The Greatest Relationship I’ve Ever Had

IN THE BEGINNING

My story starts off with a little girl that loved her family more than anything and loved God with all her heart. And feared Him.

That’s what you were supposed to do right? Fear him. It’s written over and over, but then it says fear not. Soooo...which is it? Well, had there been google in those days, maybe I could’ve quickly looked up all meanings of the word and translations and circumstance, but alas there wasn’t. And all I knew was to be scared of this God who was like Santa Claus because he knew everything you said, did, and thought, but He loved me, but He could send me to hell if I didn’t obey, but He loved me. No wonder I was confused.

Despite the confusion I loved God. I loved Him above all else. I wrote to Him, (when I could write) I spoke to Him everyday. But the one thing I could never understand was why my Father was so loving and so kind but so willing to throw away so many people. It didn’t make sense. There had to be a better explanation because I was a little girl and I already thought I was doomed. What about the others? The tall ones. Were they just perfect?

RELIGION

No wonder I had anxiety. I started living what I call my dual life early on. To all tall ones, I was a perfect little girl, ready to please and do as I was told, but to my imaginary friends and a couple of close real ones...I had a devious side. I thought bad things, I used swear words when the tall ones couldn’t hear, I manipulated, and sometimes I was even mean. I suppose the part I tried to hide the most was the sexual dreams and thoughts that I constantly had. I knew they were wrong, but they were there, starting at a very early age. As I approached my 1st Communion, I remember feeling sick inside. Anxiety ridden, hands sweating. It was the first time I was going to have to face all the bad I had done and a human would have to hear it. They would know that I was so bad that God would not be able to forgive and they wouldn’t see me on the other side. How disappointed would they be? Could I get away with only telling a little? I mean God already knows what I did, must I tell a human too?? I finally decided on the easy way out. I told the priest I used swear words...nothing else. So I did the absolution prayer and Hail Mary’s and probably supposed to do another, but I couldn’t remember the prayer, lit a candle, and got to eat my wafer. Victory. I consumed Jesus and could be free! Except I never felt better. Years later, as I grew close to my Confirmation, I knew something just wasn’t right. I started realizing I didn’t agree or understand all of the church’s rules, only some, and then finally I made the decision. I was a non-practicing Catholic. As though it were a bloodline rather than a denomination of faith. I believed in God and I believed in Jesus, but I was loose in what that meant just hopeful that He still loved me. I was hurt by the church, whether the church meant to or not. My family did the best they could with what they had, but my journey had to take many turns to finally get where it is today.

FREEDOM?

As I became more free in my distance from religion, I became more “worldly” as they say. I grabbed hold of my sexuality and made it a high priority. I tricked myself into believing I was learning so when I was ready for “the one” I’d be able to keep him happy. What?! I set myself up for failed relationships because I refused to date, but then had sexual relationships with “friends” that looked a lot like relationships without the benefit of the relationship, and then said that was the benefit. I thought love was attachment. I believed in fairy tale love. Then, I set myself up to be a saver. Ugh, I roll my eyes now at my self righteousness. I was so “good and pure”, except only sort of pure, pure enough to be sort of innocent, but dirty enough to be fun for a man. Yes. This is what my insane head thought. I don’t like admitting it. I’m not proud of that person but the reality is, MANY women are like this. It’s not like I slept with a lot of men either. I actually didn’t, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t the quantity it was the mindset. I finally met a guy who filled all of my desires. He thought I was beautiful, smart, and fun! Wha?! Oh, but then I found out he was married. Eek! Turns out he was going through a divorce and after he moved out of their house, what was supposed to be a one night stand that I could check off my sexual bucket list, actually began our 15 year relationship. Almost overnight.

