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All posts for the month February, 2017

Dichotomy

Published February 27, 2017 by Chloe Madison

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I feel desperately alone. Yet I will tell you that we are children of God. God is our Father and we are all his family. Even when we feel we are alone, God is always there. We might not feel Him nor hear Him, but make no mistake…He IS with you.

I know that no place on this Earth is safe. Yet I will tell you that you are safe in the palm of God’s hand. You are safe when you lose yourself in His word. You are safe when you immerse yourself in prayer and converse with the Lord.

I feel completely and utterly insignificant. Yet I will tell you that we are God’s chosen people. We belong to God.

I feel sad, depressed, overwhelmingly hopeless. Yet I will tell you to hold on, to trust in Jesus. Hold tight to His promises. Confide in Him, talk with Him…then listen to Him.

I feel…no…I know that I don’t want to live anymore. Yet I will tell you that we are alive in Jesus. God has given us the gift of life. He created us with thought and precision. It’s wrong to even think of throwing that away. I would say don’t focus on yourself. Instead, focus on your Saviour and your Lord. When you have negative thoughts, focus on praising God, your loving Father. Tune in to His goodness, His gentleness, His strength, His love for you and for all of humanity. Concentrate on others- how can you help others? What are their needs? Look for a need in people, open yourself up and allow God to use you to somehow benefit others.

So much easier said than done. There is nothing profound here…just the constant battle inside my mind.

Run from the negative thoughts- they are not from God. Run to Jesus, run to your Heavenly Father. Trust in Him and cling to Him always.

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Mystery Money

Published February 16, 2017 by Chloe Madison

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I have to report on God working.

Last week, I received a mysterious white envelope in my mailbox at work. The only thing written on it was the first letter of my first name. There was no note inside, just $40. Ironically, only a few days earlier, I realized my monthly finances were going to be off by about $25. I’m working really hard to pay down debt so I’ve allocated every extra dollar that’s not going toward bills to pay debt. I didn’t leave myself with any wiggle room. Unexpectedly, my electric bill was about $25 higher than it normally is. I was trying to figure out how I could scrounge even more on my food money to put $25 back in the bank.

Then, this mysterious white envelope appeared. I even chuckled right there in the mail room and thanked God out loud for answering my prayer. I told Him there was about $15 extra that I didn’t need though. After I had my little chuckle, I started to wonder if this was a mistake…was this money meant for someone else? Was someone paying someone else for Girl Scout cookies or something? I quickly came to the conclusion that this white envelope holding $40 was an error. So, I sent out an email to the entire staff asking if anyone knew who put it in my mail box or if anyone was expecting a payment that they didn’t receive. I got a few cryptic emails back, saying ‘maybe it’s for you’ and ‘maybe someone has a crush on you.’

I then talked to several people at work and found out that over the last few years, there has been someone who randomly and anonymously gives money to those in need. These people asked me if I’d told anyone how I was working nights in order to pay my debt down.  The answer was yes, I had mentioned to several people that I work some nights. So they concluded it was from this anonymous giver. I’m a great investigator and I’m going to put my skills to use to find out who this person is (we’ve got about 200 people on staff here)…I just really want to thank them and let them know how much it means!

But, the above story is not even the best part. Yesterday, a teenager came to me with a dire need for nine dollars. She explained a sudden emergency and told me how she had spent the last 24 hours borrowing money from friends and family…she just needed nine more dollars. I had completely forgotten about the mysterious white envelope! So, I went out to my car and was scrounging around for singles and quarters to give to her. I found eight dollars and made it my mission to borrow at least one more dollar on her behalf. As I was walking back into the building, I suddenly remembered the $40 in the envelope! That’s what the extra money was for! I truly feel that not only did God provide for me, but He was also providing for this girl. I happily took out the extra twenty dollar bill from the envelope and shared the story of its mysterious appearance with her. I told her that I was pretty sure this extra money was for her, not me. The look of relief in her eyes and on her face was all I needed to know that this was God providing for His people. Forty dollars is all it took.

God is indeed good!

Just a side note…with everything else that’s going on in my life, I am deeply grateful for this kind of reminder that God is here and He is working. When I feel alone or distraught, it’s an amazing feeling to be reminded that God has never left…and He never will.

