Monday, August 29, 2005

Come to me..all who are weary

For some time I have been completely weary. I have been tired of trying to change myself, work on things, fight broken relationships, health, etc... I have just been WEARY. Well, I came to the point where I could no longer handle my own life and decided to take God's advice and come to him..since I was weary.

I have started relying on His power, His strength, and His virtue..since mine always fall short. I am excited about the new developments in my life and I am looking forward to all that God has for me to be.

Updates: I joined a small group today and I am very excited about that. I am getting involved in children's ministries, women's ministries, and serving opportunities. I have a new counselor that I am starting with soon and that should be good. I also am trying to plan for the upcoming holidays and work on finances. Mainly life is good because I am taking it one breath at a time.

Have a great day and I am praying for you all!


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Children and what I can learn from them.

Today I had a meeting with Gabe, the man at my church that heads up children's ministries. It was a very nice meeting and I found out that the church (one of them) that I have been attending is very good about leading children to the right place. Upon that acknowledgment, I have decided to give of my time on Sunday mornings to serve the children at the church. I am going to be working within the 1st grade class (this is my favorite age).

This is a project that has many facets that will really lead me to where I need to be. First of all, I will be learning with them since I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I think a lot of these lessons are things that people assume that I know since I am 25 years old but I just don't know the character of God the way it is taught in Sunday School. I wasn't raised in that environment at all. As a matter of fact, my mom was a practicing Satanist for 10 full years of my life. She isn't now and is actually a believer and that is a good thing.

The second reason for Children's ministries is that I have a pull on my heart for children. I have recently realized that one of my largest dreams is to be a mama. I of course want to be a mom when I am love with a man who will be the father. I want to be a mom when I can properly care for a child (financially and emotionally). I am not in any rush but it is one of my nearest and dearest dreams. This means that I get to invest in the life of children and speak truth to them that will literally revolutionize their lives.

The third reason I want to do Children's ministries is quite simple really. I need to keep my head out of my sin life. I have a very real and pervasive sin life. I have a hard time keeping away from it unless I am otherwise occupied in things that cannot co-exist with it. I can't tell children on Sunday morning to honor God, respect Him, obey Him, and treat themselves with respect if I don't do it Monday through Saturday. I AM NOT a hypocrite so therefore..I must change my tune to do this ministry.

I am getting very excited about the many areas that God is taking me into and how much I am growing into the woman I SO want to be. I appreciate your prayers and continually pray for all of you. Please continue to pray about this sin area as well as the new places God is taking me. If you could also lift my friend Jarrid up in prayer that would be great...he is getting married in about a month and needs some things to fall into place. Also my friend Heather is getting married in October and also needs some details to fall into place, please lift she and Jason up in prayer. Also, congratulations to Nick and Merry Pridemore (dear friends) as they just welcomed their first child into the world. Welcome Little Calvin!

Have a great day everyone and thanks for stopping in!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I never even noticed...

I never even noticed how bombarded we are by immoral behavior everywhere we turn. I am talking about billboards, tv, movies, music, and even today as I drove my car by the back bay...a woman almost completely naked..running. Now I know it's hot here in Southern Cali but come on people...wear some clothes. I am not saying that tv, movies, or music are immoral in and of themselves but some of the things we watch and listen to..oh my gosh. I am guilty of this as well. I have been known to purchase quite a bit of music that I would NEVER let my children listen to.

I was thinking about my sin life and how much of a struggle it is and what kinds of things I might be doing to "feed" it. My music, movies, and tv came immediately to my head. I put so much junk into my head...what else could possibly come out of me?! I have decided to only put in, what I wish to come out of me. I think that is a great way to live in general. I am only holding myself to this so no worries that I am watching what you are doing all the time...just me!

I need prayer people...please pray!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I need to talk.