UNFINISHED

So ladies, there’s a reason they say not to be with men in the middle of a divorce, and it’s not because all people want to ruin your perfect, likely hidden relationship, but it’s because it’s not finished. ESPECIALLY if he has kids. And that was the case with mine. Maybe he was destined to be with me, maybe not, but I do know now that I should’ve waited until it was all done and reassessed. The insane drama that started in the beginning of that relationship would be the foundation of it. Let me tell you, that’s not the way to start. An ex wife that hated me, with or without good reason. (Look, I stepped in before they were completely finished. I can see her being peeved.) Then 2 kids that hated me, one of which tried really hard not to. Ultimately, she was put in a position to feel she had to choose and to be honest it was unfair. On all of them, myself, and my partner. It wasn’t an evil plot on my part. I really wanted to make him happy and really thought that by doing so I’d be happy. I really wanted to be a good role model to the kids, I really wanted to be friends with his ex. But I was also being really selfish and really caught up in moments based on lies. Lies because we had no real basis for what a sustainable relationship would look like without drama and divorce as the main topic or driving force for everything. My life eventually turned into something I didn’t recognize. I fell into a very deep depression that I fought for a very long time. I was fortunate enough to turn things off in my mind so I didn’t actually think of the problems but sadly they were there. I was so afraid of not having him in my life, losing all the life around me, and having to admit we were wrong that I forced myself to not face our relationship woes and continue pretending we were the best couple ever. And we were if you didn’t look too close. Honestly, we both had some brokenness and two broken people doesn’t make a whole one. I wanted that...but I wasn’t sure that it was achievable. Fast forward to the big change. Fast forward to where God was in all of this. Well, quite simply, He was always there. He just kindly waited for me to say “okay” before He jumped in because I like to control everything and wanted to do it myself. I moved back to LA alone, but still married. Questioning everyday what I was supposed to do. Something felt very off, but I committed to this marriage and we had to be able to work through it. Right? Not to mention God doesn’t like divorce, so what will that do to my eternity? But…I was as usual, keeping work as my priority and I wasn’t going to let a man stop me from having the life I believed I was supposed to have.

HE’S CALLING

At some point, I started getting a nagging sensation that I wanted to go back to church. I knew I didn’t feel compelled to go back to Catholic, but I really felt terrified going somewhere else. Didn’t they have a different bible than me and is that the kind of church talked about in revelation and are they really churches or some kind of cult? I mean, They are really happy and singing and loud and dancing.  I don’t understand this. (Catholics tend to pray quietly and are very reserved)

Around the time my curiosity was peaked, I happened to decide on getting a roommate. A really good friend of mine from NYC happened to be friends with this sweet girl from Florida who was moving to LA. Well, I’ll be. The girl and I Skyped and have been roommates since. Turns out this girl was a BIG Christian. I mean, went to church every Sunday and even dressed up. She invited me every week like clockwork, but I was hesitant. In a way, I was afraid if it was good I might burn when I walk in because my dual side was so bad, but the other side of me felt I should at least check it out. I then decided to ignore that thing in me until it became a nagging presence telling me to go. One day…I just went. I prayed on the way there that if God wanted me to be there to give me a sign. I got there and I stood quietly, with tears in my eyes, but a wall around my soul. I was scared and lost, annoyed yet grateful. Sure enough, the sign came. I wish I could remember exactly what it was now, but it was so obvious to me then. Yet even with my answer, I was unsure of the church as they sang and had fun. There were no rituals and I couldn’t understand it. The following week I decided to go back. The night before, I woke up in the middle of the night remembering in Revelation the churches that Jesus would be mad at. I panicked. I prayed again, “please be like über LOUD and make sure you let me know if you want me there.” Sure enough, the sign came again. I remember being so grateful because I couldn’t just chalk it up to coincidence again. It was too obvious. So I kept going.

CHURCH LIFE

I couldn’t quite get down with having to make friends at church so I got there right as they finished up the last song, listened to the message, and darted out right after.  The crazy part is every message felt like God was personally picking me out to talk to me. So I kept going. The deal I made with myself is: I’d keep going as long as I felt like I was benefitting. Once I didn’t I would move on.

I remember being so confused because I was learning so much but my friends weren’t as into it or not believers at all. I had very few to talk about it to. One day, I got a call from a dear friend in NY. I hadn’t spoken to him in ages, and I always loved catching up with him because we could talk about anything. All of a sudden I felt ashamed though. Embarrassed. And I remembered how much of an atheist he was. He was always gentle with me when it came to any philosophy that we spoke about, but I was terrified of his questioning as I was a baby in my reconnection. I knew I didn’t have all the answers and that I just needed to say that, and then hope for the best. Well, I told him and guess what? He had started going to church again too. What?! First, again???? So it turns out my friend wasn’t always atheist. He actually was a true lover and disciple of Christ, until a tragedy struck, and the anger led him to disbelief. Hearing he not only used to believe but was back in the game, made my day. We got to talk about God all night. Made each other think. Challenged each other to read scripture. Not only that, but I felt like I wasn’t alone.

