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God's love

Return to Live!

As a survivor of childhood sexual violence, my faith in God saved my life.  By the grace of God, I held onto my faith when I began having suicidal thoughts.  Today, I am a happy and peaceful person no longer suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Thanks be to God!During one of the darkest times of my life after the abuse, I was living at the YMCA in the Gold Coast in a room the size of a large, walk-in closet and working as a security guard in a River North condo building.  That’s when I was blessed with the remarkable experience and privilege of writing a book I never wanted to write, A Rape Survivor’s Spiritual Journey: My Poems and Practical Exercises.  Visit my website, listen to a clip of my website theme song, and download a FREE PDF of my book.

Below is one of the poems in my book.  Please note the poems with italics are God's words, not mine.  I hope it consoles you.

 

Return to Live!

You hate me.
That’s okay,
but I still love you just the same.
I know that you’re not you, AND you’re in agony and pain.
I see you suffer and hear you cry.
I wish you’d turn to me,
and see me cry beside you
and hear my gentle plea.
Come back.  Come back.  Come back to me!
Let me hold you in my arms.
I loved you into life.  Please let me love you one more time.
I’m here and love you SO much it makes me cry to see
you struggle all alone and no longer call on me.
Hate me.  Yell and swear at me if that’s exactly how you feel.
Just keep talking.  Don’t shut me out.  I’m not going anywhere.
Go ahead.  Do it.  Right now.  I’m always listening, you know.
Remember, you can hate me, but away I’ll never go.
Return to me.  Return to live
the life I meant for you,
and through your suffering and pain
you will find your life renewed.

Inspired by Ezekiel 18:32.

Listening for Love

Yesterday morning, watching the rising sun at 6:20 am made me feel loved by God.  Smiling, I wondered why.  Then, I imagined the curved rings of sunshine were His outstretched arms reaching out to give me a tight hug, the kind that says more than words ever could and makes you catch your breath.

It’s funny how when I make more time for God, I hear him better, clearer.  UGH!?!?  Why do I need to re-learn this every day?  I think because it’s harder to be living in the world but not being of the world.  We’re infinite spirits wrapped up with mortal bodies at our spiritual core.  We keep forgetting that the essence of our true selves is our spirit and the spiritual world is reality because the material world is illusive and distracting.

The more I trust God, the more I love God.  It’s a love relationship that can’t go wrong unless you screw it up, and even when you do, you know it’s going to be okay.  What I’m suggesting is that you focus on listening for the love.  Like any love relationship, it takes work and time, but you will not be disappointed.

How do you focus on listening?
·       Try spending time writing in a journal (maybe write letters to God in it and the answers you get from Him)
·       Praying which can either be just talking to God like you do anyone else, reciting a structured prayer, or however you prefer communicating with Him.
·       Meditating on a prayer, poem, or artwork that reminds you of God’s love; or
·       Just be present and listen for God like I was doing yesterday morning looking out  my kitchen window before breakfast. 
Say and do whatever feels right for you.  Remember, the more time you spend communicating in a relationship, the more you get know someone.  The more you get to know God, the more you will love Him, and the more you will see and hear the love.

I Hope Katy Perry's "By the Grace of God" Reminds You How Much God Loves You This Valentine's Day!

On this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to console survivors who not only didn’t love themselves but were maybe starting to think about giving up.  Then, I remembered Katy Perry’s performance this year at the Grammy’s, and I thought the lyrics and video said it all.  Written by Katy and Greg Wells, "By the Grace of God" is track #11 on the album Prism. The lyrics are underneath the link to the video below.

Before Katy’s song, President Obama spoke about how artists can encourage domestic violence victims to get help and change their thinking, so they can begin to change their lives.  “Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes,” the President said.

Then, Brooke Axtell, a domestic violence survivor, took to the stage and performed a spoken-word piece about the abuse she suffered.  “Authentic love does not devalue another human being,” Brooke said to the audience. “Authentic love does not silence shame or abuse.”

After Axtell shared her story, Perry, 30, took the stage in front of a white screen wearing an all-white dress with what seemed to be her shadow behind her.  Then, as Katy began singing, the audience realized the shadow behind her wasn’t a shadow but dancers performing behind the white screen.  It was amazing!

I hope you’re reminded that, like Katy, God’s there for you, too, and loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Video

 

Lyrics

 

Was 27 surviving my return to Saturn A long vacation didn't sound so bad Was full of secrets locked up tight like iron melting Running on empty, so out of gas

Thought I wasn't enough and I wasn't so tough Laying on the bathroom floor We were living on a fault line And I felt the fault was all mine Couldn't take it any more

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out That way

I thank my sister for keeping my head above the water When the truth was like swallowing sand Now every morning There is no more mourning oh I Can finally see myself again

I know I am enough Possible to be loved It was not about me Now I have to rise above Let the universe call the bluff Yeah the truth will set you free

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out

That way no There ain't no Not in the name of love In the name of love (in the name of love) That way There ain't no I'm not giving up

By the grace of God I picked myself back up I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror (looked in the mirror) Looked in the mirror (looked in the mirror)

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out That way

 

Published by

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Open the Door of Your Heart and Let God Into Paradise


“God’s paradise is the human heart.”  Reading this quote by St. Alphonsus Liguori, always  melts my heart.  It also reminds me how intensely pure and unconditional God’s love is for me: something I’ve always wanted yet feared my whole life.  In any love relationship, being committed is terrifying because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable.  You don’t know what’s going to happen or how much you’ll have to give up of yourself to grow together, so you don’t grow apart.

Then I remember that God’s love is perfect and mine’s not.  Paul talks about God’s ideal love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8, “Love is patient, love is kind…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...Love never fails.”  I’m always moved after reading these words precisely because they speak to my heart.  They remind me that God’s love is always authentic.  He passionately loves me, you, and everyone else like that, and the words “God’s paradise is the human heart,” not only melts my heart but consoles its trepidations.

God gave us an intellect, so I don’t believe God wants us to have blind faith.  Otherwise, I don’t think Jesus would have said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."  (Matthew: 7:7)  All we have to do is open the door of our hearts and let God into our paradise.