Not a Victim but a Sinner

Whenever interesting coincidences happen that pertain to my relationship with God, I like to pause and consider wether God is trying to tell me something.

Today while reading something I came across a bible passage about the paralyzed man who was lowered through a roof to be healed by Jesus. I thought nothing of it then, and actually thought that it was kind out of place in the context it was used.

While at church the preacher preached from the same bible passage and so I thought that it was ironic and it bothered me for most of the day.

While laying here I decided to go to the bible passage and sit with God to see if He is trying to tell me something.

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
2 A few days later, when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. 2 Many people gathered together so that there was no room in the house, not even outside the door. And Jesus was teaching them God’s message. 3 Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. 4 Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. 5 When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Some of the teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this man say things like that? He is speaking as if he were God. Only God can forgive sins.”

8 Jesus knew immediately what these teachers of the law were thinking. So he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to tell this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to tell him, ‘Stand up. Take your mat and walk’? 10 But I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I tell you, stand up, take your mat, and go home.” 12 Immediately the paralyzed man stood up, took his mat, and walked out while everyone was watching him. The people were amazed and praised God. They said, “We have never seen anything like this!”

I never understood why sometimes Jesus would say that sins were forgiven, instead of directly proclaiming healing. In the story I was reading the author saw it from the perspective of Jesus securing this mans eternal wholeness before his physical, and the preacher saw it from the context of the friends radically lifting up their friend to set him at the feet of Jesus.

At first I couldn’t figure out who I was in the story, if I was in the story at all because I didn’t consider myself paralyzed, metaphorically of course.

However, after thinking a little bit more about why Jesus chose to forgive this mans sins, I remembered in the bible when His disciples asked Him whose sins caused the blind man to be blind. Jesus responded that it was not a matter of sins but for the glory of God. It struck me that the disciples asked the question because the assumption and the long standing happenings of that time were that God punished people for unrepented sins. There was no shed blood of Jesus that covered, so unless they shed the blood of animals as instructed by the law of Moses then they were guilty in the eyes of God and paid for their sins.

I always looked at the paralyzed man as a victim. That he was helpless and I should feel sorry for him and have compassion on him, all under the assumption that he was maybe born that way.

But now I realize how does one exactly end up paralyzed. I don’t know of any instances where one is born paralyzed and survives, especially to be that old, and to have made friends that would take radical action on their behalf.

Now I see that this man was probably guilty of some sin that landed him in his paralysis, and that is why Jesus healing the man’s paralysis is equated to Him forgiving His sins. If the logic follows that paralysis is the result of unforgiven sins than the paralysis could only lift if the cause (sin) was forgiven. This is why Jesus shows them He has power to forgive sins by the demonstration of this man walking.

Sometimes a lot of people criticize those with psychiatric disorders as people who try to absolve themselves of the responsibility over the messed up stuff they have done. Conscious of this, I like to hold myself to strict standards, punishing myself, criticizing myself, not allowing myself kindness or forgiveness because I don’t want to be one of the ones who makes excuses for themselves.

Sadly though, as righteous as it may seem, if I never forgive myself then I will never be able to move forward and change and learn from the mistakes I have made. My self punishment will do nothing more but keep me from being able to be a blessing to other people, especially the kids that God has been for a long time pressing upon my heart to bless in whatever capacity He allows me too.

Yes, I have sinned and God has immobilized me for a length of time that He sees fit but now when He says get up and go then I do myself or the people I have hurt no favors by staying stuck. I’m not a victim, i’m a sinner, but God has grace even for me. He has forgiveness even for me.

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The Crumbs from the Masters’ Table

DISCLAIMER: Trigger warning, self-harm and self-hate

I don’t think I am beautiful, or strong, or brave, or courageous.

I don’t value myself as a person. When I look in the mirror I try my best to avoid it because I can feel so much hatred rising up in me when I see my reflection.

I hate myself. Sometimes I don’t even understand the purpose behind my breathing, why God even wants to keep me here.

