(Re-post from Ramblings) The Little Engine that Could Not.

You’ve heard about the little engine that could. He was new, shiny and blue. He had a black little smokestack and all the willpower in the world to get up that dang hill.
His chugging resunded from the neighboring hill, echoing off in the distance.

I think I can, I thinkIcanithinkicaniknowicaniknowican. And he made it over the hill. All the engines and people cheered for his little triumphant butt.

Enough about him.

There was another little engine. One who tried and tried and tried but just couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He refused.
See, this little engine was a beautiful candy apple red one, top of the line. He had shiny chrome wheels and the station master ADORED him.
One day, an engine from another station came by and talked to the little Engine. She was long, shiny and black. She started telling the little engine tantalizing tales about all the things the Station master had forbidden the little red engine to do.
The little red engine became entranced with these things and the rebelliousness of it all enticed him. Before he knew it, he’d become addicted to them. He did these acts in secret, but the station master knew EVERYTHING that his trains did.
Soon, he realized that his problem had gotten out of control and he wanted to stop. He wanted to quit. He refused to live this life, bogged down by his problems, his addictions. He was the little engine that couldn’t do this anymore.
“IjustcantIjustcantIjustcant IknowIcan’tIknowIcan’t.”

Unfortunately for him, and us, beating addiction is easier said than done.

Like in my case, anyone I know can attest to the fact that I used to be SUPER  addicted to coffee and I’ve now moved on to another problem. We’ll say it’s chocolate problem (chocolate is kinda becoming a problem anyway.). Both of these things aren’t inherently SIN, but gluttony is a sin, and eating THIS much chocolate is gluttony. So, there ya go. I’m sinning. It’s a sin that people know of, but don’t consider a “big sin”, even though it is one of the deadlies.

Anyway. So, this is my sin. I eat candy bars every day, at least 2. In addition to the guilt I feel for over indulging, I am also gaining weight, wrecking my teeth, screwing my poor digestive system over, hurting my focus and wasting my money. Actions have consequences and mine have some big ones! I’m aware of them, but I keep doing it. I’m currently disgusted with myself. I spent the first 4 months of this year dropping 35 pounds and I’ve probably gained back 8 of them. Urf!

I’ve tried the whole “Flee temptation” thing. Being the kinesthetic learner that I am, I tried to actually run away from candy bars and looked like a total idiot. It’s kind of hard to literally FLEE something that’s RIGHT THERE.

I tried “In the name of Jesus, candy temptation be gone! I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ!” Hah. I’m not saying that Jesus can’t overpower that temptation, but sugar cravings are deeper than a lot of others. I know they psychologically/physiologically affect the body in many ways and are often tied in with other behaviors, memories, emotions, etc. It’s hard to beat! If I look at candy too long, I’ll buy it. and it never tastes as good as I think it will.
Other sins like stealing, porn or drunkenness release mood altering hormones that the body gets addicted to, which makes them hard to crack. It isn’t always the behaviors someone is addicted to, but the body’s response to them. Therein lies the rub. If sin merely affected the soul, it might be easier to break. Since the body is involved too, everything becomes more complex.

So, I decided to try something. One day, I resolved that I would just not buy chocolate for a week. Just, nope, none, I’d quit cold turkey, yes I would. Thoughts of Reese’s swirled in my head all day long. By lunchtime I wanted that “forbidden fruit” so bad I physically salivating.

3 hours in, guess what I was eating?

Determined to shake this, I said “THAT IS IT. NO MORE CHOCOLATE FOR A MONTH.”
I’m female. I lasted 3 days. Maybe four.

This battle raged on for a while. Earlier this week I decided to try something.
“You know what? I will not eat any candy or chocolate today. I will not think about yesterday or tomorrow. I just won’t eat it today.” Today is doable. “God, I give this to you today.”

There’s an old song that goes “Strength everlasting and grace for today.” Lamentations 3 says that God’s mercy is renewed each morning. These things are resonating with me. His mercy is new each morning and every day I’m getting the strength to fight the cravings and not give in to temptation.