REBORN

Finally July 12th, 2015 I got rebaptized. Born again as they say. I barely even understood the commitment I was making, but because the Lord was working on me, He knew every little step I would take in order to get back to Him. I thought maybe I’d feel dramatically different. I didn’t. In fact I may have been more confused because there was something else going on in my heart and I was in turmoil. I felt it wasn’t right to be married anymore. It had been heavy on my heart. I’d sit nights alone visualizing my future and it was either always me disappointing my husband because I wouldn’t move back to Jersey, or me being alone for the rest of my life while we remained married but lived apart, or him moving to LA and blaming me for his unhappiness. Moving back to Jersey was out. Every time I’d try to be ok with it, I’d remember the hate and the drama and the stress that I no longer had to face daily, and knew I couldn’t go back to it. But all the alternatives seemed awful. I would cry for hours realizing the predicament because I made a commitment to God when I got married. Would He be mad at me? Was I sealing a place in hell? It ate me up and sometimes all I wanted to do was die. At least I would know my fate. After careful thought, I realized I had to just hope God would forgive me and I asked for a divorce. My ex wanted to work on it so we gave it a year. During that year I grew stronger in my faith and started getting a glimpse of what a relationship with God looked like. Though I wasn’t quite there yet. Once the year ended, I had made my peace with God. I realized He made me to live in this life that was precious and numbered. He wouldn’t want me to be so sad and conflicted. And He wouldn’t want me to prevent the happiness of another either. When I finally gained the strength that God was going to love me and not abandon me and needed me to be authentic, which I couldn’t do in this relationship, I asked for a divorce again. This is where the road got dark, but had light that I could find.

SOLITARY

The year of my divorce, I felt so alone and isolated. Not that my friends weren’t there, but I refused to let them see me hurt. In fact I think sometimes I forgot to let myself be hurt. I was in survival mode. But that time also forced me to seek Him more. I was alone and I needed the pain to stop. The downside is I let alcohol and sex win more than I did God. I didn’t stop seeking Him, but I slid down a slippery slope. In the midst of all of this, I moved to a new church. This one felt a little deeper, a little richer. At first I was scared I would be told I couldn’t be a human anymore and I’d have to give up all fun in my life. But they didn’t. They kept preaching love and just doing a killer job of explaining the Bible. I was still hurting and pretty much cried every service. I prayed that God would heal my heart. I prayed I wouldn’t have to be scared about money anymore. I prayed, I cried, I prayed, I cried. It’s like I was sort of understanding what I needed to do, but just not quite getting it. Something was still missing, but I was so hungry to learn, I just kept going with the faith that I’d learn.

A NEW BEGINNING

My divorce finalized and a week later I met the person God sent to slap me into His reality. Ironically, he wasn’t a believer. The first day I spoke to this man, never meeting him in person, I was weirdly comfortable with him and we spoke for over an hour. A few days later we went to a theme park. My guard was up as he pried into my personal life, but I couldn’t help but speak with him. We spent almost every day together for 2 months. Every day he would speak to me as though he was teaching me. At first I would get annoyed, wondering who he thought he was telling me what I should and shouldn’t do...but I couldn’t stop listening. I strangely knew this would only be there for a moment and I needed to soak up every little thing I could. I’ll never forget, he said “You have no idea how much more powerful you could be.” I didn’t think I was powerful then and certainly couldn’t picture being more powerful if I was healthy. I didn’t get it. But I wanted to. Some things I understood, some I didn’t, but he was the only person who made me stop in my tracks. I wanted to take the armor off. It was as though I’d been waiting for someone to ask. He brought me back to a place of gratefulness. He humbled me. He helped me love humans again. He even tried to teach me about love without it being sexual. That was the part I couldn’t comprehend. I thought real love was shown or sealed in sex. How do you differentiate friend love from intimate love if you don’t have sex? I wanted to understand, but there was more work that needed to be done. I needed to do even more. My life would only really begin to change when I started taking care of myself. I had stopped eating except for a tiny bit here and there. I drank every single night unless I was recovering, and I smoked like a chimney. The problem was, I was and am really obstinate and I won’t do things just because you told me to. Therefore the close friendship had to become distant. The next steps I had to take alone. I was so sad. I took it as a personal rejection even though it was clear it was what was good for me and him. My mind was so weak that I couldn’t see past the feeling of not being enough (in my own thoughts never said nor expressed by him). I didn’t understand why and I threw a pity party for myself for a month. Then in March of 2017 I wrote my wishes https://www.melissaarcher.com/mini-blog/2017/11/15/growing-learning-loving. This is important to reference later.