Yesterday this rang ever more true for me. I struggle very deeply with shame. In light of my attachment figure leaving me, my shame has become increasingly hard to bear. About 3 days ago I started crumbling and for the first time in a short while thoughts of cutting resurfaced in my mind. I was maxing out, and my coping resources were getting scarcer. Yesterday even though she told me not to reach out to her I still did because the pain was getting so hard to bear. I knew she wouldn’t respond and a large part of me hoped that she wouldn’t. I prayed that God would soften her heart towards me and help her realize that I am struggling and pray for me without coming back because though I don’t understand I need to be here.

But as is the case for sufferers of BPD rationality continues to slip as pain increases, and before I knew it I was cutting myself again deeply. Begging to understand and begging for reprieve.

I spent the whole day covered, and pinned down to my bed in shame. The shame I have felt since I was younger was hitting me full force. In my culture pining after people and hyper-attaching as I tend to do is considered shameful, as it probably is in most cultures. However, my culture labels people that do that dogs. They tell you your being a dog for the person. I hated when people told me that when I was younger and I hate it when I tell myself that now.

I don’t want to be a dog. I want to be accepted. I want to be loved. I want to not get left or ignored. But I do. I do get left and ignored and society tells you it’s ok to grieve for a while and feel hurt, but pining and begging for the person means you have no self respect and no dignity.

Last night as I tried my hardest to just fall asleep and escape the day I surrendered to the worlds labeling and admitted to God, that maybe then i’m just a dog. I began to just feel at peace at accepting the label instead of trying to fight it when according to society my natural disposition merits the name “dog.”

So I gave in and said God, i’m a dog. I told Him, I don’t understand why I don’t want to let her go, I don’t understand why I won’t give up, but it’s just not who I am so if i’m a dog then so be it.

In my peace I heard God say that even dogs eat the crumbs from their masters table, and my heart softened because I understood. I knew what God was referring to.

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

This passage in the bible troubled me for a very long time. The first time I ever read it I didn’t talk to God for a week because I was so angry and it made me cry. Every time I got mad at God I would refer back to this verse on why I shouldn’t be with Him because I thought He was a low down dirty hypocrite and only cared about me, a gentile, as an afterthought. This passage gave me so many problems and it wasn’t until last night that I drew the parallel between my shame of being called a dog and Jesus calling this woman a dog. In hindsight I find it so strange that I never made the connection, or if I saw it, never fully internalized it.

Everything that hurts me so much, Jesus did to this woman. He ignored her, told her that she wasn’t meant to be helped by Him, and when she persisted because of the heart she knew He had, He called her a dog. Some of my deepest wounds were caused by believers. The reason being that unlike other people I persist after them to help me. I see their faith and their belief in God and so I don’t see why they would want to hurt me. I see them as God’s tools, and so if they say they want to do Gods work, I think that surely they would want to help me. I beg and plead for their help even after they give up because I knew the problem had to be me. I was just too undeserving of love because of my anger or whatever else I did, so if I came back with a different disposition then they would love me and help me again.

But I understand so much now. There is a reason why it is hard to accept a persons love when you don’t love yourself. My most recent attachment figure tried so hard to get me to dispel the beliefs I had about myself but they just run too deep. Nothing she could do or say, unless she weathered my storm indefinitely, would get me to believe on my own that I am a person worthy of love.

So up until last night, I have been trying to change myself to receive love. I have been working so hard to not be a dog anymore, to not hyper-attach anymore, to let go more easily, to not become so depressed when people leave me. I believed that all of those things are just too shameful and I can’t be loved like that, and people won’t want to stay with me if i’m like that. But last night after accepting myself as I was where I was, God only drew me in closer and reminded me that there is love, even for me, at His table.

He loves me even though I am a dog. He knows that for now, like the Canaanite woman, I was brought up in a world that because of who I am, I am labeled as less than, and that I have accepted that as truth. Because I see it as my truth God showed the Canaanite woman and me that no matter who I am, or what I believe about myself, if I believe He can then He will. He will help me, He will save me, and He will love me.

