I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing what I did, reading the books, pupmping thmselves full of self-help, roads to healing, seeking and seeking and seeking.

It was terrible to go through that dark time last year when I feared all that was for nothing, I invented years of my life in healing, and I though I ended up just as screwed up anyway.

While no amount of reading could have prepared m for the shock of getting out of abuse, it did give me something to fall back on. I took the leadership role in my family in my dad’s absence. Not fully, perhaps, but as the other dominant personality, it just happened naturally.

I felt I had to protect them, that since I hatched the plan to get rid of him, I had to make sure they were okay.

It’s been a blow to crumble as much as I did, and not be able to work steadily either, but I had to let go of the idea that everything is my responsibility.

When my dad left, I got my life back.

Really, I was getting it back every time I wrote those posts like the ones above, that I was basing off my real efforts in prayer and self reflection. My dad put all that venom into my brain, and I spat it all out through prayer, tears, songs, and resolutions.

5 years later or so, I still do that. Thouh I make less resolutions, I’ve learned to be suspisonv of those.

While I was still deeply damaged by my dad, the way I handled it back then, by God’s leading, has gotten the poison out of the wound, so it could heal, and I’ve haled faster than I thought I would.

I still have bad days, today even, doubt assaulted me again, even in Church, but I didn’t give way to it like I sued to, I do not know when I will stop being tempted, but I am a lot stronger now.

I gained back the weight I lost too. I’m walking straighter than I ever have, and I have less stiffness and back pain.

My chiropractor tells me I will be a new person when the treatment is finally completed. It’s taken 3 times as long as I wanted to see results, but God never promised it would be done when I wanted, just that it would happen.

I eat more now too. I think I eat more now than before all this happened since I’ve learned when I feel bad, I’m usulaly hungry and low on calroies, not sick.

My gaggin epidose have been over for proably 5 months or more now.

New year, new me, is what I said when 2021 started.

But when I look back at those old posts, and remember how I was then, and see that my heart was more pure than I thought, and that I was trying my best to obey God, as I always have… I think, I’m also just ht old me.

Somehow, my dad never dseprtryon who I am. Though he treid. Somehow, I kept waht I wanted in mind. I’ve never waved for long on what I want.

I want to have a great ministry.

I want to write great books

I want a great marriage

I want many children.

Whether all that comes in the form of adoption, or whatever I end up dong, and travel, or staying home, I don’t care as much as I used to, I know that all this must be part of me for a reason. I was born wanting those things. Except writing, that came once I knew I could do it, but I was always a storyteller even before that.

For ears I eceived little t ono enocuagemanet form anyone about these deams, but I didn’t lose them. That’s a mircale, from what I hear form others, pretty much everyone loses their fdreams as they grow up. To raitne then till you’e 22 is rare. Bt hte ime I’m 30, it’ll be a minoritiy.

I have a feeling I will still wan the same thing at 30 as I do now, only hopefully, I’ll have some of it by then.

I’m a girl from a toxic, abusive family, I’m not supposed to be the statistic that gets a good marriage, and becomes a good parent.

I’m the one who got told she was wrong, and criticized for everything, I’m not supposed to succeed at my talents.

I’m the one who had someone sow doubt into me a lot, I’m not supposed to have a good ministry.

Well, flip all that, God is the God of the unexpected.

Sure, right now, I have small blog, smaller YouTube Channel, and only a couple short published books on kindle that no one reads. I’m not in a lot of ministry, and I’m at a point in life where it feels no one sees all that much in me.

Perfect time to be suddenly launched into something unexpected, God has a pattern, but He’s not predictable.

I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, but I haven’t waited all this time for nothing, I’m sure of that.

New Life means Old things getting a new vitality, and new things springing up. Jesus coming back to life didn’t just give us His old life back, it gave us an entirely new kind of man, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.

An odd hybrid between the Divine and the mortal, that is what we are. One that you won’t find anywhere else in heaven or on earth, and how can I say what the purpose of it is?

John said “It is not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

As I’ve come out of my depression and anxiety, they’ve begun to make less and less sense to me, I no longer understand the logic behind them. I am sure, that is God.

To be sure, I’m still tempted at times, and I won’t say I have the cure all for either of those two problems, since the path I walked had to be for me personally, and my fears, but some stuff overlaps in our lives.

I can’t even be certain I’ll never have another time of my life where I feel this way, though I can’t picture it fooling me ever again. Feelings are not the same as mindsets.

I do think some changes will last.

Someday, I hope, God will give me the words to describe what happened to other people. Just now, I am still too much in the process to explain it, and I’ve noted others don’t really understand me if I try.

But someday, surely, I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Hindsight is 20-20. (That’d be a good blog post title)

I get it, some of you are still in the darkness. I hope some of you have begun to see light.

If you wait long enough for something, with God, it will happen. Or something better will.

God showed me that, actually, one time I was talking to Him, and He brought it to my attention that if I just waited long enough something was bound to change, no state of being is permanent for a human.

We hate being told it’s just a phase, but everything is a phase. The Bible calls it a “Season”

I don’t know if any angry teen or young adult will read this, but if you’ve heard those words “it’s just a phase” I know, it’s annoying, but, take it from me, you’ll want to believe that. All pain can pass. Even the worst and deepest kinds.

And while I was not assaulted with what humanity considers the worse crimes, I’d venture to say I knew that deep pain as much as the next person. I take things very seriously.

At least I could not lie to myself that way. God made me this way for a reason. If I could be blind, like others, I might still be in that situation.

One thing I kept saying to my sister was this “No pit is so deep that He is not Deeper Still” (Betsie Ten Boom).

Well, I tink that is enough for today. Thank you for reading, and have a great day

Until next time–Natasha.

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Bad At Love

A slightly late post for Valentine’s Day that’s not about being single or family love or self care!

Yay!

There was something in my post Why not just reconcile?, there was one part my sister told me she really liked.

