Setting up camp in my head

Today has been a rough day.  On the outside everything is peachy keen.  There have been no catastrophes.  Nothing has broken, fallen apart, or gone haywire.  The rough day has been purely in my head.  And any Christian can tell you that the first place Satan will attack you is in your head.  He climbs in there and tries to set up house. He kicks back and makes himself comfortable.  Today has been one of those days for me.  I know what is going on.  I know that it is Satan who is at work in there, because no negative thought would come from God.  God will never tell you that you are a bad person.  God will never tell you that you aren’t worthy enough to worship him.  I know who is at work in my head, and I am having a really hard time getting him out, and it hurts.

I know how it started.  I could feel it coming, but didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t fight properly, to ward off the attack.

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion, and a prime example of God at work in the life of one of His children.  As a result of everything that happened in his life my friend, Brian, finally made the decision to turn to Christ.  I was elated.  I wanted to shout and sing for joy.  Brian was pulled from Satan’s grasp.  Hallelujah!  On Monday morning he went to see his pastor and got baptized.  God is so good!

Recently he met a young woman who is so good for him.  She is a devoted mother and strong in her faith.  From everything that he has told me this young woman is a blessing straight from God for him.  I couldn’t be happier, especially considering the woman that he recently broke up with.  So where is the problem?

The problem is with me and me alone.

I am jealous.  I am hurt.  I am angry.  I feel left behind and unneeded.  I feel abandoned.  Brian leans on me when he has problems, when he needs an ear, and when he needs a shoulder.  That’s what we expect from our friends . . . for them to be there not just in the good times, but in the rough times also.  And as his friend that is what I am here for.  I love him, and want nothing more than to see him happy.  So why can’t I be happy that he has found peace and joy in his life for the first time in forever?  Because I am selfish.

I don’t want a romantic relationship with Brian.  I don’t look at him that way.  He is my friend, and he is my brother in Christ.  What I want is to not feel like I am just an occasional friend.  I don’t want to feel like I am the one to turn to only when he has fallen down.  Maybe I have misconstrued the depth of our friendship.  Maybe I am just a co-worker that happens to know him well.  I am selfish and I want his attention.  I want him to need me and turn to me.

Just reading all of that has me convinced that I am a terrible person.  Satan is at work so hard in my head that it is ridiculous.  And what’s sad is that I saw this coming, felt it starting, and didn’t go to God with it.  “I can control this.  I can control these thoughts.”  But I can’t.  Right now I am sitting in my studio at work and can’t even talk to Brian, or even look at him, because I know what is floating around in my head like toxic waste.

Until next time . . .

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30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 30 – Something You Are Excited For

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There are lots of things to get excited about.  When you were a kid you got excited about your birthday and Christmas.  When you were a teenager you got excited about school dances and first dates.  As an adult you got excited about your wedding day, the birth of a child, landing your dream job, and buying your first home.
Things to get excited about are around us all the time.  Sometimes they slap us right in the face, like a surprise pay raise.  Sometimes they are an event down the road, like a planned vacation.
We get excited over things we care about.  And today I am very excited about something.

Day 30 – Something you are excited for

My dear friend, Brian, is getting baptized in a little over a week.  He told me yesterday afternoon, and the joy of his news brought me to tears, because he is no longer just my close friend.  Now Brian is my bother in Christ.
Knowing that when God calls us to Heaven our friendship will continue, knowing that my friend recognized that he had a hole in his life that only God can fill, knowing that through God’s amazing grace my friend is no longer lost in Satan’s grip . . . how could I not be excited?
Yesterday, after he told me the news, I was practically bouncing off the walls.  I made frantic calls to my husband, and to my friend, Jenny.  I could barely get the words out to them because I just wanted to scream in praise and joy to our Almighty God.  Even now I just want to jump up and down, clap, sing, laugh, and shout praises of thanks to the One who saved my soul, and has saved the soul of my friend and brother.
My God is mighty to save!
Hallelujah!
Until next time . . .

Unworthy of forgiveness? Remember Paul.

