“Who Cries for Judas: A Love Story”

Within the first few moments of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you become a target of the world.  Building relationship with God sharpens your Spiritual armor for the battles ahead.  Even if you are mentally prepared to fight the world, nothing prepares you to fight those you love whom are in the world.  What happens when the ones whom you love so deeply betray you?  Do you believe he/she is redeemable?  If you were unjustly slandered and others called your character into question, could you forgive?  What if you never receive an apology, could you forgive then?  These are the questions I’ve had to answer for myself recently.  The act of being “crucified” by those I care for, when my witness and walk with God shows it’s power in my life, is a feeling that isn’t foreign to me.  God never allows me to be caught off guard but the pain doesn’t hurt any less; if anything, it feels like the pain gets stronger and deeper each time.   In time, I’ve learned that my relationship with God must go deeper, stretch farther and my spiritual armor must be tougher each time a trial comes.  I found myself faced with heartbreak like none I’ve ever felt recently, I took shelter when it hit, not because I wasn’t ready but because if felt as if my heart completely dissolved into my chest and left my body through my tears.  However, this isn’t simply a tale of a broken heart, it’s a love story that must be told.

4yrs ago, God granted me the greatest gift to date, a son!  My son was delivered to me not by birth, but by the grace and mercy of God.  He was 16yrs old, struggling to maintain his focus and had trouble structuring his identity.  His Mom made one of the toughest decisions she’s ever had to make as a Mother; she put her son on a plane and sent him to Texas to live with his Father and I.  I assured her that we have the same goal, to see him graduate from high school and become more independent.  Little did I know, her pain would later become my saving grace.  The gift of a son allowed me to experience a love like I’ve never known, a love that opened a part of me that I didn’t know even existed. A love that would one day hurt like no other.  As much as I love my son, the reality is, he’s caught, feeling like he has to choose.  There’s the path that he wants to follow, the path he’s expected to follow and the path that he’s supposed to follow according to God.  I’m aware it’s not possible to love two masters, but my beloved son is torn between three.  There are the two masters who war with each other and there’s God the Master of all Whom will win in the end.  As opposed to responding to the challenge set before him to be greater, my son chose the path that best fit his agenda; age and maturity decided for him.  It’s the hidden clause that is attached to his decision that I worry most about, everyday I pray for God’s mercy for the tough road ahead.

My son’s decision included unjustly slandered his Father and myself for selfish gain.  I forgave him, 4yrs ago on the day he arrived in Texas; I was never afraid to sacrifice my heart to him, though it didn’t make the pain of betrayal any easier.  Relationship with God grants me the privilege of discernment, it has allowed me to protect my heart in ways that are strange to others.  My car has so many dried tears lodged in it’s crevices that I’m sure it’ll be completely rusted over by Winter.  My comfort lies in knowing that God is pleased, because I chose to love him (my son) despite what I had been shown.  I chose God’s path over my own.

4yrs ago God sent me the following message:                                                                             “Do not grow weary in well doing, for your reward will not come from man but from Me.  They will crucify your names and reputation for jealousy’s sake.  And I will make you fertile and give you good seed to plant.  They will tell lies to everyone who is willing to listen, many will listen.  And I will increase your wealth, there will be no lack.  They will think their anger is justified and in My name.  And I will sustain you and your husband through this trial, I will soften the heart of your (his) son.  Your children (his children) will turn their backs on you, I will deal with them harshly and thus cause everyone to yield to you both for help.  And I will uproot the pride of the Father and lead the son back to his Father, never to stray again.  These are your rewards; if first, you forgive and do these things that I have asked of you.”

I sat with this message for 4yrs, only revealing it to one person.  Forgiving someone who hurt you by mistake is difficult but possible.  Forgiving the betrayal of someone you love so deep & so pure, when the betrayal was intentional, is soul crushing.  How does one tell a parent what’s ahead?  You don’t, you provide hope during the trial to prevent them from giving up.  I pray that God offers such hope to my husband during this difficult time.  In the midst of my sorrow, I found peace in the story of Judas; a story that I’ve heard thousands of times, but this time an unexpected gem was revealed.  By the end of the message, not only did I cry for Judas but I understood Jesus’ love for him and why Jesus forgave him.

WHO WILL CRY FOR JUDAS?