“You shouldn’t aim to be better than someone else, you should aim to be as good as you can be. As loving, as pure, as brave, as wise, and then you have no real limit, you can always grow.”

We talking about that, and I said “Love is exponential.”

What I meant by that, is that we tend to weigh and balance love by certain standards.

It’s kind of what Valentine’s day has become hasn’t it. You got to do the flowers, candy, stuffed animals, and if you have an SO, you got to have holiday sex (I might be a sheltered homeschooler, but I know how it goes, I read books. Yes, I’m aware that flex just makes me sound more sheltered, but it is like that for real.)

Great day for me, right, single since birth?

Well, like many people, I chose to look at the day as a day to remember to think of anyone I love. I get my family chocolates or cards, usually candy, since my card making skills suck and buying that stuff is pricey.

So, I don’t get depressed on Valentine’s Day, but it does remind me how we have commercialized everything now, how we put pressure on ourselves to love on just certain days of the ear.

I am all for holidays, St. Valentine is someone I look up to, anyone who stands up for love and marriage tot he point of death is going to be important to a romantic such as myself. I love the idea of having a day just to remember love.

What I don’t love is that holidays are often not just the public day of love, but the only private day of it for many people.

I read in a book once about one couple who’s kids were all born in November because Valentine’s Day was one of their only sex days, that’s just not right.

Not that sex has to be present if both partners are not physically able to have it, but if they are, then that’s just sad.

And that’s the problem. What’s the use of paying lip service to Love, literally (sorry that joke was horrible) on one day if you ignore our family the other days.

I also don’t like the Single’s Awareness Day jokes, because to me it disrespects the whole thing, very selfishly. You don’t have to be married or dating to value marriage or dating, in fact, if you only value those thins when you have them, you don’t value them truly for unselfish reasons.

Spending a day getting jealous of all your not-single friends is hardly encouraging you to think of Love on better terms.

And Love goes beyond that romantic kind. That stuff is really good, but it’s not the only thing.

Though, I will say, we are undervaluing even the erotic side of love these days.

If you read Song of Solomon, you’ll see that even our ideas of sex are far short of the Bibles in terms of the adoration between lovers and the purity of sex when it’s done right, ad the sheer joy of loving each other so deeply. I don’t see that too much anymore.

I think there are times, as C. S. Lewis even said, that you have to encourage your desire for sex with your spouse. That may be the most important thing to do at that time.

But any one with half a heart ought to see that’s really something you do because you have a deeper love that goes beyond your own conveniences or wishes.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about.

As a culture, as humans, we are just bad at love. There’s two songs, and at least one Webtoon titled that that i know of, and far more people who’d admit they suck at relationships.

Common reasons?:

Jealously

Fear of Commitment

Fear of Intimacy

Baggage (usually the reason for all of the above)

Do you know anyone who’s GREAT at Love?

If I do, it’s not many people. I know far more people who wish the were better at it, and even more who probably don’t even think about it being the most important thing in life.

This was brought to my mind even more by a conversation with my 10 year old cousin last week.

Ever since I started tutoring/mentoring her this kid has been giving me crap, throwing tantrums, trying to guilt me and blame me for all her stress and insecurities being triggered, and saying she’ll talk to her parent about it.

Of course she has no idea who she’s dealing with, I’ve heard all this before, multiple times.

Last week, she admitted to ling to me the whole week because she doesn’t like me being there, watching her. I told her I was disappointed to hear this since we had talked about trust. I asked her how I was supposed to believe her when she told me stuff, if she had lied to me for 3 days straight just to get around me.

She didn’t honestly have an answer to that, and I didn’t expect one.

But she got very emotional and finally she said “I’m just bad at love” or “being loved.” Like how she doesn’t always want hugs when she’s emotional, and how she used to be good at making friends, and now she’s not (thanks to some mean kids beginning to bully her).

Unfortunately, her home environment can be toxic too, her parents aren’t so bad, but their relatives and friends constantly expose the kids to ridicule over very minor mistakes that has caused both of my cousins to shut down in different ways. They are more open around us, but sometimes do the same thing if we ever show displeasure or disagree with them. To them, that means mockery is coming, though we never mock them ourselves.

I know how they feel, my dad subjected me to many humiliating experiences, and so do my relatives on their side of the family. I have never been comfortable around them, now that I am an adult, I’ve grown stronger and I usually am left alone by the relatives, but it took years to get to that point, and when you live in it, what do you expect?

That sad thing is, this is hardly abnormal now. In fact, my aunt and uncle are still above average parents, but they don’t have a clue how to do positive reinforcement. I support discipline, but not exclusively, it’s too discouraging. Giving people digs is just normal in our day and age in America, and I can’t change that myself singlehandedly.

But I am left to deal with the effects of it, because my cousin is to scared to confront her actual parents, so she projects it all onto me because I am nicer to her, and more considerate. When she got fed up and said she’s “bad at love” I was remind of myself.

I didn’t talk to anyone about it, but when I was even younger than her, I had trouble feeling love, and I thought there was something wrong with me. Looking bad, I did feel love when I was 4 or 5, but my anxiety and other fears took over sometime after that, though I remained affectionate for a while, til my dad’s treatment squelched it mostly. Then in my teens and pre-teens, it got really bad, with my dad actively trying to give me a complex. I only got through it because I came to Christ at 13 and began to mature in Love.

Love has always bee my primary focus as a Christian, when I came to Christ, I had been seeking out the truth about love, without even knowing it, reading certain books, watching things, and trying to understand. Once that change happened, the world became alive for me. I remember one of the first things was I began to enjoy Nature, I never cared much about it before, but I did after that, I read in “Hind’s Feet on High Places” of the same thing happening to Hannah Hurnard. I’ve known my sisters to have the same experience too.

Without love and life in us, it’s no wonder we turn to the over stimulus of electronics. It’s hard to be in Nature when you can’t love problem, it tends to remind you how empty you are.

