Walking his path

When I’m on the wrong path, I hear his voice from the heavens directing me where me to go. Without him I blindly search the forest running into pine bushes, tripping over rocks and falling into deep rivers; unable to get to shore. At times I hear a faint voice which I know is him and I willfully ignore it; thinking I’m smart enough to forge my own path. Annoyed; his voice grows louder until I can longer ignore his message; he turns me away from the path I was taking, and leads me to the path he set out for me. This time the ground is smooth without rocks or thorny bushes. The deep lake is far out of sight and I dont have a chance of drowning as long as I follow his directions. Lord please lead me out of the darkness and into the light of your love.

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The disability ministry at Church

Today was such a wonderful day; as most of you know I have been very passionate for a long time about helping those with developmental disabilities and am in school working on a degree in human service/developmental disabilities. A part of that passion comes from the fact that I got special needs services from the time I was a small child; I am so blessed that at that time ( over 30 years ago) there were people who were just as passionate about helping children like me as I am with the disabled adults I have had the pleasure to work with over the years; it’s amazing to give back.  I am also blessed to be part of a church that serves the developmentally disabled  in many ways; there is actually a ministry dedicated to helping the developmentally disabled in the community and when I heard about that I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of that somehow.  I have made a lot of changes in my life. There was a time; not long ago; in which I said I would do this or volunteer or help with this and I never followed through; things are different today; when I say I am going to do something; I will try my best to make that happen.

So today was a lunch served by those helped through the ministry; it was wonderful to see them interacting with people; feeling a part of things; being productive; I just was smiling seeing this because some of the kindest most wonderful I have met have been disabled in one way or another. In fact if I had a choice between spending time with disabled people or non-disabled people I would choose disabled people;  they are a hell of a lot much nicer and much less judgemental overall than people that don’t have special needs ( some; not all. I don’t like making generalizations) I sat next to a lady who had been to the lunch before and she was explaining some of the things they do out in the community; the activities through the church; I was impressed. She was also very friendly and I was glad to be seated next to someone who cares about this community. Her daughter was also there and was also interested in helping those with special needs; I told her about my internship and that it serves the many needs of the disabled and I gave her the card I got from there. Even though my experience was bad there; I hope she finds it rewarding.  Actually my internship experience soured me a bit on getting into the disability field, but after talking with people today; I feel more positive about it. I think if I can just connect with the right people I can be successful; like anyone else I just need the right guidance It is refreshing to be around people who care so much about serving those in need; I am not around people like that on a regular basis. I went with my mom because she knew a lot of the people there and she introduced me to some of the leaders there. I talked to a young woman who’s mom founded the organization; she was very friendly and I enjoyed talking with her. I told her about how i was in school to get a degree in human services and she seemed very enthusiastic. She told me to email her and the other leaders about what times I can volunteer. Sadly I work retail and my schedule is erratic to say the least but I will talk to my boss about making time for this ministry because it is important.  I am just so excited to be a part of this; I feel this is God’s calling for me.  And I love to be around people who as passionate as me and who want to help others. I am just at a loss of words at how happy I am right now. Truly a God moment.

 

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Putting my trust in God

As i write this I am completely exhausted; I can barely see straight and it was a full 8 hour day on my feet; I am sore and I just want to go to bed. I work in a department store in a warehouse; it’s hot; full of allergens  and horrible loud intrusive music that plays constantly 24/7 from anywhere in the store; it’s a very stressful environment and it causes a lot of anxiety.  When I am anxious I try to find something to relieve anxiety and that usually comes in the form of checking my smartphone; particular social media.  Anytime I feel bored or uncomfortable at work; I turn to Facebook; to check if someone had responded to a post or sent me a message; anything to escape the misery of my job. If you are saying to yourself I have posted this sort of blog before; you are right and I have; it is a work in progress. Anyways I become overly reliant on social media at work to give me a boost of happiness; to make me feel like people out there somewhere care because at work I feel worthless. So I am basing my whole self worth on the comments and likes on my little screen; it’s a horrible way to live your life.

I think it is quite dangerous to rely on other human beings for yourself worth; people are fallible. People are unpredictable and don’t always react in the way you expect; they may say one thing and think another; people may not always be here; relationships suffer, people move away and god forbid people pass away. I think it is important to practice seeing yourself as worthy because you are a child of God and the lord doesn’t make worthless children.  Lately I have strayed away from praying daily and reading my bible; I think I suffer as a result of that; my anxiety and depression has been pretty bad lately; a lot of negative self talk; a lot of comparing myself to others and measuring how I feel about myself based on I think I am perceived.  I have always turned to others for approval; failing to realizing that the only approval I need to be concerned with is God’s and myself.  I have to look at myself and ask if I am the kind of person God wants me to be. Am I kind?  Do I love others and have forgiveness in my heart or am I plagued with bitter feelings and a sharp tongue?  Do I trust in God completely or do I rely on others to dictate my self worth?  Am I writing this blog to praise God or is it to seek validation and praise for myself?