Most Christians are familiar with the events that led Jesus’ crucifiction, specifically the betrayal.  It’s widely known that Judas, who was a disciple, betrayed Him for selfish gain; then Judas committed suicide.  Rarely do we review the story from the perspective of the villain, never do we sympathize with what he must have mentally gone through that lead him to suicide.  We gloss over the fact that, before His death, Jesus forgave him.  How difficult do you think it was for Jesus to forgive someone He loved, knowing that this person was the catalyst of His death, in order for Jesus to be resurrected and do His Father’s will?  How many of us have been faced with situations that are difficult to forgive?  I LOVE my son, I bonded with my son, I spent time with my son, I broke bread with my son and I sacrificed for my son.  I want the best for my son but I sent him off KNOWING that he would ultimately become the catalyst for my promotion in God and I STILL forgave him.

The stories of the Bible were put in place to help us navigate the trials of life and provide comfort for our pain.  The story of Judas tells us that God placed Judas in Jesus’ path.  Jesus called him friend, called him brother, loved him just as much (or more) than others. God TOLD Jesus that Judas would betray Him but didn’t remove Judas from the company of His son Jesus.  Jesus broke bread with him the night of the betrayal.  Judas betrayed Jesus for material possessions that didn’t even measure up to what Judas ended up losing in the end. Judas allowed Jesus to be slandered, attacked, shamed, crucified, killed, DESPITE the fact that Jesus was blameless.  Even after he was exposed as the betrayer and forgiven, the weight of Judas’ actions began to sink in, evident in the fact that he tried to reverse his actions by returning the money. When Judas realized that it was too late to right his wrong, when he realized he sentenced his Friend to die, he hated himself and committed suicide.

When Judas was consumed with guilt where were the friends, that he once called brother, to wrap their arms around him & forgive him? Where were those who witnessed Jesus forgive Judas, despite his betrayal? Why was Judas left ALONE to suffer with the guilt of how he betrayed Jesus, did the others not feel remorse for denying Jesus, for not stopping Judas, or did they feel that Judas DESERVED to suffer the pain of guilt alone?  You see, Jesus knew that one of his friends would betray Him for money, and the others would deny Him to save their own lives.  Jesus was hurt deeply to know that those closest to Him would also turn their backs on Him.  When we remember that Jesus was not a god but the SON of God born as a man, we know that He experienced human emotions that were only overcome through His relationship with God.

The story of Jesus’ betrayal teaches us to be mindful not to become so focused on the betrayal that we overlook God’s plan, which is that God’s glory and power is demonstrated BEST in our lives AFTER A BETRAYAL.  How many of us are so consumed with hurt that we cannot forgive those who betray us?  WE decide that he/she deserved EVERYTHING that they got because of their actions.  We must remember that God replenishes anything that is stolen.  Unfortunately, many people have been left alone, thinking their sin was too great of a burden and committed suicide as a result of unforgiveness.  If you can forgive, your public execution will also give birth to your public resurrection!

I forgave my son for his betrayal because he deserves it.  Because I forgave him, I do not wallow in bitterness, instead I cry for him because I know that God’s correction is much harsher than any punishment I could deliver as his parent.  I want him to know that he is loved, I don’t want him to feel like anything he does makes him unworthy of forgiveness.  The burden of betrayal is not just carried by one person: the victim bears it’s weight for a time, believers (those who participate in slander, etc.) share it’s weight for a moment, but the perpetrator carries the weight for a lifetime.  Forgiveness sets everyone free.

I (now) cry for Judas! 😢

“Encourage YOURSELF”

Going through the trials of life can be exhausting, everyone feels drained now & then. When you’re going through, you’re also pulling energy from those around you. It’s reasonable to loathe/sulk or stumble emotionally when you get hit with the unexpected. Sometimes, it seems like once you get delivered from one thing (before you can even say “Thank You Jesus”) you get hit with something else. But that’s how life is sometimes. This also means those around you may not have had time to get their energy up, to encourage you for the next thing & that’s ok too. 

Eventually, you’ll run into a phase of life where you have to encourage YOURSELF. Sometimes, you have to practice seeing the good in your situation until you start to believe it. As humans, we can become complacent with outside motivation, instead of building up the motivation within. To prevent us from becoming enabled, there are times that we need to be isolated so we can focus on what’s important. 

At some point, for some situations, for some things, you’ve got to encourage YOURSELF. That doesn’t mean reject the encouragement of others, that means to rely on the God IN YOU to pull the best OUT OF YOU. A self-motivated person is more pleasant to be around, a self-motivated person will find that aid is more available to them when they demonstrate that kind of independence, a self-motivated person is optimistic about any issue that may arise because they know God has not forgotten them, they trust God’s plan AND His timing. A self-motivated person may require a “pick me up” from time to time but not ALL the time.

