Christianity

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Published June 23, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Regardless of how this post ends, today was actually a pretty good day. And I am so grateful for that! Things went smoother than expected and I got a lot done. Most importantly, I spent time reading through and praying through a series of prayers. It was pretty amazing. It fed me with strength, love for our God, connection with the Spirit, and hope for the future. I want to read/ pray through that often. I need it. I spent most of the day in this frame of mind. It was refreshing. I almost don’t even want to write this next part. 

I’m doing everything in my power to see my friends one final time. That’s important to me. And if I don’t get to, then… that’s just how it is. 

I’m full of conflicted feelings, mentalities, and outlooks. I’m trying to look on the bright side of what’s waiting back home for me: a great (albeit stressful) job with kids that I love, a super awesome church with some pretty great people and an amazing pastor, counseling which could lead to healing, and a new place- the nicest place I have ever lived in. Not to mention, I live in one of the most beautiful states in this country. But when I think of driving back home, leaving my friends and family behind, I think of emptiness. Like there’s nothing for me back there. Nothing. And then I find myself comforted again by the idea of the end…in a remote, quiet, never to be found location.

I sat outside this evening in the rain, observing, listening to, and enjoying nature in all its beauty. I imagined dying when it’s raining. It’s like maybe…  God would be weeping with me. 

EMDR 3

Published June 21, 2017 by Chloe Madison

This was an extemely emotional session- I was crying before I even went in (about other stuff though). I feel so deeply tired, like I can’t move my body. Almost like I’m drunk, my body feels numb and tingly and heavy.

We had a discussion about what’s real or not in EMDR and how could Jesus be bringing forward my dad if I don’t even think my dad’s in heaven. If it’s not real, then how can this bring healing? This was important to discuss because it’s even distracting me during sessions. I wonder how much of what’s happening during EMDR is just wishful thinking on my part and how much of it is real healing that’s occurring. So we only did 20 minutes of actual EMDR.

I realize I have new anger with my dad- so much more than before. I’m incredibly angry about the life his actions have taken and the multiple lives it’s ruined.

We picked up where we left off- my dad was there with a sad face and big, questioning eyes, (waiting for me to either forgive or accept him or hug him or something) and Jesus was behind me. I pushed myself back into Jesus- not wanting to move toward my dad and wanting to rest/ rely on Jesus or to know that he’s still there for me.

Jesus and I were standing the same pool of water. The water changed from blue to red, as I was avoiding looking at Jesus because I really wasn’t ready to move toward my dad. I remembered that Jesus nudged me the last time to go toward my dad, but since I didn’t feel ready, I felt ashamed to look Jesus in the face.

The red crept up from the water and moved into the sky and everything became a deep red- I thought Jesus was leaving, but I remembered that’s what the color purple represents. I’m not sure what the red was all about. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see green grass sprouting up.

Out of the green, blooms a single yellow orchid (which reminds me of my dad because he grew orchids- there’s even a brown orchid with a fuchsia and yellow center named after my dad, called the Charlie Orchid.) 

The Charlie Orchid


The grass morphs into the orchid plant and in fast forward motion, whole sprays of yellow orchids shoot out and bloom. I see a caretaker of the orchid plant- someone (only a shadow) bent over the plant. I think it might be my uncle (because he and his wife grew orchids after my dad died). It turns out it is my uncle. He looks up and talks, but I can’t hear him. I really want to hear what he’s saying so I tell him that I can’t hear him. He gets up close to me, smiles a great big smile and loudly says with a funny, sarcastic attitude, “What I said was…” and then he keeps talking but I can’t hear him again. His mouth moves, but he’s silent. 

I turn to ask Jesus to help out here- to help me understand what my uncle is saying. I think I forgot some parts that happened in between…but I see my uncle smile like I have literally never seen him smile before and he gives a side hug to my dad, who’s also smiling. I immediately think it’s fake. This isn’t real- there’s no way everything is all hunky dory between them. (This is where I question the veracity of EMDR). 
? I don’t remember, but I think I look back at Jesus to see if this (my dad and uncle hugging and smiling) is real- to get confirmation. Jesus looks different this time though. He looks like a real person- not like the glowing light he was before. 

⬆️⬇️ don’t know which happened first 

? At some point, I’m avoiding looking at Jesus and I look down and play around with the water, letting my hands glide over the top of the blue water. The water slowly turns white. After all the water turns white, where Jesus and I are standing together, the water begins to glow a warm yellow. I feel warmth on my back where Jesus is. I think I turn to see him. And then I turn back to see where my uncle and dad are- it’s like I’m checking to make sure they’re not the same- like there are no tricks or anything. (?)