So my title tonight is "I need to talk" because I really do need to. There is something in my life that has literally shook me to the core. Everyone that ventures onto my blog probably has a sin in their life (if you are Christian, you acknowledge these as such) that really permeates your being. Everyone probably finds their sin life rather embarassing, private, and completely sacred to you. You might step out in faith and confess to some people in your life but my guess is..they get a censored version. I am not going to get on the internet and post my deepest, darkest sin life and expect it to be some clarifying, wonderful experience. I think that would not only be really awful for me, but rather unsafe as well. I am going to write about this sin life though and how it has ransacked me and left me stranded.

There is a moment in time where you realize that something is not right. There is a line in (lyrical genius) John Mayer's "Why Georgia" that says "Am I living it right?" That is a question that I had to come to on Saturday of this past week. I am going to mark that day as a transforming day. Something horrific went down in my sin life and I learned quite possibly the largest lesson that I have ever learned while here on planet Earth. My sin life actually came out to the surface and showed its despicable face. I was tormented by it and completely taunted as it ran circles around me and had a sing-song voice saying "we finally have you for good" over and over. It's not a funny scene although it may sound like it.

For years (11 + to be exact) I have danced with this sin, romanced it, honored it, justified it, and married it. It is now time for a divorce. I am claiming irreconciliable differences. My God (Jesus Christ) lives inside of me and so does this sin. They are having a hard time living in the same house and the stronger tenant (J.C.) has started working on evicting the other one. Someone is getting voted off of this island and it certainly won't be the God of the universe. It's time for me to live for one God and one God only.

It's always easier to get a clear picture when you aren't in the middle of the painting yourself. I took a moment on Sunday (the day of reckoning) to really step outside of myself and hear my friend confront my sin. Because the sin had become evident in me on Saturday, I had to be honest and forthright and completely vulnerable to someone I think is the most godly man I know. I heard him loud and clear and chose that day..whom I would serve!

Today is Tuesday and it's not easy to start your week thinking about the radical changes that have to take place in a life of disease and destitution in order to find health. Sunday was easy to play because I felt so horrible, it wasn't even an option to delve into this sin. Monday was about the same because guilt and shame have a long shelf life. Today is a new day and my sin is rearing its ugly head again and seeing if I will pay attention to it. Well, I am not. I have decided to make steps to beat this sin with God's help and support and well...let's be honest...He'll have to do it!

I have started by writing up a contract with me and God and a friend. It's a list of guidelines that will help keep me on the path to healing. I have also chosen to start working with memory verses so that I am armed in this battle. I have went to this battle not only weaponless but completely naked! (I am not even kidding) It's time to take my weapons and walk on. I am not going to go to the enemy's camp however and dance in front of the door and say "You can't get me!" That's ignorance so this plan is going to make sure that I am as far away from this sin as I can get!

In saying all of this, I hope that you all take a step back today and confront that monster that is stealing from you, changing you, and deciding your fate. Take your power back through the big J.C. Below is my weekly memory verse..which I already memorized! :)

1 Cor. 10:13

No Temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with that temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I will find victory in this through HIM! Please be praying and again, call me if you feel led to discuss this further. I could use all of the support I can get. Have a great day!


Cleaning up

Doesn't it feel great to have a clean house? I love walking into my room and seeing my bed made, every picture frame in place, no stacks of things around, and the vacuum marks still in place on the carpet. Yes, I am a little bit of a neat freak so you would think my life would be cleaned up as well. Well, that's a no. For a while now, approximately 11 years, I have been carrying around this sin life that some people in my life know about and others just assume I have it under control. That is not true. It's pervasive and it seriously stunts every bit of growth in my life. It is ugly and dirty! There is nothing about this that is in order.

I am using this forum to confess my sin (sort of) and tell you that I have made a decision to clean up my life in this area and do anything to get away from this sin. I long to be whole again and stop giving my heart and soul away to it. Please pray with me about this and if you would like to pray with me personally, give me a call. I love you all dearly and hope you are all well.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Creating a new family

Yesterday morning I had a talk with an old friend from Vanguard and really started to speak some things into existence that I hadn't fully realized until that moment. She and I were talking about the loss of family and how it takes more than blood and DNA to make people family. I started to think about what family means to me, what it means in general, and what it looks like. I have been, for some time, searching out a family and a home out of people who do not share my blood or DNA. I have since found that group of people and it continues to grow even today.

