Healing Emotional Scars

I grew up in a negative household. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I had a rotten childhood.  I used to think I did, but I grew up and realized that my parents did the best they could, given their childhoods. At least my parents paid attention to me and my mom did play games with me. That’s a lot more than what some other people can say.

Unfortunately, though, many of my memories are of being belittled and criticized. One of the last things my dad ever said to was, “You’re dumb.”

I am technologically challenged and I am easily frustrated with electronic devices that don’t seem to like me. Our phone belongs to my husband. When he texts a message he doesn’t have to keep hitting the back button to get the correct letter. Most people text with their thumbs. I have to use the edge of the tip of my index finger and even then I don’t get the right letter half of the time. I know it has auto correct and you can just touch the word and it will be entered. But I want to do it right. Anybody else got this hang-up?

When I get frustrated I feel stupid. When I feel stupid I often ask God why I couldn’t have a better brain. Why can’t I understand, accomplish, use simple things like a cell phone without crying because it doesn’t work for me? In other words, “God, why do I have to be so stupid? Why can’t I have a normal brain like everyone else?

A few days ago I had one of these episodes and God finally answered me. He said two things, and both of them are right out of scripture. First He said, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” Rom. 9:20.

The second verse He used was “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” I Cor. 1:27

So I may not be as smart as I want to be, but I am as smart as God wants me to be, and if He chooses to use someone as “dumb” as me, I’m okay with that.

And as I write this, one more verse comes to mind. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Col. 3:17

So if you are in need of healing some emotional scars, remember that God made you on purpose for His great purposes. God can use handicapped people. He can use deformed people. He can use lame people, blind people, mentally challenged people, people who flunk out of school, people who are rejected by society and/or their families.

God created each and every person for a specific reason. If you don’t get to know Him by receiving Jesus as your savior, you will never know God’s purpose for you. And if you’ve been in trouble with the law, spent time in prison, no matter how bad you think you have been, God still loves you. Jesus died on the cross to take your penalty and mine, for our sins. His arms are stretched out, ready to receive you. He is just waiting for you to invite Him into your heart.

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Rage, Anger, Negativity

Every fiber of my being is consumed with the compulsion to strike. My innermost being feels twisted in knots. My thoughts are only negative continually. I see her eyes boring into my soul as she deliberately, with cold calculation presses each button in rapid succession until her lips smirk in cruel satisfaction at the fire she has produced in my eyes. She seeks, nay craves, negative attention and will not feel the taste of bitter victory until she has succeeded in wrenching it from me.

I want to love this child. I do love this child. It is my own inability to control my own response to her manipulation that I loathe. Lord, help me bathe her in Your peace, mercy, grace, and love, until that demonic self-hatred in her is cast into outer darkness, never to return. Calm my spirit, Lord, that I may defeat the enemy that seeks to destroy this child, this child who is incapable of letting You win at this point. Help me remember that her manipulations are produced by fear of rejection. She strikes first, believing she has the upper hand when drawing first blood. If only she could see that the person bleeding the most is her.

She delights in seeing the carnage she scatters around her; yet it leaves her empty and alone. She has entombed herself in Amantilado’s cask. She shrieks and cries to get out, yet the door is not locked. She pushes people away, thus rejecting them before they can reject her, then walks away feeling satisfied that she was right in believing herself to be unlovable.

What Are You Thakful For?

There are 25 days left until Thanksgiving (I’m in the Eastern time zone).  So every day I will post something I am thankful for.

Today, I am thankful for my husband. He is the most patient man I know. When I look back at how I almost lost him because of my contant compaining and negative attitude, it is scary to think what my life would be like today if I had not asked the Lord to help me change and become the wife he needed me to be. Our kids were small (the oldest in second grade) when my husband told me he didn’t love me anymore.

I was devastated. How could this be? I thought we had a near-perfect relationship. What I didn’t realize was that he had been holding his feelings in, trying not to hurt me. But one day he just couldn’t take it any more.

What could I do? I knew he didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he didn’t want to love me any more. Something had to have happened. What could have caused this?

I had only been a Christian for a couple of years and had recently finished a women’s study on the book, Lord Change Me by Evelyn Christiansen. I had been through so many Bible studies that it really didn’t sink in, but I dove into that book with a new purpose. I also dove into my Bible and prayer, asking the Lord to show me what I had done to cause such a drastic change in my husband. As I began to study anew, God had a long list of things to show me.

I also found a Christian counselor to help me understand what I was studying, and to help me implement the change necessary to become a happy person. (Dave Peterson, if you’re reading this, God bless you. We’re still together and happier than ever. Thank you from the depths of both of our hearts. We still pray for you and your family.)

One of the things I had done was expect my husband to make me happy. You know, all of the fairytales we grow up with show the prince or knight rescuing the damsel and (the older ones from the 50’s) never show the woman contributing anything to the relationship. Through Biblical counseling and reading a book called Happiness Is A Choice by Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, I realized that I am responsible for my emotions, not someone else. No one can make me feel anything because my emotions are mine. The Bible has a lot to say about self-control. Happiness had to come from within.

I had to learn to respect my husband. Love and respect are not synonomous. I loved my husband, but it never occurred to me that he needed to see and hear me being proud of him, and to be willing to accept his point of view without always feeling as if I had to prove I was right (my insecurities were not his fault; they had been there since childhood).

I also started learning (still working on this one) to discuss things calmly and not get into a poor-little-me attitude every time something didn’t go my way.

Lastly, I had to help him understand that every time I mentioned I liked a house we passed by, or commented on a pretty yard, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t happy with what he had. He had been thinking that those comments meant that I didn’t think he was a good enough provider. He had insecurities of his own that I never considered because I was too wrapped up in myself.

