October 9 2017

Karma: Finding The Path To Grace

karmaAs a non believer, I was a firm believer in karma. Karma was very similar to the law of three fold in the Wiccan beliefs that I firmly believed in. Karma says, you get what you deserve, and the law of three fold says, you get what you deserve back three times. Either way, I held in my heart the knowledge that the universe was holding each of us accountable to our behavior, and those that did wrong would pay a high price for it.

With those thoughts in mind, I surely had no intention to do wrong. As a matter of fact, I hated evil. Evil was against everything in my nature. It made no difference that I had a love affair with vampires and witchcraft. Those were not things that were evil; they were things that were deeply misunderstood, just as I was. So with all of my being, I set out to be the best person I could be. To never harm anyone intentionally and to do what I could to always grow and be better. I was convinced the world was full of enough evil, and so I needed to combat that by doing good.

It is very easy to see natural consequences of ones actions and call it karma. Karma, however, according to traditional Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, is not as simple as that. Karma is actually based more on the belief that whatever we do in this life determines what we will return as in during the next life. The meaning of karma has been adapted to fit a wider audience of this world. That is because karma in itself is a twisted ideology based on a world run and ruled by many gods and goddesses. These deities have no real concern for humans, or this world, except to keep them living up to their expected standards of behaviors and worship.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

The devil would love us to keep in line with this way of living. If we are ever striving to be better and do better, then we are focused completely on ourselves, our behavior, and the actions of others around us. There is no need for grace or mercy, and we give over judgement to this failed universal law of karma. If karma is going to ultimately judge others, then we have no need to worry about anyone but ourselves. What we don’t realize is that while our actions do have importance in this life, there are far more important values than being “good” or “bad”.

Consequences in life are a natural occurrence. It’s the basic law of cause and effect. However, the Bible teaches us about God’s grace. God’s grace is a miracle of His loving kindness. Whether you believe in the God of the Bible or not, you can be sure that you will meet Him on the Day of Judgement and be held accountable for your actions. The difference between karma and grace is, karma leads us to live a life based on works, and grace leads us to a life of submission and humility.

We serve a holy God; a God that is so good and righteous that He is unable to sin or do evil. Yet even though we are created in His image, we have chosen sin over God, over and over again. We have to be held accountable to these sins, for sure. However, the goodness and righteousness of God far surpasses our human understanding. While we would render judgement on the first act of evil we saw, God instead gave us mercy. His mercy and compassion was so great, it lead Him from His place in heaven on the throne, to the womb of a mortal woman.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7

We have all fallen short of the glory of God. We have all turned our backs on Him and decided it was better to make our own way. As much as that grieved our Father in Heaven, He was unwilling to do the same for us. God made a way to connect with us when there was none. Through Jesus Christ we are able to have a sustainable and real relationship, coming into the most holiest of places: the throne room of God.

Why should a people who have hated God, perpetrated evil and terrible crimes against others, even to the point of taking lives, be given any grace whatsoever? If it was up to the universe and karma, we would all be on our way to hell with no chance of redemption. Thank God that is not the way love works. Our Father is a God of love. It was through love He created the universe and all that lay in it, and it was in love He breathed life into man. It was with love He has guided each of us our entire lives, and it is with love Jesus died as that redemption for our sins we never deserved. I cannot think of any thing so great as the love of God that held me and accepted me just as I was.

We are not here in this life to be good. We are not here on this earth to try the best we can. We are here for one purpose; love. Love brought us to life and gave us a chance to know our Creator in deeper and more intimate ways. Try as we might to do good or be good, we are always going to fail somewhere. Thankfully our Father is going to be right there, every step of the way, to pick us up and and help heal our wounds. He is a good, good Father.

As we each come into the understanding of the truth of who God is, I pray that He opens our hearts to fully receive His love. So many of us are so broken and ashamed, feeling too unworthy to even accept the love of God. Our Father is waiting for you right now, waiting to wash you from all of your sin and shame, wanting nothing more than to welcome into His arms for all eternity. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done in this life, it only matters that you say ‘yes’.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

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September 4 2017

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! I hope you have had an amazing summer! I am so thankful for the wonderful break from ministry and all God has done in me. I will happily resume my regularly scheduled posting next Monday! I love you all

 

October 17 2014

Pain, My Friend

I remember as a child I felt so unloved. The loneliness was so unbearable. My parents worked long hours and then came home and spent most of the time in their bedroom. I woke myself up, got myself ready and off to school while they were at work. I came home and did my chores and my homework while they were still at work. The loneliness was haunting. I was sure no one loved me. Not even my parents. When they were around they were angry and disappointed with me constantly. I always felt like a failure. I know my parents never meant to make me feel this way. As a matter of fact, I’m sure they had no idea.

lost

I once heard a story of a little boy who was waiting at the bus stop for school one morning. He was so sad that no one loved him and he just dropped dead right there at the bus stop. I just knew that story was true, and that it told of my own fate. That maybe my heart would stop beating or my soul would just disappear, without love. I hate to say that it only got worse from there. As I grew into my teen years I often thought of dying. Of taking my own life. I became obsessed with death even. I began to write poetry about death and despair.

Pain, pain

my friend, my dear

hold me tightly, draw me near

wrap me in your rough, sweet arms

That is one of the first poems I can remember writing at about age 13. It wasn’t long before I began cutting myself. In my mind it was an attempt to take my life. I would pry the blades from the razors that I found in the bathroom. Then I would hide in my room and get up enough courage to start cutting as deep as I could bear into my wrists. I so wanted to die. I realized that it was going to take much more than that to actually complete the act. But the pain became my friend. Comforting. Because the pain of those cuts would dull out the deep emotional pain I felt. At least for a little bit. And I would crumple onto the ground in tears and despair until I could pull myself together enough to bandage my fresh wounds.