And ironically as only God could, in his infinite and wonderful sense of humor, I discovered that today is national dog day.

I love my God.

Stop. Sing. Repeat.

I realized when I post that I almost always am in a bad place writing about how God is keeping me throughout it. I don’t ever post when I am in a good place despite internal turbulence. This is partially because I desire to share with the world the hope that I feel that God gives me in my pits, in hopes that it would encourage someone else. When I am having a good moment then I am up enjoying that moment and doing everything I had been neglecting and therefore don’t stop to write about it. Also, my good moments are the byproduct of realizations that God gives me about myself that I don’t know how, and am not ready to write about because I am still learning, living, and working through them, and that is something I like to do with God alone.

But yes, I do in fact have good moments. Sometimes I smile and laugh and bounce off the wall when God completely blows my mind and leaves me with no choice but to crank up the speakers and in my awful voice sing to Him because He deserves it, and because I believe the words I am singing.

So today one of the songs I have been cranking up and dancing to, albeit horribly rhythm-less, is this puppy right here. Hope you all enjoy it too!

It’s Gonna Be Okay

What I love about the word of God is that it is living, it is alive. It brings new meaning to your life when you need it, and it knows just what to say.

This verse has meant so many things to me throughout all the seasons that I have rested myself upon it. Today it has yet again brought new meaning to my current circumstances.

Philippians 4:12-13 reads:

12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul from experience is saying that he learned the secret of making the best out of any situation. The secret is that as long as Christ is alive he can do all things. After living through abundance and the desolation of prisons, Paul realized that he will always make it, because as he also said, all things will work together for his good because he loves God.

I am learning the extent to which depression is an illness. That even on medication some days are just a bad day. When I get a migraine I medicate it and rest. On days like today when it feels like my heart will never smile again and the thought of doing something makes my chest physically hurt and breathing difficult, I am learning that sometimes I just need to rest.

People think depression is just a mood. Sadness is a mood that sometimes helping someone in need, or being grateful, or watching a comedy can help uplift the mood. But depression is an illness and sometimes those suggestions are equivalent to telling someone with a broken leg to run a marathon. The point is not whether or not they can do it, but realizing that doing it will cause a lot of pain that will result in detrimental effects to the persons overall healing and recovery.

I am beginning to see how on days like today my subconscious is probably working out something that is manifesting itself as depression. I see now why medication AND therapy is the preferred treatment because it is extremely hard to heal with just one.

In terms of productivity or ADL’s (activities of daily living) I failed. But i’m not upset because I have a strange internal peace. I was daydreaming about someone holding me and loving me and in the dream I was content. But after the above verse was brought to my attention I realized that I am instructed to both abound and suffer need. I have been brought low but as I continue to breathe and try to soothe the aches out of my chest I am also content because this is just as beautiful a season as the one in my head because God gave this season to me.

Perspective doesn’t make the pain lift, or make me happy, or even make me smile but it makes me able to close my eyes and continue to rock back and forth, breathing, knowing that it’s ok, instead of trying to run away and cause myself more harm.

Trusting the Process

I am afraid of process.

I feel like I am in a weird place where I am in a process with God and I have no concrete cognizance of which direction I am moving in.

I am so thankful to God for the ability to slow down. That I can afford to slow down because I do not have to worry about bills, children, school, or other stressors that would prevent me from doing so. It is a privilege that others do not have and I am thankful.

Earlier this week I made the decision to cancel my registration for my MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). This was not a light decision because admitting I can’t when it comes to my schooling translates to me feeling worthless, like a failure.

But I can’t. There is a constant ache inside of me that no matter how I toss and turn it doesn’t let up. I find no pleasure in anything that gave me comfort down to my beloved Harry Potter books. It’s just an ache that I want to do anything to get rid of but realize nothing in my own power can take it away.