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I was recently talking with a friend when they made a comment about being unworthy of God’s forgiveness for all the things that littered their past.  That statement hit me very hard, because that person is right.  We are unworthy of God’s forgiveness.  We are born sinful and will die sinful.  Everyday we fall short of the glory of Jesus Christ.

That was something that the apostle Paul knew all too well.  He never forgot it, and he thanked the Lord every single day, in every moment, for God’s grace and forgiveness.

Saul was the picture of unworthiness.  He was a devout hater of Christians.  He persecuted them and was witness to the stoning of Christianity’s first martyr.  He held the cloaks of the men who threw the stones at Stephen just because he was a follower of “The Way,” a follower of Jesus Christ.  Did Saul take joy from that stoning?  Did he feel that Christians were getting what they deserved for their love of Christ?

Can you imagine what Saul’s heart was like, to hate someone so much that he was willing to travel to the ends of the Earth to murder them.  He had a passion for ridding the world of Christians, and he made that passion his mission in life.

And then that day on the road to Damascus . . .

Saul was traveling that road when Jesus stopped him and asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  Saul encountered firsthand the Christ he had been persecuting Christians for following.  In that moment, on that road, Saul was blinded by a brilliant light.  He traveling companions had to lead him to the nearby home of a friend, where he stayed for 3 days.  During those days Saul was unwilling to eat or drink, and spent all of his time pleading with God to come to him.

God did!

After 3 days God sent Ananias to Saul.  Ananias prayed over Saul and something like scales fell away from his eyes.  He was blind and now he could see.  Ananias baptized Saul, and the one-time devout hater of Christians, the man who had been filled with murderous rage for followers of Christ, became Paul, a man filled with passion for spreading the word and truth of Jesus Christ.

Paul was unworthy of God’s grace and forgiveness.  His past was littered with hate, anger, rage, and the murder of God’s own children.  God had every right and reason to never give him a second thought.  Today we would hear of a person like that and immediately wish the pits of Hell upon them, because they are unworthy by our standards.  But we are all unworthy.  We all sin.  We all fall short of the glory of God.  We are all Saul.

Let me say that again . . . WE ARE ALL SAUL!

Paul went on to be one of the most passionate and influential people in the New Testament.  He made it his life’s work to travel the world spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, his own story of conversion being a passionate testimony to God’s grace, forgiveness, and love.  His once-passion for ridding the world of Christians was completely turned around and became a fervent passion for leading the lost the Christ.

Only God knows what is in our heart and in our future.  He knew that Saul had great things ahead of him.  It just took a blinding moment on a dirt road to Damascus to turn him around.  So when you think you are unworthy of God’s grace and love remember Saul.  Remember his dirt road.  Remember the scales falling away from his eyes.  Remember that the man who murdered Christians was responsible for writing two-thirds of the New Testament.  God loved Saul.  God forgave him and put his past behind him.  Saul was baptized and was reborn a new man with a totally clean slate, his previous sins forgiven and forgotten.  God wants to do that with you also.

Do you feel unworthy of forgiveness?  Remember Paul.

Until next time . . .

One Thing

“All I know is everything I have means nothing, Jesus, if you’re not my one thing.  Everything I need right now, all I need is you right now . . . And with everything within me I will worship you, my God.”

Glory to God for his unending, unchanging, unconditional love.  We are not worthy of His grace, yet he gives it to us anyway.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 29 – The Night Of Your 21st Birthday

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The 21st birthday is a right of passage for a young man or woman.  At 18 they are considered, for all intents and purposes, an adult.  They can enlist in the military and sign legally binding documents.  But the 21st birthday comes for many people with a night of binge drinking just because at 21 they can legally buy alcohol.  My night was a bit quieter but no less memorable.

Day 29 – The night of my 21st birthday

On December 2, 1997, I turned 21.  I chose to spend that night with my mom and my aunt.  In my family it is tradition that the parents buy their children their first legal alcoholic beverage.

My mother and aunt took me to their favorite Mexican restaurant.  We sat there for a couple of eating chips and salsa and drinking margaritas.  That night was my first encounter with tequila, and I liked it very much.  In the years since that night I have spent many an evening with my friend, Jose Cuervo.  We laughed and giggled and behaved like girlfriends.

