God loves you

When I feel I depressed and anxious, I feel like throwing in the towel, I then realize that God’s working in my life and I think of all the blessings he’s given to me, I get gratitude and I always feel better. I think of the times in my life where I felt so low and God spoke to me, either through the people I knew or something as simple as a song on the radio, he was reaching out to me and sometimes I’d ignore it and other times I recognized it right away, looking up at the sky and saying thank you because I knew it was him. So while life won’t ever be easy, I can take comfort in knowing is always God taking care of me and I’ll be alright in the end. I’m feeling blessed at the moment and hope you are as well. Have a beautiful day, friends. God loves you. 🙏 

Gratitude

I wanted to take this Sunday to talk a little bit about gratitude. Sometimes I complain       a lot and I focus on my struggles and forget about the many blessings I have in my life and even small things can blessings.  I was able to attend church today and also help assist with a special needs Sunday school where a young guy about 14 was there. He’s really cool; he loves arts and crafts and is very talkative; all around nice kid.  It is a blessing to be asked to be a part of that class; it gives me a reason to wake up on a Sunday morning; a sense of purpose. I work a long side a nice woman who one of the  leaders of the disabled ministry; I have known her for a few months and I am starting care about everyone involved in that group; they are wonderful people who have God in their hearts. The main theme for class this month is serving others; putting the needs of others above our own; which is something we all could learn.  I think God calls for all of us to help one another and today we also talked about the fact that God gives us all gifts that we can use to serve others.  Not only is this class helping this young man but it’s helping me.  We watched a short video about a guy who had a job stocking and everyone came to him with their problems because he listened and cared; he realized that was his gift that God had given him.   It was like God was speaking me and that moment and making me realize that MY gift as well.  I listen to what the young adults at the disabled ministry say; I speak them on their level; they can tell I care.  I empathize and care when I interact with my people on social media. I am not bragging but I can’t tell you how many people message me and want to talk about what’s going om and I listen and I don’t judge and I encourage them; I do it because it feels good to be there for other people.  I look at caring about others and being there for them as a gift and I can’t take the credit; God gave this to me. And I am grateful for the opportunity to be there for others in so many ways.  To be there is nothing that makes me happier than to that I can make difference in someone’s like by simply listening  or writing something that resonates with them.  Like I said earlier; I am not patting myself on the back but God gave me this unique ability to show empathy and I want to use it. For the longest time; I chose to hide my gifts; my sensitivity, my caring nature, being compassionate and now I am not afraid to show it. I don’t care if it make me seem to weak some people; I am going to be who I am.

After Sunday school I walked with everyone to service and sat with the disabled ministry; again so much to gratitude to be included. As the sermon was going and all of sudden I had another burst of gratitude; just the fact that I was able to attend church was a blessing in and of itself. I can’t tell you how many Sundays I worked; so depressed that I was missing church. I wanted to be a part of a church community and hear the word of God among all the church members and I couldn’t. I feel robbed of having that time with God. Sure, I could have watched the sermon online but it isn’t the same as being part of a church community.  So I looked up and thanked God for the ability to just sit in a pew and listen to a sermon; it’s the only upside to being unemployed. Most people take it for granted; going to church; but not me.  God is good and he is working in my life; I don’t have anything else but gratitude today.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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God loves us all

As a Christian; I love and accept everyone even those that don’t believe in God or who are from a different religion. I don’t care who you love, the color of your skin, the language you speak or your political views. I love and accept everyone because we are all children of God and that what he expects us to do; to love one another. It’s sad that Christians are painted with a broad brush and deemed hateful and intolerant. Some are ; for sure; but not all. Some of us accept everyone; we are not on a mission to moralize or point the finger. I am more on mission to let others know how much God loves them and that no matter what they have done in life; God forgives us and only asks that we trust him. May God bless you today. Amen 🙏🙏🙏

 

 

Sunday school

Earlier this week; I was helping with the disabled ministry and I was asked by one of the leaders if I could help assist with a special needs Sunday school class. I was honored that they thought I’d be a good fit; it was also exactly what I needed to get of my depressive funk; I was really excited about it.  Well. my first Sunday school assisting was this morning at 9:30.  It was pretty easy; the church had set up the lesson and all we had to was follow the guide.  The class only had one person attending and he was young man about 14 years old; he was great. He kind of shy and quiet; a lot like I was at that age but very bright. He has some special needs and I am so glad there is a Sunday school that serves him; there is a class for children, teens and adults ( the same adults that participate in the disabled ministry); I will be assisting in the teen class.  We wrote some things on the dry erase board; the theme being serving others ( which is what church is about, right?)  We watched a video about Jesus washed the feet of his disciples during Passover and how Jesus expects us the wash the feet of others. It’s a metaphor of course for serving the needs of others.  Jesus wants us to put others before ourselves and that will make us great in his eyes; an important message.  We did some arts and crafts; which he loved.   I just feel so great right now and blessed to be able to assist and be there for those at church with special needs. I believe this is God’s calling for me.  Happy Sunday to all my followers; may God bless you today.