Those “todays” are slowly but surely adding up. I’ve lost track of the last time I caved. Was it last week? Two days ago? I don’t care any longer. What keeps me focused is not thinking about yesterday’s failures, and not focusing on the future. Every morning I give this sin up to my wonderful heavenly father. He takes it from me and in return for this vile goop, gives me grace and strength to carry through and press into him.

No matter what your “chocolate” is. If you’re the little engine who can’t take this crap anymore, guess what? You don’t have to! It doesn’t matter if your chocolate is actually chocolate, if it’s drugs, drinking, smoking, porn, swearing, whatever your poison is,the fact is you don’t HAVE to be addicted any longer. If you need it, get help, counseling. As you quit, give your cravings and temptations over to God. Say it, out loud.

“God, with your help, I will NOT be doing (insert behavior here) today. Please give me the strength and grace to make it through today.”.
Take baby steps in the process of building newer better habits and don’t freak out when you fall. Just pick yourself up, don’t look back. Don’t look forward either. Just look at him.

…and thus the little engine who refused to take it anymore, confessed his problems to the station master. The station master helped the little guy get back on the right track. Now the little engine that couldn’t and refused to be stuck in his addiction is free.

All aboard!
-Becky

(Repost from the broken blog.) A Purity Ring Wrecked my Relationship.

I grew up on princesses, imagination, Saturday morning cartoons and the mantra that if you did everything right and played by the rules, you’d eventually make your dreams come true and get everything you wanted in life. Also, God would answer every prayer you had and he’d do it quick.

So, that’s what I did. I never rebelled against my parents, I was always home on time, I worked hard outside, all for the hope of getting my wishes granted. I also went to church as much as I could and tithed what l had to tithe.

As a kid, I almost always got every Christmas and birthday gift I asked for. My prayer to heal up scabby knees and old scars were always answered. I always thanked God.
It was good, it was great and it was working. The formula, the rules were in place, and if I had it my way, this formula would work until I died. Work hard, play hard, follow the rules = you get what you want. Always.

And then reality set in. My dad walked out when I was 13 and somehow, someway, that stupid formula remained to mess up most of my teenage years.

See, I’d done everything “right”. Church, hard work, no cheating, stealing, lying, being jealous, and yet, this was happening! My parents weren’t supposed to get divorced because my sisters and I were good kids. I never blamed myself for them splitting up. I was upset because it happened and because the magical life formula had failed me for the first time.
Deep down inside, I know I was giving God a “What do you think you’re doing? This isn’t how it works!” face, but I never full out blamed him for my father’s actions.

Then entered adolescence and a newfound appreciation for boys. There also was a certain fad popping up in the homeschool circles I ran in.
After all the boys started to “Kiss Dating Goodbye”, all the girls began to adopt purity rings and start to giggle and prattle on about courtship and dating or courtship vs dating and how “True Love Waits”. The parents who’d run around like crazy in the ‘70s and the churches were all for the idea of course. Give your daughters a purity ring to remind them to stay abstinent until they got married so they don’t get pregnant and go crazy like their peers and make the same mistakes “we” (the parents) did. Make the boys kiss dating goodbye so they don’t date and then you don’t have to worry about having grandchildren before you turn 40! Make all the kids court! It was a plan, a formula . It was also very popular, and everybody and the Jonas Brothers had either a purity ring, a copy of that book or a True Love Waits themed Bible.

I’m not sure if it was something the church said or something I misheard/misread but, the message 14 year old Becky got was “Follow the rules, get a purity ring and you’ll have prince charming knocking at your doorstep within a few years.”
Being the princess story loving (Married at 16? Oh yes please!), daydreaming, hopeless romantic I was, this was too perfect.

When I was 15, I got a purity ring. I was so excited. People complimented me on it, asked me about it, I used it as a witness tool. It was great! Until I began to notice something unsettling during that year. my friends were DATING here and there. And none of them had a PURITY RING. They weren’t following the formula. And yet… they were getting romance?! For another thing, I was turning 16 in a week and the only guys I knew were my step brother and few crazy kids at church whom I caught frogs with.