When I started this quest of bettering myself and getting to be a healthy woman, I knew I would need help on the journey and be obligated to build a support team. When I chose to do this, I just figured I could go with the support team I already had in motion and be successful. I found out that if you are unhealthy, there is a great chance that the people you are around, are unhealthy as well. The people that were in my life at the beginning of this quest are not here now for the most part. I have an entirely different group of friends and mentors in my life starting in 2001. I made new decisions and stopped allowing people to seek me out, I started to seek them out. I found out that the friends I had in the past were people who needed me and thrived on my unhealthiness as well as I did theirs. It was a world of gossip, drama, confrontation, and pain.

I let go of that world in 2001 by making a huge step to admit to my wrongs, deal with anger appropriately, and start to forgive. Those were the three things that I view as essential to my starting over point. It was hard at first to actually admit to my failures and shortcomings because I was (and am) a very prideful person. I am working on this aspect of myself daily by allowing myself to NOT be perfect. I have found that I need to give myself and others more of a grace period in life. It was also very difficult to let go of my normal response to anger. I used to blow up every time something made me the slightest bit upset. I am now a very controlled and calm person when dealing with frustration, shame, embarassment, hurt etc. I learned that anger was a secondary emotion and often times I just needed to figure out what the real emotion I was feeling was.

Family is something I have never really had but have come to understand just recently. This is not to say I was an orphan or anything like that. I have two parents and three sisters. I had all 4 of my grandparents growing up as well. The thing I didn't have was unconditional acceptance, support, and love. In my family's defense, they didn't learn how to love, support, or nurture anyone before this so they only did what they knew. I know that my family did the best that they knew how to do and since then have come to the realization of how messed up our outlook is.

I completely forgive my parents for the things that they chose in my childhood. I forgive my grandparents for raising my parents to be the way they were. I accept that my family is what it is and it won't change. What I wouldn't accept is that I can't have a family at all. I can have a family but it will not consist of actual relatives in my case. It consists of great female mentors that I have met along my path, amazing men of faith that have been great friends to me, and beautiful women who show me everyday what friendship really is. I am lucky enough to have one sister that really is my sister and friend. Britt is the best and I have really been able to hold on to that relationship no matter what.

I just wanted to take some time today to thank all of you who have become my family in some way. Thanks to Pam,Steve, Heather, Markita, Mel, Mary, Alison, Martha, Randy, Jake, Claudia, Doug, Shirley, Carrie, Paul, Riley, Hailey, Jarrid, Josh, Randy, Sheryl, Sherry, Sarah, Joel, Grandma, Gavin, Hannah, Aaron, Caleb, Nathan, Richard, Chris, Sandra, Kevin, Kahlil, Terrence, Steven, and the list goes on. You have all become my mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and mostly friends. I appreciate the family I never had. It's a great family indeed.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Erica's Apologies

First of all, my apologies for being MIA for so long. My little sister got here on August 4th and left last night to go home so I have been super busy and not really accessible. Let me take a few moments to recap her visit, news on me, and then move on with the journey.

Britt's visit was great. It was good to have her around and see her meet my nearest and dearest Cali buddies. She was able to spend a lot of time with Joel and Josh which was my heart's desire. She met a lot of my friends and loved ones and was able to get to know Chris and Richard since she stayed at our house for the full 11 days. We took a ton of pictures and experienced a lot of California things together including but not limited to Hollywood, In-N-Out burger, Downtown Disney, Knotts Berry Farms, etc... I will be posting pictures on my web-site soon. We were able to celebrate my birthday together which was amazing and yes that means I turned 25 while she was here!

Things with me are going well. I feel out of the loop since I have been away from the computer, not doing my normal routine, and haven't really had a moment to record thoughts, feelings, or insights. I did indeed celebrate my 25th birthday on August 9th. I had a little get together at Dave and Busters and then ended the night bowling with my lil' sister and Joel. It was a magical evening and ended up way better than it started. I really felt loved and supported and totally know that my family is not of flesh and blood but rather the ties of friendship!