There was always a secret part of me that wished someone would see these cuts and care. Just care, that’s all. It was my cry for help, but I was too afraid to voice it to anyone. Because I knew I was beyond repair.

As I sit back now and read this, I am saddened. I feel so far removed from this girl who was so alone. You see, my life no longer resembles that picture of despair and hopelessness that I once had. I did live most of my life wandering in that darkness. But I don’t any longer, now that I have found the other side of darkness.

 

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October 17 2014

Desperate Love

Cutting Glass 04I was so desperate for love as a child. I felt so rejected and alone, so lost. That feeling continued into my teenage years where I met my first boyfriend. I was 14 years old when I met him. I was so nervous, but so excited. He thought I was special, and cute. As a matter of fact he loved me. It was amazing, yet so scary. I had been so long since I had been complimented, been appreciated, felt love.

He asked me to do things that were uncomfortable for me. I was so shy and timid. My first kiss for starters. I was so not ready for that. Then he wanted to come over after school while my parents were at work. But when he did we would just lay on my bed and he would hold me. Oh how amazing that was! I had longed for something like that for so long! I just knew that was what love felt like. Real love.

We spent as much time as we could together. I was completely enamored. As always in a world that is surrounded by darkness and despair, that was to end too. That came early the next year, on Valentine’s Day as a matter of fact. I’m sure I was excited at the thought of my first Valentine’s Day with an actual boyfriend and someone to be romantic with. I honestly can’t remember now, because only one thing stands out in my mind from that day. The one of the gifts he gave me was a condom. I was a virgin, and sex was not on my mind. It was not something I wanted to do, or was ready for at all. Apparently the gift was a sign of what was to come.

He has decided we were going to have sex. That was that. He was going to come over early one morning because we had a vacation day from school and my parents would be at work. Then we were going to do the deed. He informed me he was tired of being a virgin at the ripe old age of 15. I protested much, but in the end I told myself I would do it because I loved him.

The day came and he was at my door bright and early that morning. I felt sick. I did not want to do it. I told him as much. He was adamant that it was going to happen. He chased me around the our tiny duplex trying to get my clothes off. Finally I submitted. I did it because I loved him. That is what I had to tell myself to get through it. Because that is what love does.

I did not enjoy it, not one little bit. His feeling was not mutual. He wanted to have sex all the time after that. I did not. I argued and told him no, time and time again. Relentless as he was, I could not keep up the fight. After all, I did not want to lose my only love. So again and again I gave in. I went numb inside, cold. My depression and despair grew deeper. But it was not rape and that was never a thought in my mind. I was desperate for love.

The relationship lasted about a year. So it was later in that year that I finally broke up with him. And in that freedom I realized that all those times I laid there and let him have sex with me, it was wrong. It was rape. The realization came rolling over me like a tsunami, but one that comes in slow motion. It crashed over me with a destructive force. How could I have been so stupid to think that was love? I was disgusted with him, and ashamed of myself.

I didn’t give up on love though. I was a drowning girl looking for a life vest in any form I could find. Anything that would save me; anyone that would love me.

It is hard to sit and write this now, 24 years later. I stuffed that memory down for so many years. It came up during various points in my life and I tried to deal with it, to forgive and come to terms with it. It has caused me many problems in my relationships over the years. Trust. That has been a big one.

I can’t say I am 100% over my trust issues, but I am moving into a new and wonderful place with trust. I have had an amazing healing power that has begun to restore me recently. A power so strong, to think about it is causing me to weep. Tears of joy and of thanksgiving. Yes, that is the beauty of walking out of the darkness, and into the light.

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October 21 2014

Broken Hearted

broken heart

After the relationship ended with my first boyfriend at about age 15, my life seemed to start to really spiral out of control. I became obsessed with regaining that first feeling of love and companionship that I felt. It was so wonderful to be loved and I just hurt so much. I was almost willing to do anything to have it again. I remained friends with that boy for quite a while. I did still care for him deeply, but somewhere inside me an anger raged against him. It was something I had no idea how to deal with. Besides, he helped keep some of the loneliness away.

My depression deepened and  I couldn’t stop cutting myself to try to relieve the pain. I threw myself into writing love stories and poems about death and despair. My stories were a fantasy world I could create where I could escape my life, even if the main characters didn’t fare so well. I also spent many hours listening to music. Rock music was a huge part of my world, and there was no shortage of songs that were full of bitterness, rage and despair.

At school I was on the hunt. I had to find a new boyfriend. I had to have that special someone who would fill this terrible void inside of me. I would get my eye on a boy and then obsess over him. I would stalk him, finding out what classes he had so I could try to run into him. Yet I was so afraid to talk to him, that I would just look away shyly every time I saw him. I would write about him in my dairy and think about how amazing it would be to be with him. And this would be a boy I had never even talked to before.

A couple of these obsessions turned into boyfriends. Very innocent compared to my first relationship. We would sit together and talk and listen to music and tell each other we loved each other. No pressure to have sex, which was a welcome change for me. The only problem was I didn’t feel love for them. I felt anxiety and fear that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t skinny enough. Did he really even like me? These relationships lasted a month or two at best, then I would just sink further into depression and despair.

I never liked myself back then. I didn’t like myself for a long time. I didn’t feel worthy to be loved and I felt ugly, fat and plain. I can look in the mirror now and smile. I am so happy with myself. I feel beautiful and special and so well-loved. It is amazing that I have come such a long way from that sad girl. It is such a precious gift to me, and I hope that you too have that feeling.

 

 

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