“Um.. hello God? You see me? I’m right here! I’ve got my purity ring on and I’m obeying all the rules! Where is mine? Did you forget about ME? What are you doing? WHERE IS MINE?!” -Becky, age 16. Then, my mom met my stepdad online and I was mega jealous. “Where’s mine?! I’m doing it right too!”

Then my friends started meeting other teenagers, dating (or courting) and getting engaged. Getting MARRIED at 17, 18, 19. People younger than I , people who weren’t following the “rules”, disobedient (in my perspective) people were getting REWARDED with MY PRIZE.

Now, I was mad at God, and I may have ranted here and there, but I never out right told him I was mad at him. My dream of meeting Mr. Right on my 16th birthday came and then was shattered by life. No one told me that my formula was faulty. I was quietly fuming at God because this prayer wasn’t being answered. Because there was this romance hole in me that couldn’t be filled by anything but a man. Because I felt that God wasn’t listening. That if he loved me and if I was as attractive as everyone said, I’d be in a relationship, and I’d be happy!
Even church people perpetuated the formula by telling me that I was a “good girl” and that “my time was next.” So, I kept waiting, praying, and quietly being irate at a supernatural Being who could give me everything I needed but would ignore the main thing I wanted.

The years went on. When I was 18, we moved to Minnesota. I started working retail. By 20 I’d met my “dream” guy and started awkwardly pining after him and anyone else who was cute and appeared single.
Not hard core mind you, but little, subtle things like going out of my way to greet them, compliment their shirt, stuff like that. I thought “Well hey, maybe God helps those who help themselves, so I’m just going to go talk to guys! Yeah! That’ll work.”

Still nothing.

Fast forward. I’m 24. I’ve been on one date, if you can call it a date, I bought my own food. I’ve had about 2 flirty flings that never developed into anything and I’ve been hit on by creeps on a regular basis for a few years. My childhood pals are all either married, engaged or perfecting their cookie baking skills and don’t care for romance. And they’re all happy. I’m still not. Still feeling like the forgotten yet faithful. Still feeling sorry for myself. Still feeling that God somehow lied to me. Still hoping, still dreaming, still feeling like this “waiting” stuff is useless. Still thinking that my life doesn’t start until I get into some sort of romantic relationship.
Nevermind that I’m on the verge of graduating college.  Nevermind that I’ve written 2 novels, have been on a road trip, have never had an accident or been fired. Oh no.
Somehow it’d been engrained in me that I was less of a person due to my relationship status. And that God loved me less because he didn’t answer the prayers of my achy breaky lonely heart.

It’d been nine long, weird, heartbreaking yet hopeful, easy and yet traumatic years since I put that purity ring on my finger. Nine years since I’d begun praying for a man. Nine years since I thought all of my dreams would come true.

Things really blew up when my 18 year old sister started dating someone this fall. She’s got a big rebellious streak. And there I was, obedient and single. And hurting.

I was so mad at God. This was one of the times that my anger actually showed. Our relationship had (well, has) been rocky at best. I’m prone to wander off in all sorts of places, come back with my tail between my legs and then get distracted again. I’m obedient, but I’ve also got a really bad case of Spiritual A.D.D.
As I tried to work through my feelings, I blamed God for my unhappiness, for my lack of a man, for my looks and every flaw. I reminded Him that he could have made me more this and that, less this and that, He could give me what I wanted so why didn’t He?
Then there was the part of my processing that involved many sad tears of “What did I do wrong? I followed all the rules, why why why?! WHY NOT ME, GOD? You forgot about me, didn’t you? I’ve waited and waited and waited and waited…” I bemoaned my existence, twirling that ring on my finger. That promise of a soon husband. That vow to wait, because true love supposedly waits. I was sick of just “waiting” for God to magically drop a hunk into my arms. Sick of feeling like I was doing my “part” of the formula without getting the expected result.

Something prompted me to “break” the formula. Something stirred inside, reminding me that God is bigger than a formula, a phrase, a purity phenomenon. God can’t be put into a box, and isn’t required to follow mortal plans or formulas for happiness.