Maybe it’s because real things cost us so much.

A fake bouquet can be bought for a dollar, a real one is going to cost you. Fake gold is cheap, real gold isn’t. Fake jewels, fake cards, everything digital and plastic is less expensive.

And somehow, less satisfying. Even the chocolate that’s cheap just doesn’t’ taste as good and we savor it less.

My cousin is a kid growing up in a culture obsessed with fake love. To the point where it’s semi-normal to have imaginary waifus and husbandos, and ou can get a certificate of marriage to an anime character, and be in a dating sims with one too.

I saw this dumb pick up line on Webtoon yesterday as part of some weird Valentine’s Day special “I’ll be your body pillow”

Do NOT look that up if you didn’t get it, it’s not worth it. I only know because I watch other fans talk about shows.

Hey, I am not knocking fictional romance, it’s actually therapy for me. At least seeing better examples of love than I saw growing up gives me hope. I know it’s not all like a story, but if it could even be partially like that, that’s way better than what I saw.

But, at some point, you have to get up and go put this into practice. You have to try to be the kind of supportive friend you read about, or boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The main thing that stops us is FEAR.

Fear and Love just do not go togheter.

Why don’t I confess to my crush? I am afraid of losing a friend, and humiliating myself.

1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has torment.”

I was tormented by love growing up in a toxic house, and it’s gets complicated.

I believe in the sacredness of Love so much that few things seem worse to me than twisting it into a tool. That’s why my favorite books is “Till We Have Faces” which contrasts holy and profane love with each other.

Profane Love, as the MC of the book says “Can grow to be nine tenths hatred and still call itself Love.”

No one likes to be loved like this, but all of us can fall into the trap of loving this way if we don’t watch ourselves.

I read a Webtoon that also illustrated this well, called “Freaking Romance.”

Image result for Zylith

In this story, a girl and guy from different dimension find each other and fall in love, but the girl resists it because she hates love. “Love” was what her abusive father called it when he controlled her and stole form her and tried to force things on her. Reading that part was difficult for me, some of it was almost word for word what my own dad would say. Down to the fake apologies and gifts.

The guy i this story had an abusive mom, and in one of the best episodes of the comic, he tells another girl with a toxic past, that broken people tend to be drawn to each other, wanting to fix each other’s pain and thereby fix their own, and that can be good, with two people who truly want to be better, such as him and the MC, but in other cases, it can feed into it and recreate the cycle, which is far more common, sadly.

But he wants to be the kind of guy who heals. And the MC ends up falling for that despite her misgivings.

The story rather maturely acknowledges that her mistrust is more becaue of her own past than anthin the guy ever does. Wehn they finally decise to give it a shot, she learns to try to giv emore.

Spoiler alert if you want to read it:

At the climax, Zylith is given the change to be with Zelen forever, if she will get everything she ever wanted, ad then give it up just to be with him. it’s important, because she’s constantly chosen her career over love, and hesitated to to change her mind, even in a crisis. Zylith agrees, gets all that, ad finally gets to return to Zelen. He tells her he’d never ask her to give all that up for him,and she shouldn’t have to.

she replies that though it was great to get allt hat, it wasn’t satifuing, becuase she didn’t ahve him. And she makes an efoort after that to be a giver, not just a tkaer.

Notably, the cosmic forces at work in the story were firm but fair. IF you can’t give our all at love, why be in a relationshp?

That does not mean everone needs to be able to love like that gong into a rleationship, I don’t think any human being starts off that way, myself.

IT means that no matter where ou start from, ou give it all you can there.

That could mean taking our steps to get off an addiction, going to therapy for your mental health, and getting rid of your toxic influences. All that is love, if you do it to become a better person. And don’t ask your SO to fix you.

On the other hand, for some of us, it’s letting our SO help us, and support us, being honest with them, and working not to take out our issues on them when they tr to help. That is also love.

Love is not really about whether you give or you take from an outward standpoint. In true Love, giving and taking become indistinguishable.

Giving a service to someone is a gift, but receiving it is also a gift, I’ve learned that form personal experience, real love is never selfish, whether it gives or takes, because in a way, it is always giving, and always taking, since you get pleasure form loving.

Love then, is just a way of life. It is life. No one without love is really living.

The Bible doesn’t say that in so many words, because the Bible assumes the truth of that. God requires us to Love each other in order to be holy, and to love Him in order to please Him, but he doesn’t demand it. It is simply what we’re told will actually make us right again.

All God does is Love, and if the Bible reiterated that, it’d be every time God is mentioned. Though it does not always look like love to us, that doesn’t matter.

And truly good people do all they do out of love of some sort. That’s just the truth.

I’d tell you all what I told my cousin, for me, there is not way to stop being Bad at Love except through God. That is all that changed me, and all that does now, and all that kept me from becoming toxic.

With that, I think I’ll wrap this up. Happy Love Celebration Day, stay honest–Natasha.

I don’t really like this song but it matched the title so….
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One and Only

I have had this idea in my queue for almost  a year, and I never got around to finishing it, figured it was time to remedy that.

Story Time:

I had a conversation recently too that seemed to go along with the topic (of course I’ll simplify it in the recounting.)

We were having “philosophy class” (as I jokingly call it) with mes cousines  (French plural form of “cousin” if you don’t know), and we began plying my 13 year old relative with some questions about moral compasses, and worldview.

I introduced the Kohberg 6 levels of Moral Development to him. You can Google that, I got the idea from Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire” and have found them very useful for examining people’s character, real and fictional.

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  1. I don’t want to get in trouble
  2. I want a reward
  3. I want to please someone
  4. I follow the rules
  5. I am considerate of other people
  6. I have a personal moral code and I stick to it

Well, finding his level to be from 1-3, in his opinion, maybe also 4, we asked him why. Upon more delving into worldview, we pointed out that though level 6 is the goal, according to the author of said book (Rafe Esquith), level 6 is only good if you know your moral code is good. Suppose you were Hitler, or Stalin, people with their own code… and it was of the devil. 