UNKNOWN WATERS

At church, they’d call anyone up who wanted to be prayed over. I’d go every time. Tears streaming, yet completely unsure how to receive. I remember one service, our pastor suggested we pray to let God use us as a vessel. The thought seemed terrifying. That would mean commitment on my part. That would mean I couldn’t do what I wanted. That would mean, well I didn’t know what it would mean, but it seemed like it meant a lot of sacrifice. I wasn’t sure I was the right gal for the job. So I stayed silent. I’d pray that God would guide me. I’d pray He’d show me what He wanted me to do, but couldn’t quite go all the way. Shortly after, In May of 2017 I had my last bout of careless drinking. God used a friend who I trusted dearly to tell me they were worried about me. Maybe I had a problem. I couldn’t tell her I didn’t.  A week later, I sat on my patio full of wine inside, but pure of heart and I cried out to God. I begged Him to help me. I begged Him to make this pain stop. I offered myself right then and there. I begged Him to use me as His vessel. I said I’d do anything He wanted me to do if He took all of it. I knew that meant I really had to give Him everything. All of my cares, worries, pain, career, pride, love. Everything. But I didn’t care anymore. I knew I could trust Him even if I had a hard time conceptualizing it. I took all of my alcohol and stuck it in the door of my neighbor & I never looked back. That’s when my journey with God came with rapid speed. Through wonderful new friends I started to learn what a personal relationship with God looked like. I spent the next several months learning how to die to self. I had to take all of the constant, horribly negative chatter out of my head and replace it with love. I had to learn how to be there for people in ways I had stopped doing for a long time. I had to be responsible. I had to own feelings. I had to admit pain and not hide from it. I had to face anger and not stuff it. I started caring more about myself and worrying less of what people thought. I had to face all of my pain of my previous relationship that I had carefully hidden deep down for over a decade. I had to forgive him and forgive myself. I had to pull away from everything I knew so that I learned to rely on Him. I started to take myself less seriously. I had to humble myself. I stopped seeking sexual relationships and just stayed on a path of getting right in my head. Healing.

DATING?

Then came along a really nice, funny and witty guy. He asked me out on a date and all I could think of was wow, finally, I’m ready to see what it looks like to go on dates and do this weird thing people call dating. So I did. Full intention of just having a simple sweet date that would lead to more dates if we got along. And I would take it really slow so I could really see if I liked him. But he kissed me that night. And he did it well. And I wasn’t used to my “new” me. And I gave in. Let’s remember that it’s easy to be “disciplined” when you avoid something. Not as easy when it’s right there. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, he was great. It’s just that it set up every other date to lead to sex and sometimes just that without a date. I completely recreated the exact thing I didn’t want to do, and I did it with someone I actually enjoyed spending time with. I was so confused. I knew it was probably the end, so I googled all things I didn’t understand about dating and found myself wishing I’d never even considered it. FYI, google is not your best source of dating advice. All of my insecurities were flooding to the surface and I didn’t know how to change gears without seeming like a weirdo. So I opted for my protection. I had the most amazing date with him, but it led to bed. I asked that we not. He asked why. I said because I like you. There was a horrible awkward pause. (Yeah, so, I practiced 1000x in the mirror what I’d say so it wouldn’t be awkward, but in the moment nothing came out that made sense. I wanted to find a cave and hide in it.)