 

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Jesus and the outcasts

I am really growing in my faith although I can’t make it Church service due to work and I should crack open my bible more; I try to live by the principles of Jesus’s teachings            ( which I have read several times)  and I often think about how God is working in my life.  I pray a lot when I feel other’s don’t accept me; they treat me as if I am unworthy and I’m sure mock me when I’m not around; I’m different.  I’m a pretty sensitive and gentle person and that is seen as a weakness; I have mental health issues; which I’m sure people pick up on; I have a lot of physical health issues and I am often uncomfortable which makes me anxious and people see anxious people as suspicious ( at least in my case) when they’re not. So I have felt and continue to feel like an outcast in many social situations.  The people who grew up with me accepted me but most outside of that circle have treated me poorly and that hurts.   So I was thinking about that the other day and if you read in the bible; Jesus didn’t seek out perfect people; the best looking guy in town; or the smartest guy; or the man in great health or someone that could communicate well; he chose those that were considered outcasts; tax collectors; those in bad health; those who stuttered ( Well that was in the old testament but you know what I mean) because Jesus knew that they could be the ones to effectively bring his message to ordinary people.  And Jesus didn’t go around helping only the rich or the highly educated; he helped sinners; prostitutes, the sick and the lame; people that society threw away              ( much like today)  But Jesus spread the word of God to them and healed them because the weakest members of society are the ones who need the most love and care.  It is so touching to read these stories of how Jesus cared for those who were outcasts. In a small way I saw myself in these passages and at times cried because I realized that I had pushed away God and yet he was also there to embrace me and accept me back; whereas people don’t always accept you back into their lives or have forgiveness in their hearts.  So when I feel mocked and pushed aside and made to feel like an outcast; I’m proud of that because I know Jesus is holding me up and giving me comfort; protecting me from the harsh world.  Not only do I love Jesus as the son of God but as a man; A selfless man who unlike the world preached that society should take care of it’s sick and disabled; it shouldn’t cast out anyone who is different; we should accept and love them; not in spite of their differences but because of their differences.  Having God in my life has given me hope in a world that sometimes feels hopeless; where people are so unkind to each other; where there’s no mercy or justice.  Times like that I close my eyes for a second; send a prayer to God; and while I may be anxious or hurting; I have peace knowing he is listening to this outcast and sending love down to him during those rough days.  Amen to that.  Remember that God is love and with him anything is possible

Dave

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God, are you listening?

Whenever I talk to you; I hope your listening; I hope you can hear me when i ask for help. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m talking to you or myself and if its just an echo ;i just don’t know. Some days I think you’re around ; other days you seem to be nowhere in sight and I feel alone in my thoughts and feelings. I tell myself you love me and will always protect me but sometimes life can be hard and I often blame you; when I know its not your fault. Be patient with me because I’m doing the best I can and please be there for me when I need you; even on days when i push you aside. 🙏

Dave

 

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My mountain Trip

Well I just got back from a 3 day fall retreat to the mountains with the disability ministry  that serves those with special needs.  I was taken aback when the leader asked me to go on this trip since I’d only been there a few weeks. I guess she could see how well I interacted with the young adults and how much they liked me.  I was concerned about some of my physical issues but I learned to manage them because I was determined to make this trip a success and not let it get in the way of being there for the young adults we were helping.  And by the way; in the short time that I have known them; I have really grown to care about them and I hope the feeling is mutual.   I get along with them great and I have stated earlier but they all are so kind and gentle; with the biggest hearts of anyone you’ll ever going to meet.  It was touching to see how happy they were and how much they cared for one another; when others were down they made such an effort to cheer them up; at one point praying over someone; I was amazed.

This trip was also good for me because it has been a stressful and painful few weeks with a lot going in my life; I needed a break and this trip kept me so busy that I forgot my troubles for a short while and focused on being a part of this ministry instead.  And we were really busy; we did all sorts of things like cooking meals, bible study; hot dog roast, apple picking, out to dinner and exploring the mountain city; it was busy busy busy but they really seemed to enjoy themselves; they were very excited everywhere we went. One of the more frustrating parts of the trip was that a few times I noticed people giving us funny looks and that made me sad. These young adults are so cool and funny and sweet and yet the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. But you obviously can’t react so you  talk to the person next to you and continue eating your chicken fingers; pretending not to notice the people staring at us. But for the most part; people were accepting of them and that made me smile.