Well, that’s a difficult question for a 13 year old, though, I will say, one I would have definitively been tackling at that age, I’m special. But he considered it and said that “We can’t really know we’re right. Anyone could be right or wrong.”

My sisters and I exchanged looks.

“So, pluralism,” I said. “Or, Post-Modernism, moral relativity. You believe that there is no right or wrong answer.” 

“Yes, ” he said “anyone could be right, and it’s just the majority’s opinion that they are wrong.”

“What about Hitler, don’t most people feel that Hitler was wrong?” We pointed out.

After some discussion, he declare “Hitler could have been right. If that majority went with him at that time.” The rest of his argument basically constituted that society determines our moral compass because we don’t go against it, but since he admits that majority rule is really no guideline, he refuses to pick a single world view that is right.

The news that he, in fact, already has a worldview, Pluralism, seemed to come as a bit of surprise to him. Especially when I asked “Where did you hear that?”

“Nowhere” he said.

I said “But you must have got the idea of pluralism form somewhere, someone must have said it.” 

(Naturally, I was thinking of a previous debate I had with his mother while he was in the room that included the flaws of pluralism among other things, the kid had to remember that, I asked him later what he thought, his answer back then was “I don’t know.”)

Finally, he seemed to leave it at “I don’t know. I just thought of it.” 

I informed him that his view was held by quite a lot of people nowadays, though it didn’t used to be popular. Then I explained at some point that I wouldn’t have his same difficulty with answering our questions about how he knew right from wrong, because I didn’t believe in majority rule, or that people decide that answer. I’m not sure what he thought of all that in the end.

But when I looked at this old post idea, I saw a similarity:

About a year ago now, my history class was covering Ghandi for about a- week.

No denying he was a great man.  I studied him back in my homeschool co-OP days. But even back then I wondered why we were studying this philosophy as well as Christianity, theism, communism, etc. Without a real point, it seemed, except to compare them.

In this history class we do the same thing, with far less direction than before, not really discussing what was right or wrong.

I didn’t know this before, but apparently Ghandi saw it as fine for Hindus and Muslims to share their faith as both being seeking the same God.

So… yeah

I remember years ago now, I mentioned that creepy movie “Life of Pi” in a post (I could not find the post for the life of me…) Anyway, the guy in the movie is Muslim, Christian, and Hindu, and claims he gets different things from each religion.

It’s been said that to be completely open minded is to also be empty headed.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

Image result for G. K. chesterton, 'merely having an open mind

Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

 

I hear more and more this idea, people who don’t wish to condemn religion entirely decide to just say that you can get something good out of all of them. This is the wisdom of the world.

.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

To me, among other objections, this has always been a statement of gross ignorance of what religion is, and what some of them teach. If you;re going down that road, you can call a cult a religion, and justify some of their thinking. This is the wisdom of the world.

If anything, diving deep into other cultures for studying purposes has convinced me that if there is an obvious problem on the surface, if you go deep down it only gets worse. It does affect the whole attitude of the culture and people.

Why are some cultures so passive in the face of oppression, and others so violent about enforcing their beliefs?…Is it not because that is what those beliefs lead to?

Of course, someone could say “Well, Christianity does not always lead to peace, so how are you any different?”

Fair enough, but I’m not saying that violence is wrong, or that passivity is wrong. The Bible allows for both approaches in their proper time, Ecclesiastes 3 says “a time for war, and a time for peace.”Image result for To everythin there is a seaon, a time for war, and a time for peace

It’s a mistake to rule out any one approach completely, history will always provide you with counter examples, even if you don’t care about religion. If I learned anything from my philosophy class, it’s that someone can always find counter evidence, though we may not always decide it’s valid.

But, I find this fad of accepting all religions disgusting for another reason:

It can sound good at first, it would create peace between people if we all stopped arguing about our beliefs right? It’s our own truth, and if we respected that, no one would die over it.

Yes, Religious Exclusivity is the problem, if Muslims and Christians would just stop insisting that one of us had to be right, they’d stop killing us off…

(This is meant to be ironic, I’m not making light of either faith, but the implications that come with saying it could be solved that way)

Look, let me say it like this. I am a Christian, and I would never tell a Muslim to just be more open-minded. I would not blame them in the least for getting offended if I said that, I don’t agree with terrorism, but I agree with their sentiment that you must do whatever God requires of you, in that way, they are far more similar to us than Hinduism is with it’s nonviolent, detached way of looking at worldly things.

Of course, any extremist would be insulted if I compared us at all, but let’s just say we are both willing to die for what we believe, they are just also willing to kill for it, and not in war, where it is an understood thing, but innocent people (I know not all Muslims are extremists, just like not all Christians are radicals, but we get compared to that, so it’s the best example of what I’m talking about).

Like many Americans, I don’t consider War, or Self Defense killing to be murder, or evil, but anything beyond that is not justifiable except as legal punishment.

This is what I mean by whatever God requires of you, it should be unpleasant to have to do these things, but it can be necessary.

If we take issue with the Muslim, or Christian, because we say they are too exclusive, we fail to understand what they really believe.

Some Christians, influenced by the culture, are now trying to be inclusive. They are welcoming the LGBTQ practice into their churches, they justify abortion, they teach things that contradict the Bible, not because they have decided that those things have just been misinterpreted, but because they think the Bible can be ignored, completely, since it’s more important to just believe in Jesus and love other people.

That is an effort to make peace. But at what cost?

Jesus said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Yet, Jesus brings “peace on Earth, and goodwill to men?”

It can be confusing, but certainly, Jesus brought anything but peace with his ministry, always stirring up trouble with the Pharisees.

 The biggest problem in the Christian Church, at least in the Western part, is the compromise with worldly ideas.