It took months for him to realize that the changes taking place in me were not a means of manipulating him, but were genuine.

I’m so thankful God didn’t let me give up on my marriage, but my husband couldn’t see any hope for it. But he didn’t kick me out either.

I am so thankful for our lifestyle and our relationship. GOD IS AWESOME. HE KEPT US TOGETHER. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

5 Things You Should Never Say to an Indie Author

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This post re-blogged from Sarahbeth Caplin, author.

This post can apply to a variety of people, not just authors. Some of it also applies to traditionally-published authors. Bottom line: ignorance of the publishing industry is a daily reality that drives us crazy at best, and makes us wonder why we bother writing at worst.

5 things you should never say to an indie author:

When are you REALLY going to get published?

Somehow, despite the fact that my book is available on a number of online retail sellers – most notably, Amazon and Barnes & Noble – some people are still under the impression that no agent = not ‘really’ published. If someone’s books are available for purchase and they earn a royalty for each, guess what: that means it’s been published!

On that note…

How much do you make?

This is a rude question to ask anyone, period. If you mean to ask how much royalty I earn, the answer would be 70%. But as for my monthly earnings? Yearly? That’s none of your business.

How’s the writing hobby going?

Any allusion to writing as anything but a career, be it a hobby, a past-time, or something that’s ‘just for fun’ is offensive. It takes time for an author to build a solid platform and readership. We’re working our butts off to try and stand out among the thousands of other authors who churn out a new book every few weeks or so. According to one source, that comes to roughly 10,000 self-published books per year. You may think we’re crazy (and we probably are), but please respect our dedication to what we do.

Why don’t you just get an agent?

There’s no such thing as ‘just’ getting an agent; it’s a lot more complex than that. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of querying someday, but I’m enjoying being my own boss for the time being.

Why don’t you get a real job?

As previously mentioned, building a platform is one of the hardest parts about being a writer: in my opinion, it’s harder than writing the book itself. Very few people enjoy overnight success. Since I’m in this for the long haul, I expect it will take years before I can expect my books to pay the bills. But there’s nothing else in life I’d rather do, so I’m willing to accept disappointments and failures along the way to achieving my goals. There is no shortcut to anything worth doing.

But here are some things you can do to help your favorite indie authors…


Serially Lost Part I–Writing 101

Rock Falls, Illinois is a small town with not much to recommend it. It is situated across the river from Sterling. My memories are a little fuzzy since I haven’t lived there since my first day of school many years ago. I was a timid kid, afraid of my own shadow it seemed.

“Don’t play with that stick! You’ll get poked in the eye and we can’t afford the doctor.”

“Don’t play in the rain; you’ll catch cold and we can’t afford the doctor.”

My mom was always yelling at me not to do this or that because I might get hurt or sick. We were around horses a lot because my father frequently worked as a hired hand for farmers, but he couldn’t seem to keep a job. I was never allowed to go near the horses. I was told they were dangerous. But they are so big, and wild, and magnificent. I wanted to ride so badly, but I was denied the privilege.

My parents split up right about the time I was starting first grade. Frankly, I was glad because they had lots of knock-down, drag-out fights that scared me useless. When my mother couldn’t find a place for us to live that she could afford, I went to live with her divorce lawyer and their family. They had four boys and no girls, and I was spoiled rotten. If I didn’t like something, I didn’t have to eat it. Their youngest son and myself were nearly the same age and our names rhymed: Aleta Kay and Larry Jay. All of the boys treated me like a little sister but I wasn’t used to have brothers and didn’t know how to take their antics. One time I had a frog put down my shirt. Another time I got carried over a shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Still another time I got dunked when were ducking for apples. They meant it in harmless fun. I wish I had understood that then, but mostly I was afraid of them.

There were horses on the property but only the big boys were allowed to ride them. We young kids were told that they were too high-spirited for us. It was true. But I had a lot of fun there. It was a pretty place with wild violets growing along the hillsides and the main road was red brick. There was a small farm across the road, or up the road a little ways and Larry and I would go play with those kids. I don’t remember their names but they had red hair and freckles. I thought they were cute. I don’t think I had ever seen red hair and freckles before then.

When my mom came back to get me, she was remarried to a man eighteen years older than she. He had never had kids and was so excited to finally have a daughter. He wasn’t just my step-dad; he was my DAD. I asked to be adopted so we could have the same last name. He would have spoiled me too, but my mom wasn’t about to let that happen.

I was glad to be back with my mom but she sure had a temper. My brother was born when I was nine years old. I don’t remember feeling jealous, but looking back, it was about that same time that I started to convince myself that my mother hated me. It seemed she was always yelling at me and comparing me to the teenage girl across the street–Beverly. She was the perfect daughter, always helping her mother, always cutting the grass without complaining. I resented Beverly and my mom. It seemed my mother’s favorite thing to say to me was, “Why can’t you do anything right? If you can’t do anything right, leave it alone and let somebody else do it.” Or she’d say, “All you want to do is play, so go on. Get out of here. Go play. You don’t do anything right anyway.” Yet, if I started to walk out the door she’d say, “Where do you think you’re going? Get back in here and get this chore done.”

It wasn’t until I got married and had kids of my own that I began to understand my mother. She hadn’t meant to belittle and criticize. It just came out that way. She was frustrated with me because I only half tried to do my chores. I had already convinced myself that I couldn’t please her anyway so I didn’t do my best.

I lost my mom in 1994, after a massive heart attack and three subsequent strokes, all within a month. I’m glad I was able to make peace with her before she died. There were good times too, when I was growing up. She’d play Old Maid or Go Fish with me. We did jigsaw puzzles together. She taught me how to play 500 Rummy. She taught me how to cook. And God taught me how to look at the good and leave the negative in the past where it belongs.