So I ride it out with God. I wake up around 5:15 afraid for the sun to come up, because I’m afraid of starting a new day realizing I am no closer to healing then I was the day before. I spend most of the day in bed, occasionally rising to do some activity with my nieces whose tutoring I had to stop because there is just nothing in me to give that level of attention. Around 6pm I begin to get hopeful because there is only 2 more hours left in the day for me and my nieces get picked up leaving me the freedom to totally immerse myself in my room. At 8 finally I praise God and be kind to myself that I made it another day, take off my glasses and go to sleep.

I get so tempted to beat myself up and verbally as well as physically abuse myself for my current state. But truth is, it really does hurt to breathe. Making it through the day without doing anything destructive or taking out my issues on someone else really does make me proud. I don’t want to admit that to myself, that breathing is all I’m capable of, but honestly it’s been the most loving thing I have done for myself in a while.

I know God is leading because He’s the only reason why I am able to remain calm and just breathe. I am so confused as to what is going on. Yes my attachment figure left, and the constant ache and pain I am learning to see is the turmoil of a child inside of me that feels like her mother abandoned her. But I, as the adult am able to understand and not let that child control me. I, as the adult though also hurt by the loss, recognizes that my child needs me to lead, and to parent her, and not let my hurt neglect her. Because I, as the adult know this extends deeper than this current loss, but to all the ones that came before it.

So I do my best to ride the wave with God and lead my child as God leads me.

May this Bless You

This song holds a special place in my heart and when you get the chance just listen to it with an open heart (and with headphones for the best effect :).

I may have stated that I was diagnosed with sever major depressive disorder but I have never said that I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) because I am so deeply ashamed of it.

Many of those who follow me know the criteria for the disorder and know that no one person looks the same just because we carry the same label. My disorder is a manifestation of an abandonment fear so great that it leads to the establishment of relationships, which because of my insecurity of being left, I create my own self-fulfilling prophecy. The disorder itself it characterized by unstable interpersonal relationships so you see the link.

I had the pleasure of attending a concert less than a month ago where Travis Greene, the author of this song attended. It was a two day affair and I remember not wanting to go but asking God to speak to me if I go. The first day I didn’t hear a message specifically for me but I learned how to worship God in spite of my feelings. This made me determined to attend the next day for God. I was numb to my feelings, emotionally empty, but worship is not about emotions, but sacrifice and I just poured all that I had to God whether He gave me what I wanted or not.

Now Travis Greene was the last to perform at about 11:30pm on the last day of this two day revival. I remember just continuously giving God my all and while he was singing he begins to share his testimony.

He shares how after his father died when he was a young boy he spent years looking for replacement fathers. Attaching to any male who showed him the slightest attention. Always seeking for someone to offer him the validation that he lost out on at an early age, and always being left empty as a result. Then finally with time he learned to lean on God for that validation and support.

God is my parent and because of who He is, He is intentional about everything that He does. I may have a diagnosable illness but that is no excuse to be incorrigible. And because God chastises those He loves, He is chastising me. Because even if my attachment figure had no intention of hurting me, God knew it would hurt anyways, and that it would hurt bad. And every time I sob and kick and scream begging for mercy, for death, for the pain to end, He reminds me of what I did to her and that I deserve it.

When the pain gets too great and it threatens to carry me under, God reminds me to listen to this song. That i’m not hurting because He doesn’t care, but because He cares i’m hurting. Because He cares He wants to save me from myself. There are consequences to our actions, and it’s best He teach me them now in this way, then me face dire consequences to His purpose for me in the future.

For those who read this far and who have BPD and who may not know God and are rolling their eyes, that’s ok. But this is not easy for me to say, and I am not saying it because it’s the christian thing to say. Most of the people who have hurt me or left me are professed believers, and active walkers in their faith, so I know what it is like to be fearful of the church, heck I still am, and I am still very anxious and scared of associating myself with the religion of Christianity.

But despite that I know God, and even when I want to take revenge out on Him for those who I feel harmed me, I don’t. I suffer just as much with this disease as the next person. I know addiction, I know pain, I know loss, I know mood swings, I know rage, I know hurt, I know medication, I know self-harm, I know suicide, I know hospitalization, I know trauma, I know rejection, I know invalidation, I know stigma, I know loneliness and I know the intensity that comes with all of these emotions.

