Category Archives: Anxiety

Cloud-gaze with Me in the Grass?

The earth is warm against my back. I pause with minor annoyance as the tender-looking blanket of grass beneath me pricks not-so-tender shoots into the backs of my arms. The flies and gnats are dining elsewhere I guess, because they are nowhere to be seen, and I know that I am a favorite lunch venue. I rest my head on my palms, arms now above my head, and gaze at the sky through a kaleidoscope of shimmering leaves to watch the clouds moving and changing across the sky. The day is filled with peace and promise.

Join me?

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I see a smiling face. Forgiveness of myself, for choosing and staying with an abusive husband, for not better protecting my children, for not knowing what I needed to know. For not being able to…whatever. For being gullible enough to believe in the god others showed me, who demands suffering and calls it love, who advise with arrogance from ignorance. Forgiveness of imperfect or cruel people, who unpredictably hurt and cannot be controlled. I forgive myself for not being able to stop them or repair them, or my own flaws, or the damage my choices have made. The past, the losses, the whining about nonsense, and the minimizing of tragedy. God didn’t demand my forgiveness – for Him. He helped me find it – for me. It is so good!

I see a backbone that allows me to disagree with the crowd, however imperfectly. To say no to control or abuse for myself; to not watch silently if I am a bystander. To say yes to friends who laugh and keep confidences, are kind and honest and not easily offended – or live peacefully friendless if need be. To live un-ashamed (usually) for having been unglued or weak, knowing I could be again. To not be polite when politeness is passive agreement with a wrong. To know that my faith is between me and God and needs to pass muster with NO ONE. To reject drama, by avoidance or transcendence. I am.

I see a question mark that reminds me how much I don’t know, which relieves me of judgment. Of how much I want to know, which keeps me seeking, excited about better understanding to come. Of how much I need to know, which allows me to accept, to love and be loved. A lot.

I see the hands of a clock. Reminding me that time isn’t really linear, measured in equal increments – it is more…elastic. Decisions I think must be made NOW, can’t always be made now, don’t need to be…and in waiting through the agony of indecision, options may appear that weren’t there before. That some decisions do have to be made NOW, and just are what they are, whatever and however they are. And this moment is only this ordinary and extraordinary moment. My past, present and future are folded together like hands in prayer, fingers intertwined. It’s all good.

I see a face filled with fear. It is the face of everyone being hurt. AND the face of most doing the hurting. The face of everyone who struggles, who is part of any human community, who is subject to uncertainty, who is told he/she is not adequate, or who tells him/herself the same. The face of those who are separated from God, and those who pretend to be bosom buddies. It is the face of those who CONTROL, in any way or any place at any time. Of those who are controlled in any way or any place or any time.

Oh look! I will put my arm around your shoulder, and my face next to yours, and point to what I see! The smiling face again! Do you see it? Edging toward the fearful face, blowing into it, blending and thinning as the wind carries them away? Leaving the sun shining on our heads, like a blessing?

Do you see it?

 

 

 

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Ending the Silence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Color is Purple

End the Silence Banner 2

I am honored to be included with a number of wonderful authors on the website:

 Ending The Silence.

I invite you to visit the site for my articles and those of Lundy Bancroft, Melodie Ramone, Catherine Givans, Sherry Rentschler, P.J. LaRue, Vanessa A Ryan, Stephanie Neighbour, and Jenna Brooks (who is site originator, organizer and administrator), with individual site links and comment and contact opportunities. Each lends a valuable perspective to the diverse issues of Domestic Violence.

Throughout the month of October, Jenna will also be featuring Stories In the News, helpful information, and a Survey with results to be collected during the month, and write-in survivor’s stories.

I will be trying to post more often, on both sites. And I encourage you to take in the wealth of insight and information that will be available on all fronts during the month, not only web-based, but in communities. Check your local newspapers for articles, web-browse where services are located in your area and what they do. 

There is a HUGE need in churches, who preach compassion, to learn HOW to apply that to DV. 

I hear the salutation, “Love in Christ.”  And think of the motto, “Be Prepared.”  

This month is an easy opportunity to do both.