I run into it all the time. Other people my age who just can’t understand why I’d bother arguing over beliefs. Often I find out people even at Youth Group have this idea.

The point is not that I like to argue (though I do) but that even when I’d rather not make more work for myself, I still feel I need to, not because I feel I will lose my faith, but because people need to hear.

And the question I finally want to get to, is why is it so important to have a Single Belief?

Isn’t that old fashioned? Isn’t it more progressive to try to include everyone? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to do that?

Actually, no.

In fact, Jesus might have called it blasphemy to even suggest God had part in more than one religion. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6: 15-16 “And what accord does Christ have with Belial? [a false god mentioned often in the old testament] Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols. For you are the temple of the living God.

Jesus said “No one can serve two masters.”

It could not be much clearer that it’s against biblical doctrine to be inclusive about religion.

Now, the intellectual might ask me “Why? Why does your God have to be the Only God?”

The Bible tells us (and any christian with a living relationship with God would confirm it) that God is a jealous God, a consuming fire, and that we should not serve any other Gods but him.

Or before Him, as it’s put in the older translation.

That’s an important difference. If we serve any other god before God, eventually we will not serve God at all. Why? Because the Nature of God makes it impossible to serve Him the way He requires of us, and serve another god, if you stop serving God, you’ll serve something else. You cannot do both.

Which is why I decry anyone who claims to believe Christianity as well as two or three other religions as a hypocrite who understand nothing about it.

It’s, in fact, pleasing lie to the skeptics. It gives them such a smug feeling of rubbing it in the Christians faces, I see it on YouTube all the time.

“Just let us enjoy this…”

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s religious or not…”

“Let’s all just get along…”

Newsflash: Human beings are not meant to “just get along”

And we never will, till Jesus comes back. Even then there will be rebels (see Revelation and Isaiah)

I am not sure why even we in the church are so obsessed with getting along. Jesus said we never would get along with the world. That it would hate us, as it hated Him.

It does make me mad, too, this compromise. It’s not because I don’t like to have my beliefs challenged, its because it’s fraud.

I care about truth (hence the blog name) too much to want to see it water down and mixed with other stuff like some juice concentrate. Till it’s of  no use to anyone.

And I would not consider myself a Real Believer, if I did not feel this was the only Way, Truth, and Life.

I would be more furious with someone trying to blend two incompatible religions, than one sticking to one I don’t agree with it, but doing it with integrity.

The person who knows what devotion is, can change the object of it and not lose their character, the person who never understood devotion will be useless to anyone as anything, because they cannot really believe any more than they can commit.

The problem with how little the church is confronting this belief, at least in the mainstream, is that it knocks the spine out of new believers and old alike.

They are passive, they accept the world’s way because they are never presented with an alternative.

And me, as someone who has always been fiery and passionate, have been told by my pastors and leaders that students just aren’t ready for that.

It’s a lot of poppycock, no one ever is ready. Can you be ready for God’s power? It is something only He can give to people. Do I feel ready now to do anything He might tell me to do? No, but that has nothing to do with doing it.

We are told to be ready in season and out of season, but the church is often not teaching us that we have A Single Religion, that we must not be afraid to tell people that, that if we accept multiple faiths, we dishonor all of them.

It’s like people think Christianity will somehow override the other beliefs and make the person okay, but nothing in the Bible or in history implies that is true. Everything tells us that once you let in a conflicting world view, it takes over until it’s rooted out.

I think this old song by Green Day gets more of what we’re going for here:

 

At risk of sounding nuts,  I could almost picture this song being from Christ to the church, I mean, the biblical allusions are there:

“She’s a rebel, she’s a saint, she’s the salt of the earth and she’s dangerous.

She’s a rebel, vigilante, missing link on the brink of destruction.

… She’s the symbol of resistance, and she’s holding on my heart like a hand grenade.

Is she dreaming, what I’m thinking? Is she the mother of all bombs, about to detonate?

Is she trouble, like I’m trouble, make it a double twist of fate, or a melody that

She sings, the revolution, the dawning of our lives. She brings this liberation, that I just can’t deny.”

My pastor was preaching on just this subject this week, and I would encourage any Christain reading this to see it as a call to action. I don’t know what all you can do, in your situation and life, but I know that my cousin is not the only kid who desperately needs to be taught about this, the whole world does. 

I think that’s where I’ll leave it.

 Although I literally added a bunch to this old post, it’s still like 500 words shorter than my recent ones, go figure, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

 

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Welcome 2021

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s that time to do a obligatory post about the New year, how I hope it will be better, and what I want to change… yeah, not to be too “woke” but I don’t really see the point, you can read that anywhere else on the internet, and people talking crap about 2020 also.

2020 was not an easy year for me, as most of you know, but I don’t think the year itself mattered, even if people are just joking about that, I don’t like the idea that a year is just bad. I’m sure it was amazing for some people, and in may ways, my life was still much better overall than the previous year.

My dad was gone for the whole year, thank goodness, and I worked, if only temporarily, more than the prior year. I reached new heights in writing, got some actual fans on my YouTube channel, and of course, a lot of you joined my humble following this year. Plus, I learned how to cook a bunch of new dishes, mostly dessert, and got a car and insurance so I became mobile and much freer.

I also went to therapy and discovered far more about my body and soul than I ever knew before, that part wasn’t fun, bu I look at is as good because of what it make possible in the future.

My health is improving a little more each week, and my emotional state is gradually changing, though it ebbs and flows, I had a bad day yesterday and the day before, today I hope will be better, but it beats a bad week or month. Some of you people also battling mental and emotional problems know exactly what I mean. I hope that if you’re reading this, you are also on the upward slope, but if it doesn’t feel like it yet, I pray you stay in the ring until it does, it will.

So, yeah, that’s my outlook on 2020, nothing particularly profound about it, I just learned it’s better to be grateful.