I look directly at Jesus and ask him to talk to me, I ask, “What do you want me to know?” He says in the most convincing, sincere and compassionate way I’ve ever heard, “I LOVE you.” He continues, “I’m here with you… (and he says something else and something else- I can’t remember)…and “choose life. Choose MY life.” Jesus hugs me and holds me and says the same things all over again. I’m confused with what he means by choose “my life.” I ask him and he says, to choose the life that he has for me. I ask him to explain to me how to do that, to show me that. In response, I no longer see any visuals- I hear “scriptures” over and over again. I’m mildly annoyed by this because it’s a vague answer and It’s always been hard for me to discern the meaning or the direction that some scriptures point you in. But “scripture” was the very clear answer. 

EMDR session #1

Published June 10, 2017 by Chloe Madison

You’re supposed to focus on a picture of the most distressing part of the issue you’re dealing with. Then, you decide what’s the biggest negative feeling you have about it. I wept throughout this entire session- not sure why.

I have a picture in my head of my uncle’s suicide- his body laying face down in the grass, the stark contrast of the red blood on the green grass. 

The feeling I have is that I should have been more understanding of him, I should have known (what I didn’t know yet) about his abuse by my dad. I should have been more compassionate. 

I feel pain in my heart and chest- it blows up, swells, and feels like it’s going to burst. The pain moves up through my neck and into my head. I feel like my head is going to explode as the pain swells greater and greater. I feel like the explosion will come out of my eyes and my head will shatter. 

So I turn away from the sight because I can’t deal. I keep trying to move away and I feel like I start to float away from the scene. As much as I turn my head in that direction, wanting to move away from the scene of the suicide, I feel obligated to return. It’s the right thing to do. It’s like I just can’t turn my back on my uncle- it’s not his fault. 

I feel like I need to talk with my aunt to tell her the truth. (In reality, my uncle had been sexually abused my my dad when they were younger- my uncle told several people, but no one ever believed him. He spent most of his life depressed and eventually committed suicide). So I feel like I need to tell my aunt that my uncle was telling the truth. But I don’t want to because I’m afraid it will crush her. I see us talking in fast forward with no words.

We move into her house and we begin to become submerged in blue water that’s all throughout the house. The water stands for truth. We soak in the water up to our mouths- our entire bodies are submerged and part of our heads- up to the level of our mouths. We don’t talk anymore, we just soak in the truth. I can tell it’s going to take her time to take it all in (just like it took me time to digest everything). 

As we’re soaking in the blue water, I notice the sky turns a deep red. It becomes a dark maroon, like something foreboding is coming. But there’s a lighter, circular spot that develops in the sky. In the deep red sky, this lighter spot turns into an orange color, then fades into yellow. I feel like Jesus is going to come through that spot on a chariot or something. 

But I don’t let him. Even though I don’t have the power to stop God, I push back and don’t let him come out of the sky. The sky begins to turn a deep purple. I feel like it’s a signal that Jesus is permanently leaving. (The therapist says at this point that it’s our choice to follow Jesus and allow Him to work.) 

So I realize the mistake I’m making and I say, “Sorry! Come back, come back!” I don’t quite remember, but I think the sky turns from purple to orange. I rise up out of the blue pool to get a better look to see if Jesus is coming back. I keep rising up and as I do, I’m spinning and floating upwards, looking all around. I don’t see Jesus, but I get the feeling that he’s all around me. I look up, directly overhead and I see a circular area that’s made up of a whiter light (this reminds me of the very end of Twister when they look up into the middle of the tornado). I’m floating up into this white light. 

I feel like it could be God carrying me up into Heaven, perhaps for a visit. I want to visit my uncle and think that maybe I’ll see everyone there. I see the shadows of all my family members who have passed on. But then I see all the shadows of everyone fade and back away. One person floats forward (he’s a dark shadow with a bigger belly) so I think it’s my dad. I never see him clearly so I’m not sure. I wanted to check on my uncle so I keep thinking my dad will fade and my uncle will come forward. But it doesn’t happen. 

My dad keeps coming forward. He puts his arm around me, his hand on my shoulder and I think he says he needs to tell me something. He says, “I’m so very sorry.” Well, this is all I’ve ever wanted to hear! So I wonder if it’s real or imagined. I think I asked him if he apologized to my uncle…I wanted to make sure they’ve resolved things. He says, “I never meant to hurt you.” I think he said I love you. I don’t seem to receive these messages too warmly as I find myself still preoccupied with wanting to know if he’s resolved things with my uncle and if my uncle is ok. He asks me for forgiveness. I kind of hold off answering, almost like- well, if you apologized to Uncle Gary, then yes- if you didn’t, then no. I’m preoccupied with the injustice my uncle dealt with his entire life. Then my dad says, “Justice is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.” It makes me think of academy and wanting to help others get justice because my uncle never got it and I never did either. 

I tell my dad, “Of course I forgive you. I always have.” We go to hug, but I pause in the embrace. I question if it’s safe. I hold off hugging because I keep questioning the safety/ protection of the situation because it wasn’t safe before. I then see another person’s face- a giant sized face just floating there. This is a safe person, but I try to push that face away because it has nothing to do with the situation. The same giant face comes back again- this time the face itself is faded, but I recognize other facial features. I push it away again, thinking it doesn’t belong (except for the fact that it is a safe person). I can’t quite remember what happens next. 