Blessings, Diane

I Believe

The cold wind nipped at my face and hands. The air was thin and my breathing deep. Beneath my feet was rock; around the rock, vulnerable, ancient tundra. As far as I could see were range after range of mountains – bare of trees. I was above the timberline,  at 14,000+ feet elevation, near the highest point of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. DSCN1442I have been many BEAUTIFUL places,  and I inhale the beauty of trees and water and mountains like my life’s breath.  But even without trees, and somehow beyond the sheer visual input around me, this was the most beautiful place I have ever been! In the thin air, where my daughters become altitude-sick, and my husband’s heart slows him down, I was energized!  It was a different, higher perspective than I had ever known! Magnificent! I RAN up the summit and scaled the rock. Raised my hands to the perfect blue sky, and said “God….can I hear you NOW?!”  2012-12-17-ImageofGod

I have been asking, “HOW do you believe?!” After you HAVE believed, but learned that what you believed could not be trusted, could no longer be believed. You have said, “just believe.”

I have been talking and writing about this with you and Graeme Schultz since December. Graeme has spent untold hours and many thousands of words ever so kindly sharing his faith and talking through understandings of Christ, faith, God, Adam and Eve, suffering, the nature and effect of faith, crucifixion…always back to Christ and the cross.  He didn’t blow away my doubts, or even chip away, or refute, or prove them false. They began to melt away, ever so slowly, as I was able to trust the patient, quiet thoughts of a friend in dialogue that conveyed, “Rest in Christ. Trust Him. Let Him fill your screen. He’s that good. Expand your view. The cross is that powerful! This is how it works for me. This is what has changed for me. This is how I see things now.”

I read or recalled scripture, info on the origins of the Bible, intention and prayer, time and the universe, and most of an interesting book, “God’s Lunatics” by Michael Largo. Added to years of believing and living out….I don’t know what it was , searching, and loss. I didn’t push…stayed open, but not to others who push. My conclusions? There are arguments and counter-arguments about EVERYTHING! No two Christians (or any other group), even with strict doctrines or analytical criteria, have identical beliefs. imagesCAM2Y74B

We ALL pick and choose what we can and will believe, for myriad personal reasons. Which verses we elevateimagesCAMOA0XL to law, and which we reduce to analogy. Which sources we trust. How much we really BELIEVE we can hear from God Himself. We will never PROVE it absolutely, whatever IT is. Misunderstanding even when different words state the same idea, or illumination when the change of phrase makes them suddenly “believable.”  Yes, I could believe the wrong thing. Yes, I could be disappointed again. Yes, I could miss it. But then again, I am already missing too much by living in profound mistrust. Starting with my basic God-fact, the magnificence of creation through my senses and theories via science, I have asked and answered enough practical and scriptural questions, laid ENOUGH doubts to rest. And I WANT to believe. It just had to be something I CAN believe. Someone I CAN trust. Beyond expectations and rules. More about the Person and the reality beyond my senses and understanding. And the beginnings of thoughts about how powerful BELIEF or FAITH really may be.  A different, higher perspective than I’ve known. Magnificent!

There was no jump from a cliff. No burning bush, or voice from heaven. Still no blinding light, or overwhelming sense of love. No deep knowing. No tears. No choir, or brush of angel’s wings. No moment of desperation. No flood of warmth.

I wrote this to Graeme a couple of days ago:

“G, you need to know this: I found myself responding to Joe Pote’s post (Redeemed!) with conviction about who Christ is, and what He did on the cross. From the stance of a believer. Surprised myself!  I find myself riding my waves or feeling fear and anxiety, and say to myself, rather as I’ve heard you say…”wait, this can’t be right…this was fixed 2000 years ago…the reality is the hybrid creation Jesus/Diane that I’ve become.” I started by testing out how that feels, whether I could visualize and believe it…and I guess I do.  I’m considering that the earth manifestation in blood, and painful nerve endings, flesh, suffering, torture – perhaps even of crucifixion, may….I don’t know… no words, sorry. Something just outside my ability to get to it! But I’m open to even the cosmic meaning and consequence in that…which is what you grasp so clearly without the recoil I feel so strongly.