A little piece of hammered gold, size 6 with Hebrews 12:1 ( the reference only) inscribed on the back, and a Cross signet that I once dipped in wax to seal a little envelope containing my pledge of purity ruined my relationship with God. I let a plan wreck my relationship. I let a magic formula wreck my relationship. I let JEWELRY ruin the most beautiful gift that I’ve ever received.

Two weeks ago I took the ring off and put it in a jewelry box. No more just “waiting” for God to bring someone to me. No more just focusing on the promise that has yet to be realized. By taking that ring off, I realized all the other ways God has been faithful. He restored my little broken family. He blessed me with a car when I needed it. He’s provided for my needs in and out all throughout my life and I was sitting there, raging, fuming at him because he didn’t give me one thing I wanted.

It made me see that I wasn’t so great because of my obedience. By taking off that ring and shifting my focus, I was able to see the flaws of my wicked little heart. I went from hating God to being humbled by his ever-present love and grace.

True Love, God’s love has always been there for me. It’s not something I had to wait for. It has been patiently waiting on me to turn around and realize its presence and value. Waiting on ME, not I on it.

Now that the ring is off, I’m working on repairing my relationship with God. I spend more time meditating on His truth and in prayer, and less time crying about my relationship status. I spend more time quieting my mind so I can hear His voice and feel his peace. I pay more attention in church. The lover of my soul communicates with me in many ways and I don’t want to miss a single one of them! (Now if I just could get back into reading the Bible again…)

I wish to be clear about something. That pledge I made about retaining my virginity until I enter wedlock? That still stands. My vow is intact and will remain intact, no matter the circumstances. The Bible is pretty clear about what activities are for everyone and what activities belong in the confines of a marriage relationship. There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with “waiting” and wearing a purity ring or making a commitment, unless the wait/ring/commitment becomes a source of idolatry for you, a way to “control” God’s blessings, or a source of contention between you and the Lord.

As far as purity goes, I’m certainly waiting. However, in all other aspects of my life, I’m not “waiting” any longer. I’m learning. I’m learning how to be still and know that He is God. How to be committed. How to be dedicated. How to listen. How to take care of my mind and soul. How to be resolute. How to say no. How to take no as an answer. I’m learning, and re-learning how to be God’s daughter. I wasted too many years focused on myself and my feelings and my broken dreams. It’s time to get real, to do something. Time is ticking and I’m not going to waste it away by wallowing in my singleness. Life is too short to make romance the number one priority.

If I meet someone before I die, great. If not, well, hey, I’ve got a loving Heavenly Father. I have a tight circle of friends. I also have money and access to Chipotle, so I will be a-ok!

And so will you.

-Becky

(Re-Post, slight edits!) There’s hope!

So, there was this girl. She had a Christian mom and a Dad who…merely donated some genetic material and caused a lot of unneeded fear. Her life was a cacophony of misadventures, spankings and shame, bumps and bruises. There was yelling, lots of yelling. If she cried, she’d get spanked. Her childhood was a tangled up mess of hurt feelings, insecurities and dream worlds in which she’d hide.

There were monsters under her bed that no one helped her scare off. Nightmares that should couldn’t crawl into her parents bed to hide from. She was scared of the dark, of loud noises, of her cats dying, of monsters she could feel looming just below the bed post.

When she grew older, those fears, that pain, that insecurity hurt her. She made an escape from reality, a retreat into her own little world. A world where toys were kind and friendly, and her only real connection to the outside world. They acted as in-betweens from the tangible reality and the intangible safe haven.

Time passed. The mean father walked out of the house one day. He asked her to help him pack. The little girl was confused, and didn’t help him pack at all. Her mother later told her to stay strong. The happy place was revamped to include characters instead of toys, and it became safer. She took naps, trying to sleep the grief away. When she was awake, she took to food for comfort. There was none to be found anywhere, but she kept searching, while her little broken heart healed in a crooked fashion. Her father waltzed in and out of her life like a revolving door, he cared, then he didn’t. She was the apple of his eye, then she was trash. Someone to be respected then something to take to the dump.