I don’t know. I think we never fully hug. I think I inquire about my uncle again. My dad answers with something like- he did or said what he had to/ needed to me. (I notice we’re running out of time in the session.) I keep thinking my indecision to embrace or my indecision about whether hugging my dad is safe or questioning about my uncle is making Heaven impatient with me. The white light we’ve been in turns dark purple and I feel like I’m running out of time. They’re going to send me away. 

I descend back to Earth, back toward the pool of blue water. I look up and see my dad’s hand is reaching down to me. I reach up to him, but we’re too far away. God doesn’t let us touch or let us have more time. I keep descending and his hand fades away. 

I can see my aunt again in the water with me. I ask her if she understands now. There’s no response. I’m distracted by the sky turning orange. I see a light circular spot developing again in the sky. I think it’s Jesus coming back. I can’t remember, but I think I decide that  I don’t want to push him away again. 

I think it ends there. I’m not sure. I don’t remember. 

No sé, Jose

Published June 7, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Dumbest, most vague post ever. The only thing I can think of is “I don’t know.” Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Things are happening too fast, I feel like I’m in a whirlwind and I couldn’t tell you what’s going on inside of me. I am so confused. 

I’m just not sure I can trust what people say- or even what they do. 

I have all these intruding suicidal thoughts in mid conversation. It’s incredibly distracting. I’m trying so hard to push them out of my head. But it happens so often that it’s difficult. I surprised myself by laughing a couple of times today…and then it’s like reality instantly snaps me out of happiness and back to depression and death.

I just don’t know… 


I know this makes sense to no one, not even myself really. But I’ve got to get this out somehow, some way. 

I feel so…I don’t know…awkward, suspicious…wanted yet unwanted, loved and yet not. I feel so unsure of myself here in this place. I feel like it might be better if I go. I just don’t know. Like I said, I’m feeling very confused. My heart very literally hurts not knowing, not being sure- worrying and fearing the worst. I mean, it’s a definite possibility and it’s been alluded to…so it’s not like I’m imagining things. I just don’t want to make people mad or to make anyone turn against me. 

There. That’s it. Nothing interesting. Although…one amazing thing happened that a friend shared- where God worked in an absolutely incredible and surprising way. I will say that is very encouraging to me, even though it has nothing to do with me. To be able to see God work so miraculousy is always a good thing, right? So as confused as I may feel, I can always try to stay focused on the positive, stay focused on Jesus, focus on His love and the unending grace of God. Right? 

Good grief

Published March 6, 2017 by Chloe Madison

charlie-brown-sad-e1389021596408

Today was…odd.

I started out at church and aside from the usual distractions of envisioning Joe walking in and my subsequent fear and freak out, I had an unusually hard time focusing. I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t sing with everyone…for some weird reason, I couldn’t even look at my pastor when he was preaching. I have no idea what that was all about! (?!) I may as well not have gone to church at all. I couldn’t even tell you what the sermon was on- I remember one word: obedience. And that alone makes me feel guilty because I’ve been so self-absorbed lately that there’s no way I’m being obedient to God.

After I left church, I went out in nature and spent a lot of time with God. My thoughts raced from topic to topic and I found myself still withdrawing from others by not responding to texts and messages…I felt (and still feel) like my mind is high up in a foggy cloud. It’s difficult to concentrate on anything except my current crisis. That can’t be healthy.

At the end of the day as I was driving home, I had a sudden realization:

The anger, the overwhelming sadness, the surprising and ever-present irritability…this is all a part of the various stages of grief!

grief-cycle

Until I looked at the Kubler-Ross model for the five stages of grief, I didn’t even realize that my writing here, needing to reach out to someone, needing to talk about things so badly- was actually one of the stages: Dialogue and Bargaining.

I feel like such an idiot for not realizing this sooner, but regardless…this is such great news to me. It’s a huge relief to see that I’m simply grieving. I was worried it was so much more than that. I truly thought I’d end up dead this time. I still can’t promise that I won’t. Wanting to die invades nearly every moment of my life. That’s not a part of these stages of grief. But, I honestly feel so much better realizing that all the crazy emotions recently are a part of grieving and that’s allowed me see light at the end of this dark, consuming tunnel.

After my last post that was so incredibly despondent (at least to me it was), I felt I had to share this new realization. I mean, this is good news, right?

I do believe God was the one who made me realize this…as an answer to prayer, to lessen my load and my anxiety about my life and thoughts spinning out of control. I just need to trust God, my Father and hang in there. Easy, right?

man-hanging-from-cliff-325x325

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.

bigstock-happy-family-edit

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.

grandmother-granddaughter-baking-cookies-23639875

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.