When I joined this group I was also looking forward to getting to know some of volunteers and I felt that I was able to connect with most of the people there; really well.  Oh and I have always managed to get to know some of the parents of the young adults and I can tell some of them really like me; I really try to get to know them and hopefully they can realize how much I care. Anyways while I get along with a lot of the people; .  I am exhausted and I finally have a day off; so I am taking this day ( how did i get Saturday off?) off to rest and recover from this positive yet emotionally draining trip.

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Learning to serve others ( An Update)

It’s been about a week or more since I’ve written; which is a lot for me; and I have been too tired and busy to write but I wanted to give you guys an update.  Things are going very well right now and I’m trying to stay positive even though sometimes I find myself depressed and anxious; working a job I hate and feeling lonely can be difficult but I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am continuing my volunteer work with the disability ministry and it has been wonderful.  I really get along with both the young adult with disabilities and the volunteers running the organization; I can tell there is a lot of love there and people really care for one another; after working in such a negative environment; this is a welcome relief.  They paired me with a young adult with disabilities; he washes dishes; I dry. To be honest I have so much fun talking with this dude that it doesn’t feel at all like at work. Not only am I connecting with the volunteers and the young adults but also with other members of the church; this is perfect since I work Sundays and never make it to service; which is a real drag, you know.  To me people with disabilities are some of the kindest; least judgmental people I have ever been around; they’re easier to get along with than some non-disabled people; that is for sure. It doesn’t take much for them to be your friend; just be nice to them and treat with respect and they’ll accept you; you can’t say that about most people.  I feel God has placed this opportunity in my life and I’m running with this; it is such a positive thing for me when life has been so hard for the longest time.

I admit I can be a pretty self centered person; lost in my own thoughts and needs.  I can be self obsessive and I endlessly throw myself pity parties and complain about the things in life I can’t control but yet when I am helping others; I forget about myself after awhile and I feel a boost in my mood.  I love to make people smile and I smile in return. It’s nice to feel needed and be around people who want to make a difference; I am not getting a grade or a paycheck so there’s no pressure; I’m doing it out of the goodness of my heart and I think that is what God calls me to do.  This is the best cure for depression and certainly for chronic loneliness; to connect with others in a positive way; if only everyone knew about this; the world might be a better place.

We had a get together and to be honest; those kinds of things make me nervous. I’m never good around large groups of people; I get anxious and lost in all the noise and chatter around me. I am not the best at keeping up with conversations and I often feel ignored or misunderstood so I leave frustrated.  But for whatever reason this get together had about 30 or 40 people ( some I knew from the lunch crew) made me less anxious.  The lady who ran gave me a big hug and said ” I am so glad you could make it; it’s good to see you”; I felt really welcome unlike most social events.  And I was able to meet some of the other volunteers;; one guy was in the same program at college as me and he was telling how bad it had become and I explained my terrible experience at my internship and how this organization was much more positive; he agreed. It really is a difference from my internship where I didn’t feel welcome and all I saw was support workers bark orders at clients and treat me with disdain; this ministry is a world of difference. They had a huge house and we all had dinner and I got to know people; it was nice to talk to them. I was impressed about how much they cared for the young adults with disabilities; they weren’t clients but more like friends; even family I might say.  This is what I’ve been praying for all these years; something in the here and now I can focus on; instead of relics from the past. I walked out feeling really good and optimistic.

There is only one down side to all of this. I feel an almost high; an elation after working with this group but then I had to go back to work; which is negative and brooding; noisy; dirty and full of people who just don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves; reality. But all of it is jarring; two polar opposites; feeling incredible one night and going to work in the morning and feeling like nothing again; it makes me terribly depressed; hopeless even. I know I have to get a paycheck but does it have to be so damn difficult; why is it so negative and how do i cope because someday I feel like I am going to lose it.  I am holding to this group as the only positive thing I have going for me right now. It’s not much but it’s a start.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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The girl in the mugshot

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I met her for the first time in my communications class; interestingly enough.  I thought she was pretty cute but was too nervous to talk to her.  In this post I’ll call her Natalie       ( not her real name of course)   There was another girl named Jenny ( not her real name) I liked her more but looking back she seemed kind of boring and a snob; I only liked her because she was  attractive.  She seemed really smart; kind of a book worm; wore glasses.  I have a thing for intelligent women and I am not threatened by it as opposed to some men.