I feel that in moments where I feel alone ( I feel terribly lonely all the time) and my cries unheard; I know whether I pray or not or even if I’m doing God’s will; he is listening and waiting for me to ask for help. I decided to put out my read my bible and opened it to Psalms 22:4 I immediately had an emotional reaction to what I had read “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and no one is here to help”.  I feel like this all the time; so distant from God ( by my own actions); lost on my own and feeling in those moments at work; stuck in a noisy place; surrounded by negative people; sore muscles; racing thoughts; aching stomach; so tired and all I want to do is go home; I feel removed from God as if I walked into the building and he’s still in the parking lot. But I am coming to realize God is with me in those moments and I have to trust he will give me strength I need to make it through the day; whatever they throw at me; I can handle it because I trust in God.  Is communication with my friends online good? Yes it’s incredible and I know God has placed them in my life so I can feel loved and love others. But at the same time; he doesn’t intend for communication to become compulsive or to rely on a stupid phone to make me feel good.  I really don’t know how to make the situation at work any easier; have adhd doesn’t help either.  But I can at least take comfort in knowing God is protecting to me and won’t let me fail if I put his trust in him. So while it’s important to trust people and have relationships with others; my relationship with God comes first. Without God I believe these people wouldn’t be in my life ( online or otherwise in the first place).  I will try to do my part by praying every morning ( and if need be throughout the day), reading my bible daily and leave the rest to God.

 

Dave

 

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The presence of God in my life

While I was on visiting back home in DC; I felt the presence of God on this trip everywhere I went especially on Sunday of that week. I went back to the church where I had grown up and it was tough to be there with so many memories; I wasn’t sure how I would react. When I walked up to take communion; I cried at church in front of the altar, the pastor’s wife ( who I didn’t know) held my hand and prayed with me; it was one of the most powerful moments in my life. And as I was walking back; this older man who was an usher hugged me and I broke down again and when I looked up I noticed he was crying too; I never met this man before in my life. All I could say was that I missed my brother so much and being there reminded me of him; being a little kid with my family during children’s time; it really was emotional and I will never forget those two people. A few hours later I went to see a friend from high school; it was really nice. I talked about my journey to God and how things happen for a reason. My friends oldest daughter was cleaning out her room and started showing these things she had written as a kid and they were really good; I was really impressed; she was a very creative kid. She then showed me this letter she had written for a friend who had taken his life ( I had hours before visited my brother’s grave who committed suicide when I was 14). I read the letter; trying not to react emotionally; I tried to compose myself; so I kept myself in check because I was floored at what I had read. All I could do was shake my head; hand the paper back and say ” wow this was beautifully written” She smiled nervously not sure how to take the compliment; but I meant it; I’m not sure if she’d ever gotten feedback like that before. So anyways the rest of the evening went well and I told them about working with the disabled and the old times; I wasn’t expecting to have such an emotional moment being there but I felt God was trying to reach and give me comfort.

When I got back to where I was staying I realized that God was present at that house. On the day I was there; that young girl just happened to be going through her things; I’m pretty sure that is not an everyday occurrence. Wherever I go, God is ever present in my life and we seem to have a very special relationship. He looks out for me in obvious ways. I am just so blessed to have friends and family who love me so much and I love them. I was happy to meet their families. So right now I am processing everything and trying to make peace with the past. Am I jumping for joy? No. I just feel a little more at ease. At the moment I am emotionally drained and suffering from a lack of sleep. This is my last full day here so I am taking the time to reflect, write and get some much needed rest after a very busy week.

As always thanks for listening,

Dave

Written on 7/2/18 while still in DC

 

 

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Why do we judge the disabled so harshly

There is an internet figure or should I say meme based on a man named Chris Chan who has autism; he has been cyber bullied for years; the cruelness is beyond comprehension.  This man has been trolled by hundreds of people over the course of 10 years. . There are documentaries on this guy, countless memes, thousands of videos mocking this guy; getting him to do disgusting things and leaking it to the internet; there is whole wiki site based on him and of course its in a mocking tone; I don’t even know why I even look at it. A part of me is scared by this since I am on the autism spectrum; although I can work, maintain friendships, attend college;  I struggle socially; I think to myself this could be me. They are laughing at people like me.