At 16, overweight, unhappy and hurting, the young lady stood on her porch, looking down at the ground three floors below.
‘Maybe if I jump off, I can break my leg and my heart won’t hurt anymore. Maybe if I hurt myself, he’ll feel guilty for what he did.’
‘Maybe, if I jump off, I’ll just die and I won’t have to hurt anymore. Get so sad and so guilty because I’m dead that he’ll die too.’ She stood there, one leg on the rail of the balcony. She looked down, heard her mom approach the apartment door and she scampered away from the balcony.
Someone talked her out of it—jumping would only break a leg or paralyze her. She dropped the notion.

She’d stare at pill bottles, pain killer, wondering if she took enough of those, would the pain in her soul cease? She was sick of hurting. The fear of throwing up stopped her.

Age 18 she was still in pain from the father who’s emotional abuse had scarred her, but who’s hands she longed to cling to, who’s lap she desperately wanted to be in, she wasn’t sure what to do. The pain was becoming a hollow numbness inside of her that consumed her. She couldn’t feel happiness, joy, release.
Everything stayed locked up inside of her. She was staying strong, like Mommy had wanted. Daddy said tears were weakness, just another sign that she was a “whiny ass” as he so called her.

One afternoon, something told her to do it. ‘Yes, grab that knife, it said. See your wrist? You’ll feel the most there.’
But, blood. She girl fondled the pocket knife she’d bought at work. Then she glanced at her short, ragged fingernails that she picked constantly. Yes. Those would do.
With one quick motion they raked across her pale skin. The claw marks were painful, yet satisfying. A release. She could feel again. She tugged the sleeve of her shirt down so no one could see, she wore bracelets to hide it.
‘Look what you did, you failure. You’ve become one of those losers who self-harms. You’re pathetic. ‘ That same voice chuckled. It was done. It became a habit. The girl was trapped.

Then she got some help.

That girl’s name is Becky. She’s now 25 years old and 5 years clean without a relapse. Yep, me.

I know you’re out there, you with the knife, the gun, the pills, your nails. You hate yourself, the world, your parents, classmates, bullies. You want revenge, you want to feel, you need to punish yourself for your shortcomings. Maybe you cry a lot and people tease you for it. Maybe you talk differently or look funny or don’t think as fast as others. Maybe your daddy abused you. Maybe your mom is a druggie. Maybe you’re “fat”, “ugly”, “stupid”, “no-good”, ”failure”.

I don’t know your circumstances, but I know how it feels to see a beast in the mirror. To wake up alive and curse the fact your lungs are working.

The old phrase ‘It’s darkest before the dawn’ is true. Unfortunately, many young people don’t survive the darkest hours, they take life into their own hands.
If you’re a Christian and you feel this way, realize this feeling isn’t from God. He says some cool stuff about you.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
These things you feel, this release you crave can only be found in Jesus. In him there is release from guilt and there is healing.

As for punishment, Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sin. You don’t NEED to punish yourself. He did it FOR you because he adores you more than anything in creation. You. Yes. You. Your sin, guilt, shame all on that cross about 2000 years ago. It’s over, done.

If you’re not a believer, I encourage you to get in touch with some or some loved ones and friends. There is HOPE.  IT GETS BETTER! Life IS worth living, and we as humans weren’t designed to handle tough scenarios by ourselves. Confide in someone who you trust. Go be with friends, do what you love.

Get help for your problems. There is no shame, I repeat NONE in getting help through therapy, your doctor or counseling. If you wish to remain anonymous, there are hotlines all over the globe you can call and get the help and support you need.
Here’s a few, and I wish I’d heard of them at the time.

 

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

Self Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255

Whoever and wherever you are, I’m praying for you.

-Becky

WE’VE MOVED!

Or should I say, I’ve moved. It’s moved.

My old email got hacked and Microsoft locked me out  (commence Becky shaking her fist in disdain at hackers and technology), so, my new blog is here.

A continuation of https://sonworshipper74.wordpress.com.

Username/website is ” Why are all the good urls taken”, because they are and I’m trying really hard to be clever, can’t you tell?

New posts with some depth coming soon!