I guess if the year taught me something, it was that as long as I looked at what I couldn’t do every day because I felt sick or depressed, I would always be depressed. I would always be anxious as long as I thought that was stopping me from doing everything remotely important. But, if I began to count the things I did do each day, even if they were small, and say “My problems didn’t stop me from doing this” then, I began to feel less helpless, and that made me more determined to kick this. I’ve heard similar stuff from others going through the same thing.

It’s really important to know that darkness in your life cannot blot out the light, in fact, it is realizing that that is half the battle of defeating the darkness period. Once you see the light as more important, darkness starts being displaced, it’s amazing.

I still have not gotten a miracle in the form that I envisioned, but I know that there have been miracles in this process, even so, and I hope and believe they will continue into the new year.

It might be interesting to talk about how God views human time, based on what the Bible says.

A lot of people make one of two mistakes about God, they either think He is bound by time the same way we are, and subject to its limitations so that He cannot act outside of it anymore than we can…or, they think that God is outside of time, and therefore, human dates mean nothing to Him.

The second one is closer to truth, but it’s not actually ture, if we pay close attention.

God is outside of time I think the same way a person who stands at the edge of a river is outside the river, you cannot be pulled along by the current if you are outside it, or even just in the shallows. However, if you want to do anything with the river, you will still have to follow its flow.

You have agency in a way a leaf floating down the river doesn’t, however, you can walk back up the bank to any point in the river you like, you can run ahead of it, or you can jump in and float along. But you cannot interact with anything on the river unless you are willing to be part of the flow, or else take that thing out of it. (What you might say death is.)

If God is outside the river, you could say He is putting us in the way you might put a toy boat. You can do it anytime but it will be in the flow until you take it back out. Birth, death, and life, are all like that boat’s journey.

I hope that conveys how God is not bound by time Himself, but since we are, He binds Himself by it in order to speak to us in ways that we can understand, and effect our lives in was that will matter on Earth. David, I believe, said “My life and times are in Your Hands.”

So, in the Bible, God often does use our timeline to order events. He sets a day of rest every 7 days, a year of rest every 7 years, a year of jubilee ever 50 years. Fasts go for 21 days, 40 days, etc. He puts Jonah in whale for 3 days, raise Lazarus after 3 days, and rise from the dead Himself on the 3rd day.

I don’t know why people find it strange that God likes time, who else would have made time but God? I find it pure nonsense to say that timing doesn’t matter.

But we are cautioned not to obsess over it. Paul tells us not to bother too much about what day we observe, and what we don’t, as long as we feel right with God either way. Christians argue (and so do non-Christians) about whether we should celebrate Christmas, Halloween, and other days like that, given the pagan origins.

And the Bible has examples of both choosing not to, and choosing to redeem it by doing something else. I don’t think it matters that much. God probably cares far more if we are kind to each other regardless than He does about a date on the calendar.

It’s not usually the number itself that God seems to find important, it’s the pattern. Certain things come in 3, 4s, 7s, 10s, 12s, and so on. What day on our calendar it is isn’t important, since several parts of the world use different cleaners, the Jewish one is probably the most significant, but I’ve never felt God blessed me less for not using it. It is what it is.

I also don’t really get the point of caring so much you go against the way your country is set up. Like, people who insist on doing it differently just because it used to be that way, even though it inconveniences everyone around them. Do you really think we have the exact calendar God used when He put this in place.

I mean, every year, someone predicts the world will end this year, the Rapture will happen, and we’ll all be out of here, or screwed, if we don’t believe. And none of them every seem to remember that Jesus said that ‘No one know the hour, no one knows the day, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.” See, even Jesus didn’t know when he’s coming back. Just SOON. And the bible says a 1,000 years is as a day, to Him. So, for God, all this time is like 2 days… I think it would be poetic if he came back in the year 3,000. I’m not sure this planet can last 900 more years though. So, hey, what do I know? Maybe he’ll come back 2,000 years from His Ascension and reign for the last 1000. But I’m not saying that will happen. Maybe there will be no pattern so that none of us can possible predict it, that seems to be what Jesus said, he said it will happen when we least expect it. That’s why we are supposed to live as if every year could be the last.

I used to get very upset by that idea, becuase I felt m life was so small, and if God came back now, I’d have wated it.

I think 2020 taught me something else about that too, I’m no longer really worried about it. And this is why:

Turns out, it’s all in the Bible whenever you need it. 1 Corinthians tells us the secret to a full life no matter our circumstances:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is [d]perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

What fascinates me about this chapter is how it turns all our ideas on their heads. But then, the Word always does. All mysteries and knowledge, all doctrine, all clarity, is useless without love. In fact, if you don’t have love, the last few verse imply, you will not have Clarity. Love is the thing we try to see reflected int he mirror, dimly, but the more we know God, the more we will love, and eventually our love will become perfect as His is perfect.

The greatest saints have all basically ended on that note. By telling us that toe be Perfect in love is essentially the same thing as knowing all, and knowing God. That when we Love like that, we will not need knowledge anymore.

Which is why you will find the deepest wisdom even in the simple and mentally challenged individuals on this planet, because they care far less about the differences and offenses the rest of us do, and they just love.

I note that fiction has understood this better than philosophers have (perhaps that in itself is telling). In fiction, especially romances, (especially anime, oddly enough) the smartest characters are not usually the most loving. Often, in anime, one half of a couple is intelligent, but cold; while the other is a moron, but very loving and unselfish, eventually they thaw the other person out. While the trope annoys me, there is some truth in it. The shows, movies, and books, are not wrong to tell us that love is not bound by intelligence, if anything, it’s harder to love when you think you are too smart.

I think of the movie “Forrest Gump” when Forrest, in one of his best moments, tells Jenny “I may not be smart, but I know what love is.” After Jenny had told him he doesn’t, of course if you watch the movie, Jenny is the one who doesn’t know what love is.