During the class we were assigned to do some report about a movie of our choice and we had write about the communication in the movie.  Both girls I liked were in my group and the only I really liked was Jenny. You know that point when she walks in the room and doesn’t even look at you and sits as far away from you as possible? Yeah; that was happening big time.  But with Natalie; we cracked jokes and get along and I was thinking this is great but I’m still focused on trying to get the attention of Jenny.

A week or so later Jenny made a flirty remark right before we were to go on to spring break and I assumed she really was interested. I thought about it non-stop for a week; planning to ask her out because I had no sense at the time. When we got back I saw her walk in and very nervously asked for her phone number; I didn’t even really asked her out. I’m sure she assumed it was because we were in the same group and that made perfect sense. I called her a few days later and basically asked her out; she rejected me; saying that we should focus more on passing this class ( which was sound advice) and after that I got more anxious and she got more annoyed at me.

Around this time I began talking to Natalie more.  I sort of bad mouthed Jenny to her; she agreed and thought it was funny. ( looking back never a good idea to bad mouth another girl to a girl you like).  We started chatting online and we really got along. One night we had a really long chat conversation and it was personal and not about school. We talked about partying and how her current boyfriend was abusive; he had thrown her phone across the room or something; this made me nervous; talking a girl who had an abusive boyfriend who might be trying to kick my ass if he knew I was talking to his girlfriend but I ignored all of that because hey it wasn’t everyday a pretty girl wants to talk to me. The next day something unexpected happened; in class Natalie sat right next to me.  You know they have those two desks together in row and every other seat was open; so it was strange. I sound like a little kid here but it was exciting because most of the time girls I liked avoided me like the plague ( which hurt by the way) but she wanted to get closer.  At some point she grabbed my hand and we walked  arm to arm around to the school book store; like we were going out or something. I was confused at this sudden change of behavior and thought maybe my luck had changed. I never had any luck with women.  The class eventually ended and we talked online from time to time but suddenly she unfriended me from Facebook and I figured I must have said something and was hurt.  A year or so later I was still in school and I saw her in the hall; she ran up to me to give me a big hug and was very friendly and I thought hmmm maybe I was wrong.  After that I didn’t see her for many years.

I was studying human services for disabilities at another campus about 5 years later; I was a in counseling class. It was one of the hardest classes I ever had to take; the teacher was really strict and some other girl gave me her notes just so I could pass.  So I was nervous; like everyone else.  All of a sudden this really cute girl walks in; which is a rarity in those classes.  And she looks like Natalie but I thought no way; that can’t be her but she kept looking back at me and not in a bad way. You know when someone is looking at you because you disgust them ( come on, we all have been there) but this wasn’t the case. At the end of class she came up to me excited and said “David?. it’s me Natalie!!”  She told me how good it was to see me.  She gave me this big hug and her phone number and said to call her to help with class; I was more than happy to oblige.

I have a past history of being too anxious and driving women away and I didn’t want to do this with her; I saw this as a second chance; so I waited. I didn’t call her but one day I get this call and she’s crying.  I couldn’t make out what she was saying but she was upset about class and being overwhelmed; I did the best I could but couldn’t really help her. Even after that I still liked her and I was curious to see if she was seeing anyone so I googled her name to see if she has a Facebook and a boyfriend and to my shock I found like 5 or 6 mugshots of her; drug arrests and dui’s; that explained the odd phone call and her overly friendly behavior.  I am not sure why but it made me angry; like I was judging her and thinking that she was a horrible person. After that I gave her the cold shoulder and when she asked me for help about something; I told her to go find someone else. I was really hurtful and I regret that because what she did had nothing to do with me.  Soon after that she dropped out of the class and I figured that would be the last I would ever see or hear about her. But of course the saga continues.

Last year I decided to get back on Facebook. I had this stupid notion that if I met a beautiful women I would have a social media account; that would make it easier for me to talk to her; stupid I know.  I had been to the bar once night and been rejected by every woman I approached; I went home feeling bad about myself.  I looked at Natalie’s Facebook ( I still thought about her from time to time) to see if she had been arrested again so I could revel in her misery ( I was different than I was now).  Low and behold she had a post about turning her life to Jesus; she had gone to a rehabilitation facility; found god and was turning her life around; I was floored.  It struck me like a thunder bolt; I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe she had gotten a new boyfriend or was dealing drugs     ( something crazy) but no, she was talking about God.  I saw it as a direct sign from God that I had meet this girl for a reason. I got on my knees and prayed and gave my life to God at that moment; started reconnecting from old friends from church and my life improved greatly. I messaged her a few times but she didn’t seem terribly interested in talking to me; I don’t blame her I wasn’t very nice.  After deleting some friends who I didn’t talk to on Facebook; I unfriended her as well; not out of anger but because I no longer needed to talk to her.