I find myself WANTING to believe more than I fear to believe, as I carefully and quietly (almost sneaky as to not trigger myself!) set aside my beefs and disagreements, hoping that as I rest, I will understand better, but through loving union not a spirit of intellectual debate. And I am perceiving, sometimes almost feeling, the love. My past experiences with religion are becoming irrelevant to my beliefs – fading in my mind like images from a scary movie.  I find myself more interested in talking with God than talking about Him. And when Christianity does come up (as it has with atheist Emily, and my nephew and niece), I find myself responding carefully – saying “maybe it is like this…” as I describe some (safer) aspect of our conversations or your book.  I have previously been incapable of sustaining faith but, as you have said, it doesn’t require years of restoration but rather turning my gaze back to Jesus who will never have left me, even if I am being freaked or inconsistent myself. And the renewing of my mind will continue. And I’m feeling traces of the security and freedom you describe.”

So quiet I can hear. A different view than I’ve known. Worth believing. Magnificent!

life-and-the-universe

By commenting on this post you are giving permission to me to quote your comment in subsequent writing, blog or article. Please indicate in your comment that you want any quotation to be referenced to you; otherwise, I will include no reference.

A few Diane-style references:

Powers of 10 – Original 1977

Powers of 10 – Redo, just the universe

Hardwired to Christ by Graeme Schultz

God’s Lunatics by Michael Largo

The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggert  (Don’t do an auto-trash on this because it sounds new age. A lot of good stuff on prayer, and the power of our thoughts and words. As in BELIEVE, bless, heal, pray, do good. Points TO God, or away, depending on YOUR paradigm. I suggest take what you want and leave the rest.)

Wikipedia on Bible and History

More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell

Where Am I?

Where I live: Cold, windy, hard, hot, humid, bleak, mosquitoes, grueling, isolated, simple, peaceful, outsider, limiting, fear, demanding, mean, lonely, disappointed, trapped, add-in, husband, love, beloved, voiceless, futility, waste.

I try to live here.

Winter

Good job before the good ole boys scared me off.

Good job before the good ole boys scared me off.

Inside a cornfield in the fall.

Inside a cornfield in the fall.

Where I am: Cool, warm, hot, dry, colorful, hoarding, parents, age, decisions, assisted living, junk, fear, fast, lonely, weary, family, effort, grief, daughters, opportunity, interest, possibility, support.

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“Abby” made this.

What I want: Belong, BE, accept, love, beloved, function, PEACE, voice, future, value, purpose, hope, RELIEF.

I don’t know how to live this life. I need a breakthrough.

I’ll be back to writing in my usual voice again no doubt. I’m still out here, just kinda mute right now.

You have no idea how much I admire your courage.

Blessings!

 

Whose Cuffs?

Earlier this week I commented on a beautiful post by Stephen (LifeRevelation.wordpress.com). His post, Counting (http://wp.me/s2dWRG-counting), was about the grace and respect extended to him by a police officer who risked much to remove his handcuffs and honor him with friendly conversation and a meal en route to jail, and the effect that had on the author’s life. My simple comment rang true to him, and he posted again (http://wp.me/2dWRG Counting and Then Some), including the potential outcome of planting that type of kindness wherever each of us travels in life, using the phrase “I want to be one who takes off the cuffs.” Stephen encourages his readers to “take off the cuffs” in whatever way we can. Yes!

So his post – that prompted my comment – that prompted his next post – has now prompted this post. Got that?

I said that I want to be one who removes the cuffs, and I do. I also felt the check inside, the nidge of uncertainty, about…what if I do so and get hurt? The outcome for the police officer, had his trust been misplaced (which it wasn’t), could have been tough.

Which has to do with how much I trust myself to know who I can trust.

This is where I am with that:

My parents are very nice people. My mother (who will be 92 in a few weeks) quotes HER mother – who said that “when people are hardest to love, that is when they need love the most.” I was taught to give the benefit of the doubt – to choose to see a person’s actions assuming their best motives, rather than their worst.

A few scriptural ideas could be seen to go along with these: “turn the other cheek,” “do not resist an evil person,” “forgive if you want to be forgiven,” “love covers a multitude of sins,” ….. Depending upon interpretation and context.

I have to qualify these to navigate my own life.