Love is too profound for a genius to explain, but simple enough for a child to understand.

And, in this year, I’ve had very little to offer people, except for love. It felt like I was taking theirs more than giving mine, but I tried to stay connected, and show people I cared still, and be available when they needed it. They didn’t always take me up on it, but they knew, I cared.

And love is what I’ve needed the most from everyone this year. I grew up very unloved, thanks to my parents and my own demons, and being isolated. Unconditional love was not available to me, not because my parents set impossible standards, but because they simply didn’t offer love at all, for the most part. It was very sad.

I have forgiven them a lot, and my mom has made steps forward. She’s tried. I am glad of that. My dad probably never will, but I am learning to accept it.

I found that Love is what fills our time. People who have more outwardly successful lives than I do, feel just as empty. My grandma, who is far healthier than me overall, doesn’t get any enjoyment out of that fact. In my suffering, I was still more joyful than my family who are suffering form insecurities of a different kind.

My life isn’t perfect, but there is Love in it. And I really have God to thank for that, it’s still not mostly from the people around me. They do love me, but I’ve learned that isn’t enough either, unless I am looking to God.

So, even if all I was doing was making a dessert, writing a fanfic, blogging, YouTubing, or visiting a friend, if I did it because I loved them, it wasn’t small. At least no more than regular life as it comes to us is small.

G. K. Chesterton thought everything was small, in a way, if it truly meant anything to you. And that’s true in that what you value most you won’t see as a huge burden. Someone sees 500 miles as a long walk just to get fit, but if it’s to get to your family in dire need, no one would call 500 miles a long distance, in fact, no one worth their family would even think of the distance. That’s how love puts things in perspective.

I wonder if that is why people were so miserable in 2020. No love. Am I hitting home yet? It’s kind of sad if I am, but there is hope. Love is always available to us, thankfully.

If I had to pick a closing thought, it might be something I felt God gave to me the other day: I was praying about believing I was healed NOW, even though I did not see it. And God reminded me of the story of Daniel, praying for an answer, and fasting for 2-3 weeks waiting, when an angel shows up and tells him that God answered his prayer the moment he prayed it, but it took the angel a long time to defeat the demon in charge of the region. Daniel is quite amazed by this, but it tell us something we forget all too often.

NOW is now.

But NOW is also not now.

I thought of something else while I was pondering this, or maybe this thought came first, I don’t remember. Did you know that when we see things, we don’t see them NOW, but in the time it takes light to ounce off them and reach our eyes. It’s less than a second, too small for us to possibly measure it, at least without scientific instruments, but it reality, everything you see is as it was a tiny time in the past…

Makes you question everything, doesn’t it?

But I was annoyed by how my astronomy class used that as a reason to discredit our idea of time. how else can we measure NOW but by what we see, when we see it. Nitpicking terms is silly, Now is what we perceive in the immediate, there is no other way for us to measure it.

But this bit of info made me realize that there are in effect two NOWs. The scientific one, and the one that matters to us, our human now.

And I think God has arranged it that way on purpose. It doesn’t mean our perceptions are invalid, because there is too little time for anything to noticeably change between the light and our reception of it, but our body has to wait.

That’s a lot like how prayer works, if Daniel’s experience is any indication. His prayer was answered at once, in God’s NOW, but the time that was present to Daniel was weeks later.

Prayer is answered, now. But it would be a true saying if we said that Now both means when God actually answers it, and when we get the answer. Sometimes it is immediate for us, but most of the time it takes time.

It’ll spin your head if you let it, but in another way, it’s very simple. The way we decide to do something and we say “It’s done” reflects how we see the intention and the action as essentially the same if we are capable of pulling it off. Action movies use that a lot.

I challenge you to think of time a little differently. Intention and completeion, they really aren’t that far away, in God’s view. Just in ours.

In the same way, whatever we decide to do is what will happen, though it sounds hokey. Of course our plans get changed, but by and large, what we achieve depends on what we decide to achieve.

I hope that gives someone hope. That’s why I say 2021 will be a better year, because I have purposed in my heart, as the Word puts it, to make it better. i will simply see it that way, because I decided that.

2020 may have been out of our control, and 2021 is too, but you decide what you have ultimately. Even under tyranny, what you decide still has massive power.

To the new year! Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

A 2020 Thanksgiving post

Well, it’s that day of the year again, at least where I live. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I want to keep this brief, because I’m sure you all have better things to do than read my blog, like spending time with family. But hey, if you are one of those unfortunate people who is alone today, just know that someone does care about you, God loves you, and this will get better if you rely on Him.

2020 has been one heck of a year to be glad about anything in, but I do have a list of things to be happy about.

  1. The Oh Hellos dropped two new EPs this year after like 2 years of nothing, that was awesome.
  2. I made some new friends.
  3. I hung out with old friends, got to know them better, and stayed in touch with others.
  4. I have now had a whole year without my abusive father in my life, and while that’s had its ups and downs, I am still grateful for the freedom.
  5. I read some good books, saw some great movies, and discovered some cool shows with my siblings.
  6. I spent more time with my cousins than I ever have.
  7. I survived.

Strangely, with as miserable as I have been, that number 4 makes me think, would I trade all the suffering of this year for another year with my dad in my life, the way it was?

The answer is a resounding NO! and that is pretty telling. I have had times I wanted to die this year, but I wouldn’t trade that for living with him again.

It sounds terrible, doesn’t it, but, I think of it like this: Living with a toxic person is just that, toxic, all the pain I went through because of that that person is at least flushing out that toxin, reintroducing it would defeat the entire point and render my suffering null and void.

We may hate to suffer, but we crave knowing it has a purpose and meaning, and if that is threatened, we sink into much deeper despair. That is one reason Christians and other theists weather suffering better overall, we believe it has a reason.

