Rebel With A Cause

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To the very core I am a rebel. My spirit rebels against injustice, inequality, prejudice of any kind and most of all I rebel against conventionalism. Many times I fight against myself, I remember feeling like I just didn’t fit the mold as a kid and always being uncomfortable in my own skin. I hated it but, at some point in my mind my enemy became my friend and being different began to define me.

Rebellion was a way of life, the saying rebel without a cause comes to mind…looking back my rebellion seemed purposed to try and find my way out of pain to mask it with what was comfortable or brought me relief in the moment. So, I let my rebellious nature win out more times than not. Its has not always been a conscious choice but many times it was. I have chosen to not listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in heart and steered myself directly into the destruction I continued to create for myself.  

Over the weekend during the sharing time of my 12 step study I was discussing this subject and I had a sort of epiphany. In our study guide we listed things that we use or have used to block pain…I realized that one of the greatest ways I used to avoid pain was to distance myself from God through rebellion against His call on my life. He wanted me to turn my eyes to Him. I wanted my way. I didn’t see that through those promptings He was trying to bring me freedom not oppression.

Truth be told the most satisfying and greatest rebellion of my life was the day I rebelled against my own nature and decided to be a rebel with a cause. The cause of Christ. He has always had a plan for me, a plan that even though it is still in its developing stages is allowing me to see what a beautiful thing it is to have God using my life and the parts of me that I attributed to being negative to further His kingdom. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

He is showing me that there are so many healthy ways to  exercise my rebellious soul,  He’s helping me to daily to rebel against hatred, needless shame, lies of the enemy, and apathy. He’s showing me I can rebel  against the pull of anxiety, fear, worry, selfishness, addiction to food, devices, media, the unhealthy ideas I harbor of romantic love and the desire for more that plagues me and our society. He says…”Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,  “The Lord is my helper; will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

Praise God for the provision he has provided for this rebellious daughter. I pray that I can continue to rebel against myself and the world to live God’s purpose for me with unwavering hope for the future in the shadow of His grace and truth.

Jenness c/s

 

Recovery

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Recovery is not for the faint of heart. It is however for the bold, the brave, the desperate, the addict, the weary and the broken. You simply have to be human to need recovery. The human condition is such that breeds hurt, dysfunction and pain. No one is immune because no one is perfect. There is a perception that recovery is for “those” people. Well I’m here to say it absolutely is for “those” people for your mom, dad, sister, brother, boss, pastor, best friend and for YOU. Celebrate Recovery is for definitely me. I have been in recovery now for 2 plus years and it is the best thing I ever have done for myself. If you look back at my blog there is some dark and desperate posts that characterized my battle with panic and anxiety. I was a person who didn’t think recovery was for me and I didn’t need help, I would figure it out on my own. I could not have been more wrong, I was in a constant state of chaos, reeling from hurt, ignoring God and saying yes to all the wrong people and situations. I was lost and I couldn’t even see it.

The first day I walked through the doors of Celebrate Recovery was probably one of the most transformative days of my life. That’s the day I started saying yes to God and no to my own way. Allowing God to transform me into the person He wants me to be and it has been one of the hardest battles I’ve faced. One of the hardest things in recovery is to face the truth. The truth that I and I alone was responsible for my pain, that I cant do it on my own and need help. Yes people hurt, took advantage and negatively affected my life, but I made the choices that created chances for people to hurt me. I didn’t protect the life and heart that God had given me from the sickness of the world. I had become casual about sin and had a someday attitude. Some day I will live for Christ, when I am through school, happily married, thin, more financially stable…the list goes on. Someday hit me squarely between the eyes and said NO TODAY IS THE DAY YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE. My panic attacks were debilitating and getting worse everyday. I wasn’t functioning anymore and I tried to fool myself into believing that I could just muddle through it. But I was slowly dying it was a matter of time and I would have been dead. Maybe not physically but emotionally, spiritually dead. In reality I was there and it was no kind of life it was pure torture.

Miracles still happen God brought me, the dead, back to life.  I have now been 2 years without a panic attack, but the most miraculous thing that has happened since I have been in recovery is that I have a renewed faith and sense of hope. God has brought me out of denial and apathy onto a path of redemption, grace, forgiveness, truth and spiritual growth. He brought me to Himself and is allowing me to enjoy my progress and see my growth. He is showing me how to use my life in service to him and I love the work He is doing in me. For the first time in many years I can say that this year is going to end on a high note and I am looking forward to what God has for me next year!