So yes, sometimes you have to encourage YOURSELF in order to become a better version of yourself FOR yourself and those around you! 😊

“You’re not equipped to carry two crosses”

There’s a very VALUABLE lesson that you learn when God sits you down (not the same as giving up, being lazy, or losing your motivation by the way), one of which is that there are some things that God needs people in your life to experience for themselves to make them strong, so they will appreciate your assistance and learn to depend on God to sustain them.

You can pour yourself out to people, their issues, their relatives, contribute to their finances, encourage and support them for years, but when God sits you down forcing you to check out of responsibilities, it’s overwhelming to those who have depended on you. You generally hope you teach people how to treat you based on how you treat them, but while that concept is logical, the reality of it is not.

Sometimes, God will suspend your ability to provide, for your benefit, as well as the benefit of the other person/people. DO NOT feel guilty. It’s a thin line between helping and enabling. Helping is leading people to the proper resources that can assist. Not taking on everything yourself.

Sometimes, you have to give people their stuff back: “here’s your baggage. here’s your insecurities. here’s your drama. here’s your debt. here’s your brokenness.” In truth, not only was it never your load to carry, you prevent them from sorting through and growing from their own challenges when you take it on as your own.

Sometimes, you feel drained because you’ve been doing too much for others causing them to rely on you. You may even feel frustrated when you haven’t received sufficient recognition, or when your sacrifices are forgotten because your rest period is too long for them & too much weight for them to balance. You see, there’s always going to be what God calls you to do AND what man asks/relies on you for, it’s a balancing act.

You’re not designed to carry two crosses, don’t steal someone else’s victory by becoming the captain of their controversies.

“How much did your child(ren) cost?”

It’s really awkward when you find yourself “shopping” your baby’s delivery around to find the most cost effective care for you and your baby.  Unfortunately, this is the situation we now find ourselves in.  I’m nearly in my 4th month of pregnancy, my husband and I are making plans for our pending parenthood but what we didn’t think we had to plan for was…how much we can afford to pay for our baby.  Were you aware that it could cost you, at least, $9,000/delivery WITH insurance?  We weren’t!  What’s more outlandish is that it’s actually cheaper to be single and have a baby than to be married. Why? Because public assistance assists ALL expectant mothers without insurance so long as you meet and do not exceed the income requirements. Ideally, it is understood that a married couples’ joint income will place them above the income levels disqualifying the mother for services. Who knew?! And, did you know that ALL doctor fees must be paid in advance or you’re dropped as a patient?! Oh, did I neglect to mention that if doctors don’t receive their pay in advance that you won’t have a doctor? To put it another way, if you can’t relate to the “Jesus in the Manger” story, no worries…it’s about to be your real life experience!  Apparently, Joseph couldn’t afford his insurance deductible either. (LOL!)

After finding out that having a baby is basically the same cost as a used car, I began researching midwifery. I’d always been curious about it so I set up an interview so we could ask questions and get additional information. I left that interview feeling strong, confident, excited, and less anxious for the adventure ahead.

So, you’re probably wondering if going to a midwife center is free, no it absolutely is not. Having our baby at the birthing center carries a price tag of $4,800 which includes all basic checkups and amenities. One major amenity is the use of natural birthing methods. My Mother gave birth to three girls, and she conditioned all three of us to push through menstrual pain without the use of painkillers. The reasoning behind this “cruel” practice was to get us ready for the concept of childbirth without drugs. After hearing the stories of multiple women regarding their experiences of chronic back pain after having the epidural, I don’t plan on having an epidural. Now, I know the pain of labor is NOTHING like menstruation, but I believe the preparation received growing up and with the help of a midwife, I can do this!

Now, the center is not covered by our insurance, no surprise there, and just like the other doctors we looked into, all the fees have to be paid upfront, but the cheaper price tag, as well as the amenities, convinced us that the birthing center was our best choice. My husband assured me that having a panic attack will not cause money to rain from the sky. I’m not entirely convinced that he’s right, but I’ll try it his way for now. We’ve decided to begin auctioning off our excess items to the highest bidder, for some reason, the list only seems to include MY items; but negotiations are just beginning!

 

 

 

“First Time for EVERYTHING”

For the last 35yrs of my life, I have been in control of me!  I ate what I wanted, I travelled when I wanted, I took risks and I had total freedom of my choosing.  However, none of my adventures would prepare me for being pregnant.  Did you know that you could be placed on a gestational diabetes diet & regimen JUST BECAUSE?  Did you know that in your first trimester you become “Rip Van Winkle”?  Did you know that you won’t even be allowed to exert yourself in the gym if your doctor says no?  Well, if you knew all this….WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?