I looked at the page today and one section was about Chris’s ego and how he is enabled and has a sense of entitlement. Something I read really bothered me. They said no one over 30 should live with their parents regardless of disability; I thought that was harsh, incredibly judgmental and ignorant about the economic system in which we live. If these ignorant fools bothered to read the facts they’d realize that the employment rate for the disabled ( autism included) is about 10% ;about twice the amount for non disabled people.  Jobs are scarce for the disabled and all are low paying. No one disabled or otherwise could survive on these wages; it isn’t fair; in fact its downright cruel. A living wage is the least they can do for the disabled ;but that will never happen at least in this country. I for one live my parents and it isn’t because I enjoy their company; I have no choice. Not only do I have emotional issues along with being on the spectrum; I suffer from physical issues as well. It’s so bad that I cant stand in the same place for more than 15 minutes without running to the bathroom; it disrupts my whole life; so independence is something that seems out of reach. I am always conscious that there is a segment of society that is judging me ( and others like me) because I still with my parents; probably the same people who call welfare handouts. Here’s the thing: I love my parents (although it can be tense at times) but I would give anything to be on my own. I pay most of my bills aside from the medical portion but there are just so many obstacles and you know no matter how hard you try you can’t survive because someone who does have wealth and power won’t let you because he doesn’t want to give a small part of what he has; so you can have your basic needs met.

It just saddens me that we judge people when they don’t know their circumstances. Maybe Chris ( its Christine now sorry)is low on the spectrum and can’t possibly hold down a job. Maybe she cant live on her own; maintain an apartment, cook for herself, pay bills or manage her health. I mean who are we to judge someone we don’t know. There is so much stigma of the disabled particular those with mental and emotional issues; we have ridiculous high standards for them that maybe they can never achieve. The average person may say  ” Hey, I work 2 jobs; 60 hrs a week; why can’t they”. People speak out of ignorance and cruelty and its obvious they never suffered in life and have had all the breaks in life. The rest of us struggle to survive; on our feet 8 hours a day         ( when its physically difficult) living paycheck to paycheck and we’ll still can’t achieve independence. If you sense an angry tone; you are right; I am angry. The disabled deserve better; they deserve to work and live independently like everyone else; I see it as a human right. It hurts to see another human being trolled by millions ( yes millions of people) Its despicable and that is all I have left to say.  That is it for my blog but I will leave you with this. As the bible states Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judgeye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you – Matthews 7:2.  Remember it

Dave

 

Learning to listen and talk less

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I am the first to admit that I am very much into self; I am a very self centered person; I talk to be heard; it isn’t a two wave conversation but a long monologue; it hurts my relationships. No one wants to be around someone who is always going on about themselves without any regard to how the other person is feeling. I am so guilty of bringing to conversation back to myself. For example; I might ask “How is your job going” as they start telling me about their job; I am not even listening; I am just figuring how I will reply and instead of inquiring more; I might just tell everything I have been doing at work; because it’s all about me; I can see what that can be annoying. I know I have spoken to people like that and I can tell they are not even listening; it’s like having 2 separate conversations and no one is listening; that isn’t communication. So I am a hypocrite; I want people to listen and encourage me but I am not willing to listen to them; I mean really listen. I don’t do good for the sake of doing good; I do it to receive praise and that is wrong; that is something I don’t like to admit but if I am honest with myself; I know it’s true. So I was moping about how no one cares and this thought came to me it was: Give back; be the one encouraging others; above your needs. Be the kind of person that people go to when they need someone to talk to; be a better listener; this is the key to being happy. I was talking to my dad the other day and boasting that I was humble ( sort of an irony) and I thought about it and I said “Am I really humble?’ Do I write to make a difference and help others who suffer from mental health issues or is about being big headed; getting praise and likes. A lot of it is about attention; I never received any kind of attention before and so it goes to your head; doesn’t it. What I write is genuine; everything I say comes from the heart. But the reasons I post may not always be because I want to express myself but I want others to tell me that I’m talented or worthy or brave; whatever people say. That is no reason to post and I share my writings on social media ( Facebook, Instagram) soely for the reactions. Since I turned my life to God; I realized that he commands us to be humble and not boast about ourselves. So how can I be doing God’s will when I constantly seeking attention; when I encourage others for the sole purpose of that encouragement being reciprocated. When I was in 12 steps; the one thing they would say was: if you want get out of self centered thinking; you have to help another person. Now I am no longer in the program and am bitter about it but I do think that was good advice. When I felt depressed and I took someone to a meeting or we went out for coffee and I just listened instead of talking; I always felt better. I forgot why I am upset because I focused on the problems of the person in front of me. Nothing makes me happier than to do something good for someone else. It’s far more important to make someone else smile; than the seek constant love and attention from those around me. I hope I can follow my own advice and learn to listen a little more and talk a whole lot less.