Jenness

cr welcome

Your Children Aren’t Safe

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glitter and church

Last week I sat in a hard chair with a red velvet cookie and my pen in hand at a conference about domestic sex trafficking (shout out to Dawn Maglish from INsideOUT Salon for putting it on). The room was full of people from the community asking the question: “Does this REALLY happen in the U.S.?”

I sat there and reapplied my MAC Viva Glam 1 red lipstick, waiting for the detectives to start sharing with the group. Every girl needs a signature look, and I’ve adopted thick black winged liner and red lips just like half the country. What more could I hear that I hadn’t already read? What new information would they bring?

They started talking and I think my jaw literally dropped open and hung there for the next hour. The things they shared… The things that happen in our communities… Our safe communities. Our beautiful and…

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Updates On Life In Recovery…

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I think it’s important for me to post about my life during recovery because it truly can help me gain perspective and gives me something to look at when times are bleak or really awesome. I’ve made some decisions on the things I should be focusing on first. There is far too much to conquer all at one time so I’m trying to think about doing it in manageable pieces. For example I would like to be more responsible with my spending habits ensuring I have enough to cover the month reoccurring things like car insurance, gas, cell phone…you know the things that help you do your life.

My small group has been hard but I feel like I’m finally getting it and taking little steps towards openness and transparency. I appreciate that I have place where I can be completely real and forthright with no fear of retribution or judgment. I can see how this could help me get to the deeper issues the things that truly have caused the chaos.

I was having a panic attack a few weeks ago and I felt like I was literally losing my mind. I would vacillate between smiling and giggling at the show I was watching and sobbing. I felt like my mind wasn’t my own, with my feelings all over the place I kept getting this sense or more a reoccurring thought much like ‘a still small voice’ (1 Kings 19:11-13 KJV) saying get on your knees and pray. Now the verses I mentioned in my last post are still ringing very true for me that the fires of my affliction are burning hot. But I feel like maybe I have more control over them than I previously thought. And by control I mean I am the greatest causation factor for them in a sense…I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense…it’s hard to put my crazy thoughts into cohesive explanations. (Thankfully I have people in my life who speak fluent Jennessease and can decipher the crazy when it comes out. :)) So as to eliminate excuses I got myself ready for bed grabbed my Bible and got on my knees. I was broken in prayer but was also led to a glimmer of hope…I reread the verses that I had been lead to before about being refined in the fire…but I also turned to my favorite verse…Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”…I usually stopped there but that night I kept reading…not only will there be relief an end to pain but, 5. “He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then, he said “Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “I am the Alpha and the Omega the Beginning and the End. To him is thirsty I will give drink without cost from the spring from the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” The overcomer will inherit God’s kingdom. That came as such a comfort to me as someone who has been long suffering.

My point is though the journey is long and the road fraught with pain and most likely more suffering that glimmer remains. God has something special planned for His children that overcome what seem to be unbeatable odds…

My prayer? That the glimmer becomes a roaring fire one that lights my path and the world around me so that though “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for (I will know that) he is with me his rod and his staff will comfort me”… (Psalms 23:4) All the personal demons of the past will be put a faint memory…how I long for those days and so plunge forward into the unknown of recovery and try to embrace hardship as the pathway to peace.

Jenness

c/s

Why God?…

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Why God?? I have been told many times as a believer that you are not supposed to ask God why…but I say why can’t I if it helps me to process and communicate with God. (By the way I have always been a bit of a rebel and “rule breaker”) to me it’s like picking up the phone and venting to a friend. Today I am seriously asking why God? Not in a frantic, panicky way but in a I wish I had a solution way.

I am giving the anxiety a serious battle today! I am so close to a panic attack, I can feel it creepy its nasty fingers around my heart and mind, the tears are just at the surface and have been for days. The tingling in my face have been prevalent for 3 days now and the shaking started this morning. And I am seriously asking God why…why is this battle one that I have to fight? I hate the desperation it brings to my life. I hate the emotional and physical exhaustion it brings. As I am sitting at my keyboard I am seriously battling not walking out of my job and going home. But, I am taking deep breaths and continuing to try to fight back.

My life has brought me many challenges and that is part of why I am asking God why…I am abnormal and to a degree I embrace this fact but not when the abnormal creates apparent dysfunction. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed to the point where I can’t function. I don’t understand if I can feel it coming if I am trying to combat it why it still hits me like a brick wall. Why I can’t seem to prevent it and why when I cry out to the Lord the enemy of my peace of mind doesn’t part from me. Why Lord must this be a burden I bear, I HATE IT!! I hate that I can’t overcome my demon of destruction…I have tears of shame and sorrow streaming down my face and though I openly rebuke Satan and his attack on me, my body remains at war with my desire for peace.