I realized God placed her in my life as a bridge to him; it sounds crazy; I know.  I am blessed to have met her and it took me awhile to understand the real reason we met; if I hadn’t of I wouldn’t  be where I am today.  She has no idea the impact she has had on me and I am forever grateful.  And to think if we had gone out and started a relationship; I would have lost my focus and never turned my life to God.   This is one those God things where I can’t deny he works in mysterious ways.

Have a blessed day

Dave

The difference between religion and God

For the longest time I was angry at God; I blamed him for all of my trouble and tragedies I faced; it was his fault.  I was lucky to grow up in a very loving church and I made some wonderful friends who I am still in contact today but as I grew older; religion as a whole soured on me. I looked at religious people to be hypocrites; pointing their fingers at non-believers, pushing their morality on everyone else ( homophobic, bigoted people who were intolerant of anyone different from them and wanting to spoil everyone’s fun)  I think of the Ned Flander’s types; the one’s who demand that everything be censored and can’t understand freedom of religion ( or lack thereof). The ones who say America is a Christian country ( Oh man). They don’t curse; they don’t drink; no one should have sex before marriage and no one else should either.  Of course that only a segment of the Christian community and you know what, I find them to be annoying too; in fact I can’t stand them either. And interestingly enough I rarely met those kinds of people in the church I grew up in; maybe they existed and I chose to ignore them. So the above example i think is how most atheists ( or those struggling with God) sees religion.  They look at that and think “I don’t want to be a part of that” and I don’t blame them.  But then here is where I think they get confused; they associate God or Jesus with religion itself      ( it’s hard not to).  It’s hard for them to see beyond the doctrine and some of the unfortunate things said from the pulpit; especially homophobic comments from southern baptist preachers who should be ashamed of themselves.  So I always state that it’s important to recognize the difference between Religion and God and that you can believe in God and live by his principles but never step foot in a church.

First I am not an expert on religion and I can only speak from my own personal experience with God in my life and faith.  About a year ago I was in a deep depression and I needed to make some changes in my life; I felt at this moment I had no other options but to get on my knees and pray to God; help me; please help me; it’s all I could say. I just remember feeling God’s presence; I can’t explain it but something changed. All of that anger and doubt was replaced with a feeling that everyone was going to be ok. I didn’t have this experience by going to church or reading the bible; or going to Mecca or buying a preacher’s dvd on how to be a christian; it was alone in a room with God. Because when everyone has gone and you have nothing and you are desperate for help; God is with you; everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter where you are; God is listening. And God is saying you can come to me anytime for help; you don’t need to go to church; or step into a confessional booth; or read the bible front to back or follow a strict doctrine; just ask and pray. To be honest I used to think prayer was total bs and it didn’t make a difference. And let me say that I don’t pray as much as I should but anyway things started happening when I prayed. I became a kinder person; I learned to forgive.  I give all my writing credit to God; his grace gives me so much inspiration.

Now I may have lost you because it still sounds like I’m talking about religion.  Again, God is holy; religion is man made. Do I think it’s a good idea to go church; sure. But to be honest I feel God’s presence more when I’m at the beach staring at the crashing waves; then in a stuffy church; singing boring songs with people I don’t like. My relationship is with God; not others in church.  I’d rather be alone with him and the cool thing is that  he’s available 24/7.  It hurts when I hear people say God doesn’t care or doesn’t exists because of so much suffering; I used to say that same line. And I am on mission to change people’s mind that God loves you; he listens and sometimes shit happens in life; we are not puppets and God is not our puppet master. God gave us free will; which means we are free to make our own choices without his interference. God guides us, listens, using other people in our lives to help us but he won’t interfere. And yeah the world is a shitty place full of terrible people; war, disease, exploitation, grief but blame that on the world; not God.

So next time someone tells you they don’t think god cares; ask them their views on religion. Explain to them that God has nothing to do with religion ( as crazy as it sounds)  tell them about loving everyone; having compassion; forgiving those that hurt you; helping the poor, needy and disabled, doing kind things for others because it’s the right things.  Tell them it’s not about morals; live your life; do what you want as long as you don’t hurt people; as long as you trust that god will take care of you; look for signs. But please don’t mix up God and religion. I hope whoever reads this will find God today; not in a church; but in the woods by themselves; or a cross in the sky; a phone call from a friend.  God is there if you take the first step

Take care and remember always God loves you

 

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