My Mother and Grandmother always explained adult things using childlike references, according to our ages.  “Don’t swallow watermelon or pumpkin seeds”, was their way of telling us to stay away from boys.  Now as random as that statement was, somehow, we understood.  But no one told me what happens after you’re married and old enough to “grow seeds”.  The story always jumped from sex directly to babies and there really was no middle.  In college, I was fortunate enough to witness a birth upclose…at the WRONG end of the canal, if you catch my drift.  That experience was extremely eye-opening, especially since I had never even seen videos of a live birth.  It was at that point that I was introduced to the whole reason girls have vaginas.  Now, you may laugh, but I’ve never heard of a woman who was able to give birth and fully observe how much her “lady part” changes at the same time.  The complete transformation is EXACTLY like watching a flower bloom and unfold, into a “tunnel”, only with a great deal more pain and anguish for the flower.

Aside from actually witnessing a birth, I was still a blank slate as it related to pregnancy…well that all ended 15wks and 3days ago.  When I tell you that pregnancy has caused me to realize and confront my own personality head on, that’s no exaggeration.  First, I realized I am stubborn.  Every week, three times a week, I had to visit my doctor and get hormone injections (even though I was on hormone pills) because I have PCOS.  This required me to force myself to get up, even when I didn’t feel like it.  I began to “buck the system”!  I started by getting up in just enough time, I procrastinated taking those nasty pills, and I may even had a mood swing…or two…or four.  I did this for 8wks and I never missed a day…of COMPLAINTS.  The only cleaning I did was when I took my daily shower and when I cleared my side of the bed at night.  I cooked…nothing greater than a microwaveable meal.  I basically ate grilled chicken on a bed of spring greens (which I now crave) until I got fancy one day because I had a craving for rutabagas (as I type this, I now want rutabagas).  My poor husband watched his kind, housekeeping, loving wife morph into a sloth-like, complaining, messy apartment dweller and he still…lied to me and told me I was doing great, LOL!

In my 2nd week of pregnancy, my doctor advised me to go see another doctor about gestational diabetes.  I wasn’t required to go because I had diabetes but rather because I MIGHT get diabetes due to PCOS.  I can honestly say that the diabetes center dislikes me and I dislike them right back.  Ok, so it’s not really a personal vendetta; it’s just that they want me to take my readings and I refuse.  There’s something about intentionally causing harm to myself by way of a needle that disturbs me.  I suppose we can add this to my list of fears as well.  My husband works in the daytime so there’s no one that can assist me with this task.  However, in my defense (because of course I have one), I was informed that regardless of how closely I follow the diet or monitor my readings, it will not be enough to prevent diabetes.  Also, each trimester, I will be required to get my A1C checked and take a glucose test.   Therefore, again I ask, “WHY am I checking my readings?

Due to needing a PCOS specialist, my gynecologist was also a fertility specialist.  The benefit of seeing a fertility specialist while in your first trimester was that we got weekly sonograms of our baby.  What does a baby look like at 1wk old?  NOTHING, at 1wk your baby looks like a white glob of cells.  Our first photo of our little one consisted of the yolk sac and a small white mass about the size of a grain of rice.  That grain of rice, was our baby!  As the weeks progressed, that mass grew just a little bigger. At 8wks, we had a grape, with a heartbeat!  Suddenly, things got REAL.  This was the first time my husband and I fully grasped the concept of what was going to happen in 7months.  We looked at that sonogram like we’d never seen one before.  I beamed at my husband and said, “hunny, we’re having a baby!”

“NEW reality”

I started this website to serve as a place where I can share my journey of overcoming my fears. However, the more life I experience the more difficult it is to find the faith within my fears.  What do you do when you discover that your fear might just be bigger than your faith?

I spent last Saturday bent over a pew at church, with tears in my eyes, pouring my heart out to God. “Lord I trust You, I want to believe that I trust You unconditionally.  I don’t know why You’ve chosen to trust me with this gift now, I don’t feel ready.  Lord, I’m a planner, You made me a planner and You know how much of a tailspin it is when a planner is thrust into a journey that they had no control in planning.  I should be grateful, I’m told I should be grateful, but I’m more scared than grateful.  I’m coming to You in prayer because I don’t want to be afraid anymore, I don’t want to pass this crippling disease (fear) on to my child. HELP ME UNDERSTAND YOUR PLAN, HELP ME OVERCOME MYSELF?” But how much of this prayer did I truly believe?