My weight loss goal has been put on the back burner until now. I am back in the saddle today and hopefully will be on new footing tomorrow morning with my walks. My grad school preparation was also ignored for 11 days so I am back on that today. My goals were basically ignored as I was experiencing a vacation from life. I am now ready and willing to get back in the game. I am a little concerned about a few situations in my life right now and could really use your prayers. My family and I are not doing well (doesn't surprise you huh?) and I really need prayers for the right steps to take. I also have some financial concerns happenings and mostly just really would like to be secure right now. My therapist is also moving away and I am getting transferred from her so that is really sad since there was a real connection between her and I and we were doing good work. I am just needing prayers for the right therapist to come along.

I guess that's all to get you all caught up. I will be posting soon with the next step in my life and how things are going on those steps. I am always working to achieve more and knowing that you all are reading..helps! Have a great day everyone and God bless you!


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We teach people how to treat us

Here is a life law that everyone needs to recognize. We teach people how to treat us every single day. If we allow people to treat us with disrespect, we are literally teaching them that lesson. This life law became really important about a week ago. I was very unhappy in a relationship in my life and how things were going. I felt I was being treated poorly but for some reason, couldn't get that person to stop doing it. I could cry all night, pray about it, and perhaps even show my discontent but nothing was changing. I was reading Dr. Phil's book last Monday when it dawned on me that this life law was at work.

I was teaching this person in my life how to treat me. I was teaching them to hurt and neglect me. After talking with this person about the problem and apologizing for my anger and bitterness, I decided to start teaching them how to treat me. Since then, I have learned that it's imperative that you communicate things to people because they love you and want the best for you and wouldn't want to hurt you. Since this talk and my new way of being, I am completely happy in the relationshp and feel very loved. I was just teaching how to treat me. I have to teach new things now!

I would recommend each of you focusing on the relationships today that you aren't happy in and ask yourself if you are teaching that person how to treat you! I love you all very much and keep on keeping on! My birthday is a week from today and I am so excited to have you all in my life this 25th year! Stay tuned for Erica's Birthday quiz...coming up!


Monday, August 01, 2005

Life is Managed, It is Not Cured

Wow, this is one of those life laws that sounds harsh and does not look like good news but I assure you it's imperative to accept. There are times in our life that we just wish we could fix things and not have to deal with them in such a harsh way. Well, I am here to tell doesn't get fixed, just managed. Dr. Phil defintely had his head on when he came up with this one. There is no doubt after all the work I have done over the last 4 years that I am in NO way cured...simply managing my life better.

I think when I first started working on myself that somehow I would wake up one day and not be an overeater, not lie to make myself feel better, not need so much attention, feel good about me, and fully accept my dysfunctional family. Guess what, if I waited for that day, I would be waiting long into my fiber-needing days. I have since learned that anything that is worth changing in your life, takes time and more importantly practice.

I am going to use a great example here that I just talked to one of my mentors about. Take the example of sports. Let's imagine for a second that I want to learn the sport of tennis. (Which I plan on taking lessons for soon) The first thing I would need to do is learn the fundamentals of the sport. Then I would have to practice, practice, practice before I would get good at it. Then after I have practiced and gotten good, I would have to continue practicing for the rest of my life to keep this up. (Note: Dr. Phil is an excellent Tennis player)

This is the same way things go with life. I'll use the example of not having angry outbursts. I know it's hard to believe but this used to be a problem of mine. (ha ha) Well, what I had to do first was learn how to have a proper response to my anger. After that I had to practice using that response as much as possible and I continued to practice until I became good at having positive responses to anger. Now, I still have to PRACTICE it or I will slip right back into angry outbursts. See how this works? I believe that everything in life that you don't know naturally like swallowing or breathing..takes practice. This goes along with Dr. Phil's idea that life is managed, not cured.

I hope you all had some thoughts about this and thought about how you could practice or manage things better. I certainly did! Have a great day and God bless you!