The only thing I can think is that it is serving a purpose…I am someone who tries to rely heavily in her intuition and I have had a particular thing running like a train at full speed through my head (a phrase really)…The refiners fire. I literally just looked this up…according to Dictionary.com refiners fire means…to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities 2.to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured. Then, I looked it up in the bible and am brought to my knees in tears…God is talking to me he is laying on my heart the things he wants me to hear…I have either ignored the still quiet voice for so long that I couldn’t hear it or I just disregarded it. I have spoken in this very blog about feeling a disconnect with my Heavenly Father that my communication with him had hit a stalemate. Maybe that is why the verses I read hurt so bad…maybe that is why my tears ran hot down my face blurring the words that were screaming out of the page…

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Psalm 66:10-12 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

1 Peter 1:7 So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Oh my good grief He’s breaking me. I don’t know how to feel…but I guess my why has been answered loud and clear. Since I am at a loss of words I will let some of the Serenity Prayer say it for me…I am trying to be…Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Jenness

c/s

P.S. As a side note I don’t think that God is punishing me I believe that the things I am experiencing are as a consequences of my own conscious or unconscious choices…everything good and bad that you do in your life has a consequence…

The version of the Bible is the ESV. And the Serenity Prayer is the one used by Celebrate Recovery.

Christian Recovery…

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I have started in a recovery program…a Christian Recovery program. It is called Celebrate Recovery (CR). I do not have a drug problem or a problem with alcohol but I am in recovery. In the beginning I wasn’t quite sure why in the world I was there. But there I was coming off the most public of my panic attacks and I knew something had to give. I had thought many times about attending CR I never really thought I “needed” it. But I had made a promise to attend and I did.

I am about 2 months into attending CR and I have learned a lot but last night through the flowing tears while listening to the testimonies during chip night, I came to a realization…I wanted to be there. I want to be receiving a 30-60-90 day chip and to experience that kind of accomplishment. One particular thought that I had, was how wonderful it felt to close my eyes and sit in one of the pews I have been sitting in for the past 30 years and to be consumed by the warmth and comfort of the worship. To be surrounded by the familiarity of my home church, and then something else  struck me…I am extremely grateful for First Baptist and the role it has had in my life. I have experience extreme highs and lows in those walls, I have met people who forever changed my life there. I watched my mother faithfully serve, I have seen my siblings be baptized, married, and dedicate their babies lives to the Lord in this place. I remember looking out into the audience during pageants and watching my moms lips moving (reciting my lines) as I recited my lines and having to turn away so that I didn’t laugh and mess up. When I was a teenager I watched my father so determined to start his walk with Christ separate hand after hand making his way to the front of the church to dedicate his life to the Lord and then be baptized,  I dedicated my life to the Lord in this house of God, I was baptized here and I dedicated my Peanut to the Lord between those precious walls. I know that they are just brick and mortar I know that the plaster has no meaning or significance in the Kingdom of Heaven…it is what has happened between the walls of First Baptist…its the lives that have touched mine, the inspiration from the pulpit and from the beautiful souls God put in my path there. I realized somewhere very deep why God asks us to have fellowship with other believers and to have a church “home”. It is of vital importance to our hearts, minds and souls. I didn’t want to attend CR at my church I didn’t want people I know to see my ugly, my pain and my reality. I thought that the judgment would seep from their pores and that I would feel shamed for needing to be there. But God’s true family has nothing to do with those things, those thoughts and feelings are used as tools by the devil to drive a wedge into the Kingdom of God and between His people. And I have found no hint of that just understanding and acceptance.

And now I am starting on the path to recovery from my hurts, my bad habits and the things that have kept me in a place of panic, anxiety, shame and extreme pain. What better place than where I feel most at home? Where I can come as just me before my Lord and ask for help from the great physician. Recovery is not just for people with chemical dependency issues. It is for the beaten down and broken. It is for the hurting and desperate. And it is for me. I have more issues than I can even list! But, the way I see it is that I am starting somewhere and the road to healing is leading me back home in the arms of  God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Something was said during a lesson (during CR) awhile ago, the speaker was taking about pride (I think) and he said…”do you want to be right or do you want to be well?” This spoke to me somewhere very deep and for me I want to be well. During this whole process I have started to listen to Christian music everyday at work in the car it was a small change that has made a difference not only in attitude for me, but also for my daughter, it warms my heart to hear my Peanut sing praises to her Heavenly Father. ❤

A particular song has spoken loudly to me is Strong Enough by Matthew West the lyrics are as follows…

Strong Enough”

You must
You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Oh, yeah
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be I give up I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Strong enough…
by Matthew West
Jenness
c/s