It’s no secret to my closest companions that my husband and I vowed abstinence before marriage.  Were our 6yrs flawless, I can’t say that they were, but both of us are very proud of how we overcame our impulses to form a stronger bond.  The first year of our courtship, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), a condition that was triggered by extreme stress.  Women with PCOS often experience complications conceiving.  Prior to my diagnosis, I hadn’t focused on children, but for the rest of that year, the idea of children flooded my mind. I even got a small pet to try and curve my (sudden) maternal desire.  Once I came to grips with reality, I convinced myself that a life without children of my own would not become my regret but rather my choice.  I decided to chose not to have children as opposed to being told they were out of my reach.  Besides, my (then) boyfriend’s two children were more than enough to keep me fulfilled.

As time went on I settled deeper and deeper into my new “reality” until I was convinced the choice was my own.  We married on September 3rd, 2016; due to a family emergency our one month anniversary was spent with me rushing through the airport to board a plane to Alabama for two months. I was completely conflicted, I missed my husband terribly before the wheels of the plane started rolling on the runway, but my mother needed care after surgery.  I returned to my husband just before his December 3rd birthday and we reconnected like the newlyweds we were.

Unfortunately, I kept getting sick following my return. The doctors offered no diagnosis, they simply treated the symptoms.  It was assumed I had the flu, but the test was negative.  It was assumed I had strep throat, but that test also came up negative.  I was feverish with no virus or infection and I had cold symptoms that never died.  The illness lasted, consecutively for two weeks, I had one week of rest, then I was sick again every other week until just before Valentine’s Day.

Finally, I decided to listen to my husband and scheduled a complete physical for February 14th and all my labs were normal.  I was informed that my mysterious illness was contributed to the fact that my husband and I hadn’t “known” each other before marriage.  My immune system was breaking down and rebuilding itself stronger until it was used to my husband.  Who knew there were side effects to abstinence?  I sure didn’t! There was one final lab test that the doctor wanted me to perform once my cycle began.  He said if it didn’t arrive by Feb. 23rd, I should stop by the office for hormone pills on Feb. 24th. This routine of taking hormone pills to start my cycle was a common occurrence for me for the last 5yrs so I knew the drill.  Even so, this time would prove to be very different from the rest.

On Feb. 24th, 2017 I went to my doctor to pickup a prescription ALONE but I left with something else, or rather SOMEONE ELSE…I was pregnant. I didn’t believe it! This was one surprise that had me in shock for weeks.  Doesn’t God know our bank account balances?  I’m not working.  My husband is concerned about our household finances and we were planning goals for our future.  How could He place a baby in my womb when our lives are in such transition?  How did conception bypass birth control pills AND PCOS?  What manner of witchcraft was this? As horrible as this may sound, I fully expected to experience a sudden miscarriage; I expected God to be like, “whoops! That wasn’t meant for you. My bad!” After all, I was completely settled on the concept of not having children of my own and I was happy….right?!

 

 

“When I get that feeling….”

WELCOME BACK!!!  I really appreciate that you still find my posts to be appealing, please continue to spread the word and provide your feedback.  This post will be a very personal post, I hope this helps others.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’m a newlywed! My husband and I married in September, we honeymooned for 3days, and then I left for 2mos due to a family emergency.  I returned home in December and ever since I’ve been getting sick with bad colds every 2wks.  The doctors have found no traces of a fever, infection or virus.  My body isn’t really responding to prescribed meds and not even allergy medicine provides relief.  It wasn’t until today that I received some insight into what’s going on.  To put it simply, I need more sex!

Yes, that’s correct, more sex is the remedy to prevent me from getting sick.  If you’ve started to think of the lyrics to that ever so popular Marvin Gaye song “Sexual Healing”, you’re not alone.  I chuckled at the thought but this is a real problem that women have, with changing times it doesn’t happen much anymore so many aren’t exposed to this process.  When a woman “receives” a man, her immune system recognizes him as “foreign”. A woman’s body is not as accepting and therefore begins to defend itself. In my case, my body thinks I have a cold and so it gives me a cold in order to increase my immunity.  The only way to develop an immunity is to increase exposure.  It’s actually a normal process for a woman to feel constantly ill during her first year of marriage, unless she conceives within the first year, until she gets used to her spouse.

In the 6yrs that my (now) Husband and I were dating we pledged abstinence so it makes complete sense as to why I keep getting sick.  It’s not often that couples wait to consummate their union so of course many women didn’t/don’t/won’t have this experience.  Right now, I envy them all. I despise being sick.  I spent 6yrs focused on following God the best way I knew how, trying to do things in the correct manner, only to now discover that the bonding process is affecting my health.