But I know God, and I know I am never truly a victim. When we were young and helpless and dependent, we were victims to the circumstances life threw at us. But now don’t let that hurt child continuously turn you into a victim. My therapist is out until the end of the month and my attachment figure is gone, and so my only support right now is God. We learn all of these methods of coping and handling the moment and making it to the next day, but I challenge you to just instead really face the circumstances of your present life, and the role you played in them, and don’t excuse yourself but grieve them. Don’t blame anyone else, face the ugly that is within us, until you truly forgive yourself. It’s not a one time thing especially when our emotions fluctuate so darn much.

Still, don’t excuse or absolve yourself for the ugly you have in your present life. Face it and know that God cares and your hurt is His but there are consequences, and maybe in the future you will be able to recover what you lost, but now just focus on growing the part of you that stopped, so that when doors or relationships open for you, you will be able to value, appreciate, and recognize them, instead of always living to do damage control. It’s not easy, far from it, but it will be worth it. I literally have to remind myself of this everyday, and it hurts so much that I still lay in bed and cry, moving only when necessary. And I know the internal conflict of desiring recovery but fearing it at the same time, just don’t give up, and move forward, even if you have to millipede (even smaller than inch) for a while.

The Reckless Romantic

I am feeling so many things all at once, so I could sit here and stare at this computer all I want but I will never be able to make them make sense or connect them to each other.

My person of attachment (poa) left me. I think all the thoughts and all the feelings are all the different paths that my brain is trying to take to help me process it, but it can’t really settle on a way.

When I wake up in the morning it feels like I can’t breathe. Inside hurts so much and I try to breathe but all I encounter are lumps in my throat and I start to wail. Every bit of pain I feel pours out of me then eventually it all goes numb and I start to think about what am I going to do and how am I going to move forward. But I get nothing. I feel nothing. I don’t know the way. Hence where all the different feelings come from and this continues on until it gets late and I take something to put me to sleep. Then I wake up and the cycle repeats itself.

I would be fine with the cycle. I would be fine trying to find God in the midst of all the pain if it weren’t for my family. The last time I was hospitalized it was so horrible. It was so so horrible mentally. God warned me that when faced with great pain if I try to fight his way I will end up in the hospital. And so here I am in so much pain and so like I said I cry a lot. But I don’t fight God by cutting or doing anything destructive to try and get my way because I don’t want to go to the hospital. But my mother and my sister threaten me everyday to send me to the hospital if I don’t stop crying. Then they start all the invalidation that I know so well, and in the midst of my crying my heart starts beating so fast every time I hear sirens which is like twice an hour in my neighborhood.

It just hurts me so much more because my heart is so broken and so raw and like deja vu I find myself having to decide to shut my family out again. Shut everything and everyone out because my heart can’t handle anymore mistakes. I know all the people I have attached myself to had good intentions just like my family but my heart simply can’t take anymore mistakes. After my dad died I shut my family out and went on a 12 year stint of looking for replacements to be my new family, my new mom and sisters.

The anniversary of my fathers death will be August 18th and I’m not going on year 13 making the same mistakes. The woman with the issue of the blood in the bible bled for 12 years before being made whole. For 12 years I searched for healing with other people and now no more.

So I just want to be left alone in my cycle with God. I want to wrestle with God because I blame Him and I feel like He betrayed me. I am a storm raging and I want to rage with God. I just want to be with God because even if I hate Him so much, I just want to rest in His bosom because I trust Him with my heart and He won’t ever make a mistake with it.

Once I heard a preacher refer to God as a reckless romantic. I thought the phrase to be so beautiful. Friends often call me a helpless romantic so I thought aww how cute for God to be a reckless romantic.

But now I see that God will reck anything and everything standing in between my heart and His. But unlike, our definition of reckless, God isn’t thoughtless, or rash, or careless. He strategically and in His own loving way creates the perfect storm, and I just want to rage in His storm.