"God, can you hear me?"

"Are you even there??? I need you! God, can you hear me?!"

Bitter tears washed down my cheeks in great swaths, much the way a flash flood races across the dry desert floor. I stared through my window at the stars, trying to see past them to where God was, heaving sobs racking my body. I gasped for breath and curled into a tight ball. It was no use. I couldn't see past the stars. I couldn't hear God's voice at all, and thick darkness choked me as I groped for any shred of comfort. Then, I remembered--my treasure chest, containing the "feast" I had set aside for just a time such as this. Stumbling across the room, I retrieved a lone cd from the bottom of the chest and slipped it into the cd player. The cd only had one song on it, so I pressed the "repeat" button and listen to the melody rise and fall, over and over and over again. Gradually, as I listened, my tense muscles relaxed, and I drifted off into sleep, remembering that God had given me this "hug" many moons before, for just a night as this. God heard me. I could sleep again.

Why this gross darkness? C's mom came to visit. She is a sweet woman, from all appearances, but the family, who knows her better than I, assured me that it was a facade, a pretense. She lives in a fantasy world of denial, and selfishly manipulates others to maintain her own happiness. (They didn't say this in those exact words, of course... but they told me stories.) And it's not just that, it's that she refuses to acknowledge it, to own her part in the dysfunction of her family. Rather, she casts the blame on others, seeking to free herself from responsibility. 

She was sweet to me, but as I watched and listened, I saw some signs of what the family talked about. And, as they described her manipulative ways with sorrow and displeasure, I realized... that's me. I do the exact same things. I am manipulative. There. I said it. And here the family is expressing their dislike of these characteristics, not realizing that they have a serpent in their midst. Just, just, just before this (as in a day or two), I realized that I manipulate guys to make myself feel better, to have some sort of power, as an ego prop of sorts. This hit me hard, because I've operated this way my whole life. I can remember thinking this way before I even hit double digits. If I could just make a guy look my way, then I had succeeded. If I got a wolf whistle, why, even better. The goal was to see how attractive I could be, how many looks, stares, and approaches I could get. Fortunately, I also possess(ed) a natural sense of modesty, otherwise I could have turned into quite the hoochie-mama. And now, in my adult years... I like(d) to have guys like me. And, subtly but surely, I would do certain things, act certain ways, say certain things to push and pull them in just the right way so that they would "fall for my charms" while allowing me to play the part of the innocent bystander. "Oh, I can't believe so-and-so likes me. How terrible! How in the world can I thwart this?" (In my mind: "Good. I'm glad. How can I keep him like this?) Something about knowing that I could "have" that guy gave me the power...

So now, I am learning how to relate to guys from the ground up. "This is my brother in Christ. How can I honor him and his future wife? (Who is not me!!)" (And I got a chance to practice this that very weekend! How fortuitous ^_^)

Today, J and I talked about a great deal. I realized some things...
  • I'm a recovering addict, but it's not substances I abused.
  • I'm a manipulator, not just in romantic relationships, but in all relationships. Canvassing did not help.
So, unbelievably... C was my drug. He was the "next thing" that I could always escape to. When we moved in together, suddenly my escape was my reality. How do you escape from your escape? Simple--go visit the family you escaped from! And then, I escaped to SOULS... which I escaped from by going back to C whenever possible. What kind of craziness is this?! Talk about being out of control. 

God, grant me the serenity to... live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will...

And I have made the conscious decision not to be a manipulator anymore. I want to be straight-up and forthright in my relationships. I want to honor God with all aspects of my life.

A beautiful and amazing realization came to me, which is that my life changed this week. I will never be the same again. Talk about mileposts, this is a big one!

In addition, I saw 2 things today, one of which I haven't seen for a long time, and the other I can't really recall seeing before.
1.) Progress. Praise be. Seeing God at work is incredible. It is this that leads to...
2.) Hope. I see it, and it's beautiful. God did not ordain this period of "chrysalis" for my destruction, to strike me down. No! He meant it for my good, to build me up, to strengthen and nourish me! I do feel like a gemstone in the rough, except that now, I see one shining facet--healthy relationships. (Actually, I'm beginning to tear up. Healthy relationships is something I've wanted for a very, very, very long time, and to be able to hold this hope to my heart and feel it's warmth, well... it's almost overwhelming. To love and be loved in a wholesome fashion is a coveted experience, and I am one step closer.)

Oh, so much, so much. All I can say is, "Praise God. I am so very tired now." Hah. Emotions will do that to you.

Coming soon to a person near you: Searching and Fearless  Moral Inventory. *gulp*
Although I'm glad to have an excuse to spend a day out on the Selway, I am leery of further revelations of my "sterling character". Heh.

My bread is finally done. Time for sleep. Glory glory hallelujah!

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