And I hope that is encouraging for someone, COVID happened, riots struck, Biden won, (which even democrats are not universally happy about, and republicans are furious); and it’s one thing after another. Maybe no one expected anything good to happen this year anyway, people can be real pessimistic.

But the Bible says God sends good times and bad times, He sends rain on the wicked and the just. And He uses all this for His purpose. We cannot stop Him, whether we be a king or a convict or a pauper.

I am glad my fate is not in the hands of my government, it’d be a scary prospect. I am glad it is not in my own hands, I am glad it’s not in the hands of any human being or organization.

You ever notice you can be glad without feeling glad? Gladness is a state of mind. Just like you can be sour on life without feeling particuallry sad.

My dad, who probaly has BPD, would be unhappy even when he felt happy. I’ve been there too. Determined to spoil it by thinking of all that could go worng and if the slightest thing did, his happy vibe would blow away like smoke, and the agner would surgace again. Miseray loves company.

While, even when I feel awful, if I am in a glad state of mine, I will find things to be grateful for. If I truly want to be glad, I can be. C. S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce “All those who seek Joy find it.”

I have not felt happy very much this year, but I know that I have been happier this year than I probably was last year. I know that I was happy even when I was depressed and miserable, because, I kept going, and I knew that there were things in life worth holding on for, and I had God’s help to know that, I am sure of that.

When I look back over this year, I couldn’t even tell you how I got through, if I had been told last year what it would be like, I would have said I could never endure something like that, but I did, and my memory doesn’t even serve to tell me an exact moment I became able to bear all this, something just carried me, I think. Even when I felt crushed, I must not really have been standing alone.

Love and life with apraxia... | Footprints in the sand poem, Footprint,  Footprints poem

I think that goes for you too, whether you believe in God or not, if you are reading this, He has held you up, through this year. So many people have not held on, those who have must have reached for something bigger than themselves, whether they called it God or not.

I hope we are all humbler than we were, this year has really exposed the lie that we can be self sufficient, all of us who were stupid enough to think that found out we were wrong pretty quickly (you remember when you first became so desperate for a hug you’d have hugged a total stranger? When you wanted to talk to someone about anything, even the weather? Haven’t we all had that this year?)

Many of us are mourning the loss of someone we know, or several someones, and I can’t be trite about that, but I do think, maybe we learned to value the people still with us a little more because of that, or to be more compassionate to others in the same boat as us.

Maybe we learned that our opinions are both important, and yet not as important as we thought.

I don’t know what your journey has been, but I know mine has been to realize that without love, without kindness between people, nothing really is worth doing with them. Superficial relationships don’t satisfy when a crisis hits, I need something real.

I hope that we are all becoming less content with the superficial, the fake, the flippant. As we find how unsatisfying it is.

I hope that this encouraged you at least a little to look at this year differently.

But even if you think I’m talking a lot of nonsense, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and I hope you will have blessings this year far more than you ever thought possible. May “your latter glory be greater than your former” (Haggai 2:9)

HAGGAI

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Holiday Meanings.

I did a post on new Year’s Day and did not talk about New Year’s resolutions…that would make me weird. I notice that bloggers usually talk about popular things around the holidays, like Christmas Spirit, being thankful, and changing your life.

You know, it’s interesting if you put those holidays in order, the order everyone thinks of, (technically New Year’s is both the first and last holiday of the year, since it starts on December 31st and ends January 1st), you get the Day for Thankfulness, the Day for Giving and Receiving, and the Day for New Beginnings.

I don’t want to say it was done on purpose, but there could be some symbolism there if you’re the type to look for it.

Often a step toward change is being thankful for what you have to start with, to take the ingredients of your life and start seeing them as assets, and not annoyances.

Then you might realize you need to be contribute something to the people around you, and if you’re like me, you realize you need to let them give something back to you. People like to be needed.

Finally, this may all amount to some serious life changes.

People complain a lot that New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time and lead only to broken promises, but holiday traditions are not necessarily completely literal.

In the Church when we take Communion, we are not literally eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood, he gave us communion so we could remember that we have done this in the spiritual realm, that eating and drinking mean something different there then they do in the physical. It reminds us of our need for Him, and Him fulfilling it.

In the same way, at Thanksgiving, we aren’t starving (hopefully) and we aren’t always people who are unhappy with this life and need to revolutionize how we think, it is simply reminding us to be thankful. That we are blessed.

Christmas is not the day we can give each other the most important gift of all, New Life, Hope, Christ, but we give gifts to remind each other of that gift. IT’s our way of honoring it.

And New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily a call to change everything in one day, they remind us that change is possible and we can make that choice. They remind us we aren’t perfect. But we can keep dreaming, and improving.

While it’s true many people have lost sight of the meaning of all three of these holidays, it doesn’t mean the meaning is not there.

I like the reminder on January first that I have a new year ahead, and a new chance.

I make a dream list every year instead of resolutions. I have things I want changed, but I prefer to dream, and not necessarily have a time limit on it. I’ve put some of the same things on my list for years, you learn patience.

I mentioned in my post about fan fiction that one thing I’ve learned form it is that I am not able to fix everything. I am not that smart. All I have to go on is the truth.

I’ve learned in twenty years of living that there’s alto I can’t control. But I’m at peace with that most of the time. I do get frustrated now and then, but I’ve come to see that God is the one who should be in control, not me.

The thing about writing, and often other art forms, is that you have total creative control, and yet you don’t. You are limited by your own limitations of character, intelligence, and knowledge. Many great writers wrote their best stuff without knowing they were doing it.

Leonardo Da Vinci is famous for his Mona Lisa, and we are not sure who she was, it’s likely he thought he would sell it, but he chose not to. It could be he didn’t plan on it being one of his greatest works, yet it ended up being so.

The same thing with holidays. They remind us of important things, but they won’t substitute for those things, it’s just a day to remember. And remember that we have room to grow.

Anyway, to the New Year!–Natasha.

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