Then a few days of fading out texts. I saw what happened as it all played out. It was horribly embarrassing. Not embarrassing because I wanted to slow down, but because it was done in such weird timing. This was all so new to me. It was new to date. It was new to like someone enough to want to date and It was really new to say what I wanted. I couldn’t stand the terrible communication that I created so I finally put my hands to keys and wrote him a letter. I gave a short and sweet apology for any awkwardness and thanked him for a fun experience. I honestly thought that would be it and I’d just have to wear a lot of makeup to cover the red on my face for awhile. Shockingly, he really was so kind and gracious. I actually was right about what I sensed with him. He called me the same day appreciating the letter and clearing up any confusion. We agreed to be friends and we still are.

That experience changed me. It made me completely re-evaluate my entire thought process on relationships, the dating process, what I wanted, where I’d been and where I wanted to go. It took some time and even me making one more bold move before I finally said I don’t want this. Not because I don’t want a partner in life. I want that more than I like to admit. But I didn’t want to have to play by society’s rules in order to get that. If the only way to get a man was to follow a set of weirdly changing rules and feel like I’m on some dating reality show, then I was out. (Not that it is that way, but it the internet made it seem so) I even made peace with the fact that maybe God just didn’t want me to have someone. Maybe my marriage really was the stopping point, and maybe I just needed to focus on other things if those lonely thoughts ever creeped in.

I FINALLY HAVE YOU TO MYSELF

Around the time that the revelation of wanting more in my life came, I heard about this conference. A prophet was coming into town. “A wha?! Is that like a psychic but they believe in Jesus?” I was completely intrigued, but highly skeptical. I grew up with hearing about David Koresh and evangelical preachers on TV all lying to suit their own needs. “A prophet can’t be real because all the ones I ever heard on the news were liars.” Yet, deep down I wanted to go. I was honestly just scared. If this guy wasn’t for real, would God be mad that I went? And what if he was real? What would that mean???? Would he see that I’m really this awful human in a desperate attempt to be a better one? The irony is I trusted psychics were real more than a prophet being real. Anyway, I put up my will the first day and I refused to go. “I don’t need to get all excited about anyone.” But then my roommate came home. She showed me the video. I saw the miracles. And I saw something real happen to someone we both know. I tried to play it off like it was nothing, but I couldn’t shake it. This guy definitely had my attention. I had to be strong though. I had to make sure not to be fooled. I didn’t want my desire for him to be real be what made him real. Something kept pressing at me to go the following day. So I did. I listened. Right when I got to the door, I prayed that God would show me if this prophet was real. I knew I’d be likely to just believe the prophet if he spoke over me, so I prayed that not only would he NOT speak over me, but that if he was real, he would speak over someone I knew so I could know they weren’t an audience plant and if it was real or not. He did exactly that. There was no denying. I was sobbing. Still cautious, but I couldn’t help but see. The prophet stayed in town for a few weeks and at the same time started the American branch of his church which was already established in Tanzania. I kept going and listening to the messages. I could feel in my gut that I was in the right place so I just kept going. One day the pastor of the new branch said to me “you are a leader.” I told him he must be joking. “I’m the last person you want as a leader at a church.” He disagreed. So then started my journey into leading at a new church. Whaa??? I spent the first several months studying like I’ve never studied. Learning the Word. Searching and searching for anything that would prove to me that what I was learning wasn’t real. That the Bible was just a man-made book and not alive. I couldn’t find it. In fact all I kept finding was proof that it was real. That it is alive. That God really shows up. That there is power in God and that the Holy Spirit speaks and I could “hear.” Oh and by the way, that Bible was written by prophets. Ohhhhh right! And as a sidebar, the significance in proving the prophet to be real is this...I need to know that the person teaching my teachers and in turn me is speaking truth. You can know the Bible and speak lies that fool many. It was extremely important to me to do my due diligence and test. Just as the Bible says to.

The ministry spoke to me because the gospel was not just taught but also there was action. James 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

The mission also held deep in my heart because the mission is to break religious and denominational bondage and to get back to what Jesus taught. This brought me back to that little girl wanting to know why God only had room for a few. It brings me joy to think I can help someone free themselves of self condemnation and see the love of Jesus. To really focus on His message and how that is achieved.