My mom gave me a gift that night that I still treasure.  She had spent months putting it together and working to keep it a secret.  Keeping anything a secret in my family is no mean feat, and everyone knew about the gift that she was putting together because she had to enlist help from everyone.  Everyone gladly and eagerly pitched in.  My mom toiled for months to put together a scrapbook of my first 21 years of life.  It is a beautiful book.

She started it with pictures of her and my father as children and teenagers, pictures from when they dated, graduated from high school, got married, my dad in basic training for the Air Force, and their move to Myrtle Beach (back when Myrtle Beach had an Air Force base).  There were pictures of my mom as she was pregnant with me, and then there were pictures of my mom holding this tiny, dark-haired baby.  There were pictures of me in a bouncy seat while my mom fed me with our pet cats watching her.  There were pictures of me in front of the Christmas tree, and playing with our dog.  There is an adorable picture of my dad bent way over, leaning down to kiss his tiny daughter with her face tilted up to meet him.  (A few years ago I attempted to recreate that picture with my son.  I collaged it with the picture of my dad and I, and sent it to my dad.)

Then there are the pictures of my mom and I in St. Louis, where she was from.  She divorced my dad when I was two and she moved back home, taking me with her.  There were pictures from my grandparents house, pictures at day care, early school pictures, pictures of my mom’s second marriage to my sister’s dad.  There were pictures of me with various family members, doing various activities, and just steadily growing older.  Pictures from my years in band.  Pictures from high school in homecoming dresses, and Valentine’s day dance dresses.  There were pictures of my first car, my 1986 Toyota Pickup truck.  All throughout this scrapbook there are notes, passages, descriptions . . . reminders of moments throughout my history.

My mom worked for months to put this book together not just for me, but for herself, as well.  For her it was a trip down memory lane, and a way to let go of some hurts that she had been hanging onto.  She poured her history, my dad’s history, and my history onto those pages.  When I hold that scrapbook I hold my heart.  When I flip through its pages I see my parent’s love for me.  When I read it’s memory-filled passages I hear my mom’s voice telling me our story.

So, how did I spend my 21st birthday?  I didn’t spend it getting crazy, stupid drunk simply because I could.  I spent it celebrating the years that got me to that night with a personal history book put together with love by my mom.

Until next time . . .

God at work

I am sitting at my desk right now.  There is work that I should be doing.  But everything seems so small and insignificant at the moment.  Work can wait.  There is plenty of time for everything else.  Right now, in this exact moment, all I want to do, all I can do, is praise God!

A very dear and close friend has made the decision to come to Christ.  My heart is overflowing with joy, love, praise, and amazement.  I want to shout from rooftops and get down on my knees.  I am bouncing off the walls.

Yes, I am thankful for every lost soul that manages to break free of Satan’s grip and find their way to Christ.  But this person, this wonderful soul that has been born anew, means so much more to me.  I have been praying for him for such a long time.  I have pleaded with God to work in his life and to soften his heart.  I wondered if God was hearing me.  Patience is not one of my virtues, but everything happens in God’s time.  He works things out for His glory, not ours.  And all the glory goes to God as my friend becomes my brother in Christ, a child of the one true and glorious King.

I had feared for so long that when our time here on Earth was done that our friendship would also be done.  I feared that death would forever separate the bond that we have forged over the years.  But fear is a lack of faith.  I wasn’t having faith in God’s ever-perfect timing.  Don’t you love it when God smiles down and says, “I told you to have faith.  I told you to watch and see what I can do.”

The extent of God’s love and grace truly is without limits.  I am not worthy of His love, and today I am in awe and so thankful.

God is so good!