Betrayal

Published February 14, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Memories are like that…like those chocolate chip cookies my grandma and I made…the cookies are your sweet memories and they’re sprinkled with bits of bitter darkness.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

What a great day to write about love. Or betrayal…

Don’t you just adore your grandmother? I adore mine. She was always one of my most favorite people on the face of this Earth. I have so many fond memories of her taking care of me when I was sick (and my mom had to work), us baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch, playing on her property…climbing trees and running around wreaking havoc. Sprinkled in with these great memories are a few bad ones as well. One incident occurred that caused a great rift between my uncle and I. (This is the same uncle that committed suicide.) My sweet, ol’ grandma had Alzheimer’s and entered a phase where she started wandering off. She was at my house with me (in da hood) and we were the only ones there. She suddenly took off, went out the door and down the street. I panicked because she was a little old, white lady in a very bad neighborhood. It wasn’t safe at all and this situation was not good. I ran after her, caught up with her, and begged and pleaded for her to come back inside the house. She kept walking and so did I. As a last resort, I even tried taking her purse from her, thinking that she would follow her purse. I was going to use it to entice her to turn around and head back to the house. It didn’t work. She became furious that I tried to take her purse and I quickly folded. So, this being before the time of cell phones, I left my grandma and raced back to the house to call my uncle for help. He was staying at her house about 4 miles away. I asked him to come help me, to drive her car to us and pick her up. Mind you, this is in the sweltering heat and humidity of South Florida, where people literally melt if they stay outside too long. Not only was I concerned that my sweet grandma was easy prey in da hood, but I also knew it wasn’t good for someone so old to get overheated. My uncle denied my request and we got into it. He refused to come get his mom and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled something at him on the phone- can’t remember what- and I hung up. I had to get back out there with her to protect her. If nothing else, I would be by her side. So, I raced back onto the street and ran my little heart out to catch up to her. We walked (at a slow old lady pace) for what seemed like hours. We were over halfway to her house when my uncle pulled up in her car and got her to get inside. He took off and left me standing there on the side of the road. I was relieved he finally decided to come help her, but I was still so furious at his cold initial refusal. And it didn’t help that he LEFT ME there! He left me in the middle of a terribly dangerous neighborhood where gun shots regularly rang out. I figured he must have been mad at me too. We didn’t speak for years after that…so many years, that I actually lost count.

So, this past Christmas, my mom and I had a heart to heart discussion about the past. She told me things I never knew and I did the same with her. One of the things she told me hurt me so badly that I refused to believe her. It’s been stewing in my brain for nearly two months now. My mom told me that my grandma knew that my dad sexually abused me and that she worked to keep it covered up. It looks like she was more concerned with keeping her son’s (my dad) reputation flawless than with making sure that her 9 year old granddaughter was OK. I was in such shock when my mom told me this that I couldn’t even fathom it being remotely true. Perhaps my mom picked up on my disbelief because she repeated it and then expanded on the situation. She said that somehow in the conversation, my grandma offered to pay for therapy down the line, if I would ever need it.

Ever NEED it?!? Ha! I sat back in the midst of being dumbfounded. I am f**king ready to kill myself over this sh*t and IF I ever needed help, my dead grandmother was supposed to be the one to pay for it. Thanks, grandma.

I’m still processing it all…I still wonder how true this really is. The fact that I distrust my mom and now, my dear sweet grandma… I just don’t even know what to think!

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this…as the betrayal of someone so precious to me sets in.

All my fond memories…are sh*t. If she was so ready to betray me…to cover up her granddaughter’s sexual abuse, to leave her granddaughter in silence, with no support, no nothing, then that means that everything we did together was a lie. It was probably just her guilty conscience trying to amend things. And that’s giving her too much credit.

I’m not going to lie. My family sucks. Nearly everyone passed away when I was little anyway, but the few family members I knew and interacted with sucked. It’s a good thing that my pastor just did his sermon on the topic of family last Sunday. I guess I need to try to cling more to my church as my family.

Matthew 12: 49-50

Ephesians 2:13-22

I can’t even think of a good way to end this…my mind is fractured and I’m trying to tend to the various pieces. I can say that I’ll never look at a chocolate chip cookie the same way again.

Suicide

Published February 9, 2017 by Chloe Madison

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Suicide, my dear friend… is back again.