I met Peter when we were in college. He was just out of prison, 3 years, medium to minimum security, for selling heroin. He told me this with fear and trepidation after a few dates. His sincerity and honesty impressed me. I considered what I knew of him so far (gentleman, REAL, calm, open-minded, diligently turning his life around with straight A’s in Civil Engineering, honesty, good attitudes, and that I really seemed to matter to him), so I continued to see him, aware but “giving the benefit of the doubt.” All the way  to the altar. I believed the best in him, left his past in the past, loved and respected him in the present. His cuffs were off in real life; I left them off in my mind, heart and deed.

But my trust was misplaced. My respect was not reciprocated.  My upbringing didn’t prepare me to recognize and run from the few “red flags” that were there in front of me – or to assess his trustworthiness.  Nor did it prepare me to set healthy boundaries, to know how to decide when my rights and preferences were allowed to trump his rights and preferences. So, in giving the benefit of the doubt, I usually catered to and made excuses for his many “preferences.”  I thought, “it doesn’t matter that much to me, but it seems to matter a lot to him, so….”

I left his cuffs off, honored him with my love and trust, and  then I allowed him to put cuffs on ME. I allowed the misuse of Christian principles, scripture and biblical authority to snug those cuffs a little tighter. I didn’t know better.

Now, I do…know better…but I have to learn HOW. I don’t trust my own judgment, which is very common for an abuse survivor. There is a lot of fear in that…(please don’t quote, “perfect love casts out fear” – it may be true, but I’m not feelin’ it).

I am learning healthier boundaries. From codependency groups, Al-Anon, counseling, books, bloggers, and some wiser family members, I learn concepts taught neither by my parents nor my churches: what healthy boundaries are FOR ME.

It is my responsibility, in order to live effectively, to learn what I can emotionally or financially bear, and what I can’t. If, by being who I am, I can bless someone WITHOUT self harm, I’m all over it. It gives my life meaning and joy! If not, then I hope there is someone else better equipped to fill that role….or perhaps it just won’t get done. I’ve tried hard to be the “creator of happy endings.” But I’ve learned I just don’t have that kind of power. Which doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying…

I still give the benefit of the doubt, but more carefully. I still know that a person may have motivators for their actions that deserve compassion, not judgment, but I can’t hang with toxic people. I still understand that when people are hardest to love, that is when they need love the most – so I love them, tell them I love them, and show them I love them – but try to care for myself, too.

In healthier moments, I give myself permission (this is a really recent change!) to sometimes let my wants and needs be more important to me than someone else’s wants and needs. It sounds harsh.  But I need to reword “love others as I love myself” as “love myself as I love others.”  It doesn’t feel right – to the point that I sometimes prefer my own company (just easier than figuring it out) – because I’m compassionate…a team player …codependent… want to be loved and loving…but I’m afraid of what I don’t know enough to fear.  However imperfect…boundaries come first; tweaking them can come later.

As I am able, I will still, enthusiastically,  “take off cuffs!”

As Stephen says so passionately that it made me cry (repeatedly):

“Yes I want to be the person who takes off the cuffs, the shackles, the things that bind, the things that keep us from being free. I want to be the type of person who helps others unleash their full potential, find themselves, be free, live gloriously, set their hearts aflame, live in Truth, be peaceful, live in harmony, be fruitful, be excited, live long, flow with compassion, race with the wind, breathe slowly and deeply, touch the outer limits, live within, know yourself. taste life. fall in love…do you get the idea yet?”

I want every word in that paragraph with every fiber of my being! Enough to keep sawing away at my own cuffs, too.

Honor Your Father

Abby had crumpled to the floor, with Peter coiled over her in prizefighter stance (but without fists raised), shouting at her to “Answer me, answer me!” She hopefully opened her mouth to produce an offering of words that would soothe his anger, entice her loving dad to appear again from behind the clouds, regain a sense of his love….or maybe just to get him to leave her alone. “Don’t you talk back to me!” he shouted. So she closed her mouth. “Answer me!!” he shouted again. Again she opened her mouth.  “Don’t talk back to me!” Again he silenced her with his rage, size, voice, and authority.

She began to cry, sitting on the floor, a sweet and fiery 11-year old girl, educated in honoring her parents, and who innately loved peace.

“Oh, look at the little crybaby. You’re going to cry! Waah, waah! What a little crybaby!” he taunted derisively. She cried harder.