As always,
Thank for listening ( And I hope to practice those same skills)

Dave

An Easter Poem

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You died on that cross to save us from sin and to bring us salvation; you rose up from the dead; just like you said you would and if you could, you have saved yourself but that wasn’t the plan because you were not just a man but you were the son of God and it needed to be done for mankind as a sign of God’s everlasting love and eternal life; up in heaven in peace and free from strife and all is right because we are in God’s sight and there we can see his true might. Jesus’s love is unsurpassed and gives me hope that doesn’t die but lasts as long as Jesus is with me,so I can be a kinder man; it took me a long time to understand God and religion as a whole but now I feel it in my soul and I know Jesus is in my heart and I will do my part of remember the sacrifices Jesus made for me as I try to be someone who lives by God’s will the best I can. Even though I am not a perfect man; I know Jesus loves me and he understands.

Amen

Trying to turn over a new leaf ( the real me)

All my life I have always been an impulsive person.  I have trouble thinking things through before I act and there are always consequences ( whether they be spiritual, emotional, financial or legal) due to my impulsivity. I can’t tell you how many times I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be or with someone I knew was trouble and thought to myself, how did I end up here again?  Why don’t I have self control? I feel helpless at times because despite my best efforts, I keep making the same mistakes.  And I have to keep it myself so I end feeling liking a fraud; living a double life; trying to put a front so that no one knows the real me.  It hurts so damn bad because I know I can do better but I am beating myself yet again.  But I do believe things happen for a reason and this isn’t a failure but a lesson to be learned.  I thought I was doing well but I don’t think I was doing enough to take care of myself.  I have bi-polar  ( please don’t judge me) and I haven’t been sleeping or eating right. I think those two things alone are enough to cause a manic episode. I’ve probably been manic so long that I haven’t realized it.  I feel detached and really am just acting on impulse which of course never turns out good.

So I came home the other day feeling defeated. I had a revelation and that  I need to turn my life around.  I don’t have any choice because the alternative is misery and sickness.   I started thinking what I could be doing differently so that I don’t continue the same impulsive behaviors.  I realized that I have to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and also give myself more time in the morning to get ready.  The lack of sleep certainly causes me to act out in ways I regret. I’m grouchy and I snap at everyone; when I’m exhausted my defenses are down and my self control is pretty much non-existent so the addictive patterns I have come back full force on the days I don’t sleep. I also have dietary issues and I can’t ignore them anymore. If I want to feel better both physically and mentally I must eat right. If I am a sick, I get frustrated and hopeless and will find anyway  I can to cope even if it’s negative.  I look at this impulsive behavior as a coping mechanism.  I had some trauma in childhood and my adult years haven’t been that much easier ,so I also look for anything I can find just to cope with the anxiety and depression I face on a daily basis and i turn to negative behaviors which only exasperates the problem.  I need to grow closer with God, I need to ask for his help and guidance.  I know that God forgives whatever I’ve done and he loves me. I know by being obedient to Christ, I might just be saved and live the kind of life one would be proud of. I cannot make it to church but  i will take the time to read my bible everyday, pray morning and night, wear my cross and listen to sermons online. This is serious and the only person can make this better is God; with me doing the footwork. I am so happy I can be brutally honest because writing is my only source of expressing myself.  I hope somebody understands where I am coming

Thank for listening,

Dave

When you can’t make it Church

I’m trying to tell myself that just because I can’t make it church this morning doesn’t mean I’m not with God. God is with me everyday 24/7 and I dont need to be at a church to be a Christian. I’d like to be but most Sundays that is not possible. So I pray God will bless me today along with my friends and family. I also pray for anyone this morning that needs to be in a house of God and for whatever reason can’t make it to service. Have a blessed Sunday, Dave

Hate the sin not the sinner

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I grew up in a very loving and accepting church, not once did I hear anti-gay talk from the pulpit. I didn’t hear it from the other church members or my parents. I grew up with the notion that everyone was welcome at church. When I got in trouble and sent to a school for troubled kids, run by fanatical Christians from Liberty University (The county never told us this) I was upset by what they were saying. They said being gay was a sin and this and that. I said yeah but isn‘t Jesus about love? And the guy said, hate the sin not the sinner. Being someone who hated bigotry, this really upset me. After that I was turned off to organized religion for a long time. Now I realize i threw the baby out with the bath water. Those were just some bigoted people twisting the word of God. Jesus is love and he calls me to love and accept others, I am blessed to have grown up in a church that instilled those values in me