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 28 – The Word/Phrase That You Use Constantly

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A signature statement.  Or in radio, what is referred to as a crutch.  A word or phrase that you use constantly.  You may use it so often that it has become an unconscious remark.
For me it’s the word “so.”
On the air at work, in general conversation, everywhere.
“So, I was getting ready for work this morning . . . ”
“So, check out this great event we have coming up with Froggy . . . ”
“So, coming up in just a few minutes . . . ”
“So . . . ”
“So . . . ”
“So . . . ”
I first noticed it several years ago when I was out on a live broadcast.  I must have used the word “so” 9-thousand times.  It had officially become my crutch, the word that I lean on to carry me through a break on-air.  I have tried to break myself of it, but to no avail “so” remains, for better or for worse, my word that I use constantly.
Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 27 – What You Wore Today

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Minus the sunflower hat . . .

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 26 – Things You’d Say To An Ex

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My mom once gave me a wonderful bit of wisdom after a break up:  “Boyfriends are like jeans.  You have to try on several to find the one that fits perfectly.”
I had my first boyfriend when I was 13 years old.  His name was Dave McFall.  I’m friends with him to this day.
I married my husband, Rob, when I was 28 years old.  We just celebrated our 11th anniversary.
15 years of trying on boyfriends like jeans in the world of dating.  Some were very wrong.  Some were almost right.  Some were just meant for partying.  Some were meant for adventure.  Some were meant to teach me and help me grow.  Some broke my heart.  One tried to take from me what I didn’t want to give him.
Over the years I have made peace with my dating years, and can look back on them fondly (for the most part).  But there are always things that go unsaid when relationships come to an end.

Day 26 – Thing you say to an ex
Some of these things apply to more than one person in my history.  And in some cases, several of these apply to just one person.  I won’t use names though, because I know what needs to be said to whom, and that is all that matters.  I will simply put these statements out into the great big void the things that were left unsaid in my years of dating . . .

“I’m sorry that I took you for granted.”
“I forgive you for cheating on me.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t the girl you needed me to be.”
“Thank you for showing me where I needed to be.”
“I’m sorry I smothered you and pushed you away.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for you.”
“I forgive you for that night in my truck.”
“I forgive you for your mental and physical abuse.”
“I forgive you for lying to me.”
“I forgive you for using me.”
“Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for putting up with all of my baggage.  I’m sorry I dragged it into our relationship.”
“Thank you for your support.”
“Thank you for the adventure.”

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 25 – 4 Weird Traits You Have

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To define something as weird means that people view it as out-of-the-box, not normal, and possibly even socially unacceptable.  But if you think about it, we are all weird.  We are all a bundle of quirks and idiosyncrasies that keep us from being just like everyone else.  Could you imagine how boring this world would be if everyone were exactly the same.  If you think that sounds like a good idea then take the time to watch the movie “Stepford Wives.”  Hopefully then you will see that weird traits, quirks, and idiosyncrasies are beautiful and embraceable, and not at all weird.

Day 25 – 4 weird traits you have

I don’t find anything about myself weird.  I am unique.  I am an individual.  I am colorful, and sparkley, and an embracer off all things happy and joyous.  So to try to write this post I would have to try to look at myself and see me the way someone boring and unsparkley would see me.  This may prove to be quite a task . . .

1.  I blog under the pseudonym of Carrie Leigh, although I have used my real name in a few posts, and even came out of the pseudonym closet several months ago, revealing my entire real name and several pictures of myself.  But since A Tale of A T-Rex was born under a pseudonym I decided to continue to use it.  Just think of me as a much shorter, more sparkley, less horrific, female Stephen King and Richard Bachman.
2.  I am only 4’10”, and my feet are small enough that I can wear kids shoes.  They are way cuter than adult-sized shoes, and cheaper, too.
3.  I choke easily.  My little flappy-thing that covers your windpipe when you are eating doesn’t always function properly.  When I was a baby I spit up A LOT more than the average baby, and once spit up all over the Christmas tree (sorry, mom).  Now I just randomly can choke, which leads to a lot of coughing and always ends with exactly two sneezes, no more and no less.
4.  My eyes are grey.  Not ice blue, cornflower blue, or even gunmetal blue.  They are grey, just grey.  My mom’s eyes are blue.  My dad’s are were blue and changed to green.  I got stuck with grey.

For the record, no of those things listed above seem at all weird to me.  They all seem like pieces of the pizzle that make me an individual, but whatever.

Until next time . . .