This was utterly out of line. She would never DESERVE this, but she didn’t do anything to INVITE this, either. The tape recorder was running, for documentation.  I had interrupted many such situations, to draw fire, deescalate, protect a tender child, or just plain shut him up.  Parents should be unified in front of the kids, I had been taught. Submit to husband and parent. Stand. Protect your children. LOVE.  I was weighing the issues again. Intervening would get the heat off Abby, turn the argument to me, display division and disrespect between her parents (like I could avoid THAT!). Non-intervention would leave Abby victim to her dad’s verbal assault – alone, with me shattered by doing nothing.  As I positioned myself to intervene, Abby answered my unspoken questions:

“Mom, don’t try to stop it. Because then I feel like you and Dad are fighting and it is my fault.”

He was finished anyway. Episode over. Yeah.

The mini-tape recorder hidden in my pocket picked up only muffled sounds from my position in the hallway. But I left it on, and it DID pick up the next half hour, during which we watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on TV while Abby quietly sobbed in the background.

Abby, now 30 years old, is still calm and proactive but quickly and effectively sets the boundaries if someone is abusive to her, without second guessing or guilt. She also deals with diffused anxiety much of the time. Overall, she is fairly happy…but isn’t a big believer in religion or God, marriage or anything permanent. Can you believe she once started Bible College to become a missionary?

These are my practical questions for you:

What could I have done differently for a better result?

In theory, I should have gotten those kids out of there. But that wouldn’t have been the end of the story. They probably would have some sort of shared custody (he says, she says), which would put them with him alone. Or, they would have missed Dr. Jekyl Dad, and had anger and fear toward Mom for keeping him from them. Perhaps go from trusting one of us to trusting neither of us. How much Mr. Hyde justifies dumping Dr. Jekyl?

Does anyone know what would have been helpful to position myself for better legal protection? Would it have helped to get a better tape recorder and try to record the really obvious instances of abuse? For court or credibility? And to record in writing other instances, with dates, times? Maybe have a couple of trusted friends document having listened to and read these accounts, or, with modern technology, e-mail or mail them and ask the friends to keep them to confirm accuracy of dates recorded?

Would it have been less harmful for Abby for me to butt out, or butt in?

Here are my scriptural questions for you:

What could I (or others) have told Abby (and myself) about God to preserve the belief in His love, guidance, and protection? Or, is the expectation of guidance and protection a false ideal in the first place? Or, if love, guidance and protection are always there, then is being AWARE, FEELING God’s love, guidance and protection up to us to “cause” or is it up to God to “supply?” What inspires belief, trust, faith, perseverance when all one hears, for years, is silence.

How do you interpret the verses below, in light of this situation?

Col 3:18  Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Col 3:19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Col 3:20-21  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do  not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

And the biggies:

Matthew 7:21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:37-39  “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What do you DO, real life, when husbands ARE harsh? The spirit and letter of the law.

Talk with me.

Round Two with “The Hammer.”

I “Ran the Gauntlet.” I am no longer RUNNING the gauntlet. I can choose. I took hits leaving two jobs because I chose not to deal with abuse. I don’t have the resiliency. Just like accommodating a gimpy knee or weak back, I accept and work with what I’ve got. In time I hope to be stronger; this IS the real world.  But NOW, I experience out of proportion anxiety and confusion when I encounter: yelling, forceful in my face YOU statements,  chronic interruptions, too much too fast (of anything), noise, clamor, intensity, meanness, lying, drama games, rigid dogmatism, entitlement, arrogance, forcing, shallow character judgments.

May I tell you about my friend?

We’ve been close friends for 15 years, through my divorce and her 3-year separation. Through times of mutual devout faith, and times when her faith continued and mine waned. Through my anger at God and her defense of Him. We’ve laughed a lot and been able to discuss anything. All the forbidden topics – politics, religion, relationships. We have made annual pilgrimages to hyperventilate over glitzy Christmas decorations and fabric.