I haven’t been handling things too well these last few months. I resisted writing about them because I didn’t want to stir things up. But, I’ve been having many symptoms of both depression and PTSD for about 6 months now. I stopped eating for a while there- first, it was out of simple nausea (perhaps from anxiety from PTSD?) and then, it helped me feel better not to eat. I don’t know how to explain that. I realize it makes no sense.

Anyway, I’ve had several scenarios play over and over in my mind. But unlike my PTSD from a decade ago, these scenarios have never happened. I guess they’re just fears I play out in my head. Two scenarios deal with Joe. The first scenario I picture is being in the grocery store in Colorado Springs…and of course, I run into Joe. I picture various endings, depending on whether or not he’s with his family. The second scenario has been the most disabling. I’m at my church, my safe haven, and Joe comes in. This one strikes particular fear into my heart. In the scenarios, I either bolt or hide. My hiding spot is in this little, dark room in the back where mothers go to console their crying babies. And again, various endings to this scenario occur. The problem is while I’m at church, this particular scenario has been incredibly intrusive in my mind and I usually envision it happening multiple times. The result is that I can’t pay attention very well while listening to sermons or taking classes at church… I see the scenario play out in my head and then in real life, I look to the little room in the back where I would go for safety. Sometimes I’m shaking, sometimes I’m ready to vomit, sometimes I’m looking around for someone I can cling to…sometimes I can push it out of my mind.

I haven’t been too successful in coping with these scenarios in my head and these fears have been ruling my life. I’m not quite sure how not eating makes me feel more in control, but it does. Because I feel out of control with the scenarios, I feel in control of myself when I don’t eat or when I restrict. Plus, getting scrawny has made my body feel like a canvas onto which I’m depicting how I feel inside. I feel exhausted, strung out, abused, used up…and as my body starts to look like that, my outward appearance mirrors my inward feelings.

–Just so you know…I stopped several times while writing that last sentence ^. I don’t want you to dismiss me because I have issues with eating. I know all too well how the general public reacts to people with eating disorders. I know you don’t understand it and I know that from the outside, it looks stupid and childish. So, please try to put aside any judgments you may have and bear with me.–

I don’t have an eating disorder right now anyway. But, I did. And that’s the point I’m trying to get to: I have these new(ish) stressors in my life and I’m discovering that I’m reverting to old, very unhealthy coping mechanisms. I don’t want to go there and if I do, I certainly don’t want to stay.

In these few short months, I’ve already been badly burned by unhealthy eating habits. I experienced an extremely painful side effect. It was so horrendous that I swore to myself I would do everything in my power to not have to endure that again. So, I’m trying super hard to eat healthy all the time. Just as I get myself back on track, these thoughts come into my head.

I had this mental image: I was sitting in the field across from where I live. It’s full of waist high wild grass blowing in the wind. I’m sitting down in the midst of the high grass concealed from everything around me. I slowly lift my gun to my head and pull the trigger. I see everything happening in slow motion. It’s the only vision I see in slow motion.

Now, even though I had thoughts of suicide, I had long ago decided that I would never use a gun. Ever. It’s too violent and it’s not the way I’d want to go out. I had decided on Plan A: a deadly cocktail of various pills and alcohol. So, then why do I have this vision? And why do I keep having it? It’s not what I want.

Here is where I question the influence of spiritual warfare. If you’re not a Christian, you won’t agree with this and you might think I’m a lunatic. Hell, you probably already do! But to keep having these visions…to keep having thoughts of suicide when that’s not what I want deep down…to keep seeing myself commit suicide in a way that I would never choose anyway…   That’s what makes me think these thoughts are not my own. This is furthered by the fact that many times, these thoughts occur while I’m at church- attempting to get my soul nourished.

So, here I am. I bared all. I’m going to keep fighting the fight. Nothing will keep me away from church and perhaps these symptoms of depression and PTSD will wane. I just have to keep my head on straight and hang in there. Right?

In case you can’t tell yet from my silent writings as a means of expressing myself, I’m incredibly shy and introverted. I desperately want and need help…even just someone to listen. I’d love to have a mentor, but I’m pretty sure no one has time for that. I want to reach out for help so badly….  But, I fear people and judgment and apathy.

Anyway, I push the limits of Plan A every single weekend. Sooner or later, I’ll get there. Plan B is in effect too…it’s just a much slower way to go. Won’t God forgive suicide? Won’t He forgive such self-centeredness and wasting the life that He gave and died for?