I have known her to go half-cocked on some things – to easily embrace “facts” I didn’t see evidence for – and to be very confident of choices, changes, opinions she makes quickly and decisively. She is a hero, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, infidelity by a husband she adored, addiction, homelessness, domestic abuse. She was raped, conceived, and raised a beautiful daughterwho is now a missionary. She adopted and raised a child from another country. She was an actress and a businesswoman. She has re-started with class over and over. She believes God  speaks to her often, clearly, and that He is preparing her for a great ministry. She believes she has the gift of discerning illness and healing. One of her favorite quotes is part of Job 13:15 – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” I think we have seen each other’s flaws through rose-colored-glasses of friendship.

Until last week.

Last week she gave me this counsel: You are a USER, USING the people waiting on you (“No, I’m not”) Yes you are, a USER. Everyone is walking around the elephant in the kitchen, but no one is telling you the truth you need to hear (“what is that?”) You need to make a decision (“I’m trying but the stakes are too high to make a mistake”). You need to just do it, just make a decision. Do you fight with your husband? (“No.”) Go home and fight with your husband – he’s the most passive man I have ever known. (“No – I’ve controlled with anger in the past – it doesn’t work”). Then divorce him – you’re using him. (“He can make his own choices”) Blah, blah.

I went home stunned. I felt hammered, cornered, like a failure, more immobilized, anxious, afraid. I looked at my bottle of Lorazepam (recently prescribed – I’ve only taken 1 1/2 tabs in the month since then). I looked at the WHOLE bottle, and thought of the frozen lake a few miles away. How it would be a relatively tidy way to make a decision. (Sorry, really dark). I took one tab and went to bed.

Since then I have gone from utterly fried to surprisingly calm. Like something burned out and clean. I’m not angry, not shocked, not hurt, not even sad. Shut off like a faucet.

I talked again with my friend, The Hammer.

I wondered if she would have anything to say about her proclamations to me the week before. Nope. Small talk.

So I brought it up.

Me: The way you talked to me the other day – I don’t want to do that again. (Friend: OK) I reminded her of how she felt before her separation – totaled by depression, unable to think or sleep, feeling overwhelmed and trapped and on-the-edge, and under condemnation from her spouse and church. (Yes.) Do you think maybe I am feeling similarly? (I think you need to make a decision.) This feels like the same energy as pushers/abusers Peter and C***, and V****.  ([Silence with authoritative stare]) Do you think your counsel to me was Godly? (Yes! My pastoral studies teach that….blah, blah, blah, blah.) You believe that telling me to go home and fight with my husband is Godly counsel? (Yes.) Do you think you were telling me the truth with love? (Yes! Jesus says he came not into the world to bring peace, but division [paraphrase from Luke 12:49]  ….and I think you have PTSD, your emotions are all over the place, you have no control of it….). I think so, too, maybe. Do you know anything about PTSD? (No.) Do you think the way you pressured me is the way to help someone who is dealing with PTSD? (Yes.). So you don’t know anything about it, but you think you know how to address it? (Yes.). Anything else? (Everyone is walking around the elephant in the kitchen, and I am the only one who loves you enough to tell you the truth. Enough to risk our friendship for it!). I see. You know, I believe I’m done here.

“OK.” she said. (Direct gaze, firm chin, head high) I left her house with her calling out “You are walking away from the one person who loves you more than anyone else in the world!”

How weird is that? Yep, studying to be a pastor. In my book, those are the same old “gauntlet” weapons: pride, ignorance, entitlement, scripture, and verbal assault – and tolerating that #&% is not in my best interest. No resolution with calm communication. No openness.  Just hammer away with the Word of God in a spirit of righteous entitlement. Been there done that. Motivation is irrelevant. History is irrelevant. Her integrity is irrelevant. Giving the benefit of the doubt works both ways. It’s OK. Not my deal. Shut off like a faucet. I don’t hate her, don’t judge her, don’t even feel sad, just know this is too toxic. Acceptance. EXIT in peace.

And I AM more peaceful. I have my own decisions to make, in my own time, as I am able. Between God/ the universe and me.  I will honor others needs, AND mine. Without guilt and forcing. Without pushy, strident voices. I will do the best I can, listen to my heart, my conscience, and God, the best I can. I choose to neither control nor be controlled. To neither judge nor be judged. Health. No more gauntlets. I CAN CHOOSE!:

Galatians 22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Life looks beautiful today! Blessings and Peace!

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