Nevertheless, my mind was constantly challenging and my gut screamed at me to keep going. The more I challenged, the more the Holy Spirit revealed. I stayed and listened and read and learned. I’m still learning, in fact. As this all was taking place God started revealing to me what He looks like when I’m focused on Him. I changed. I changed in ways I didn’t think were possible. My heart was slowly softening. Then God started showing me miracles and I started recognizing all the small ones that I might’ve missed otherwise. I mean, I always knew He was helping me out, but sometimes I really questioned it. I had an “idea” of what His help should look like and if it didn’t match I’d ignore, and if I gave Him credit it was with doubt. So I allowed myself to speak to Him as a child. Prayed for His help to understand and to see. I still pray for that almost daily. And He comes through.

MIRACLES

The first miracle that I really paid attention to was the raining and my car one. That was kind of a big deal. Now look, I’m not saying there’s not science. I’m sure there is, the point is that I didn’t know that, technically still don’t. So the story goes, I had to travel to San Diego and my convertible top was trying to fly off. Go figure. I decided to put the top down but after getting on the highway, I encountered the massive rain cloud looming over the 10 and then 5. So far no rain around so I worried not. But then as I entered the 5 I could see far ahead that it looked like the storm was pouring. I wasn’t sure what to do. I can’t drive on the highway with the top not secure, but I also can’t just let my car get soaked by the rain. So I started praying. I reminded God that I didn’t have a choice, so if He could help me out I’d be grateful. Boom. The rain starts 5 min later. First it was just tiny droplets and they were barely hitting my window. Nothing inside yet. I started praying harder. Declaring. Reminding God that he doesn’t need to water the highway so if He parted the clouds I’d be good and so would the ground. I started focusing on Jesus. Thanking Him for keeping me dry. And the rain came down harder. It finally was coming down so hard I could barely see in front of me, but all of a sudden I realized, I still wasn’t wet. Wha?! I carefully peeked over at my passenger side. Thinking I must be hallucinating. And be careful if you look it might start pouring. But it didn’t. In fact I rode for 20 min through that rainstorm and all I got was 5 drops in my car. Science or not, I trusted God and He took care of me. I thought about pulling over, hiding in a parking lot or under a bridge until the storm subsided, but something inside said just keep going. I cried tears of joy and couldn’t wait to call everyone! So that was miracle 1.

Miracle 2 was another insane one. I mentioned before that I was terrified with money. Well with good reason. I sadly allowed someone to manage my money for many years and then instead of growing and learning how to manage it myself when my income was less, I feared it and hid my head in the sand. It turns out when you do that, you eventually run out of money and you take it over anyway. There were more problems than I could’ve imagined. I had a lot to fix yet not much left in the account to fix it. So in my usual fashion, I found another source of income, but it wasn’t a lot and that savings dwindled to nothing. It was time to pay my rent. I’d looked in my account a week before and I didn’t have the full amount in there. I didn’t recall adding any more so I fully expected to open my account and not have enough. I was wrong. I had just enough plus $1.62. I screen shotted it and then after paying my rent screen shotted the $1.62 left. The point is, yes of course I had deposited a check that I forgot about, but the fact that a) I was given a surprise bonus on that check and b) that check ended up being the exact amount I needed to pay my rent. That folks, is God. I prayed He’d come through and He did. God uses people and it was ever so clear that day. Like He really wanted me to know it was Him.

There’s been many more, but my next favorite was my car key story. Again I was down south. South California that is. So I’d gone to lunch with a friend who drove. When we returned from eating I realized I couldn’t find my keys. I looked everywhere. But they were gone. I realized I remembered feeling them in my hoodie pocket earlier. And I realized I must’ve dropped them at the restaurant. No big deal. Just headed back over to the restaurant. I asked the front desk, no one had found them. I went to my seat. Nothing. I searched everywhere. Nothing. Now, now I was concerned. I have no clue where they are and I can’t get home to LA without my car key. So the hostess recommended I speak to valet. I did. They didn’t have them. I felt lost. The valet guy suggested I leave my number in case they turn up. I did, but honestly with little hope. I left the restaurant and then drove over to where we had parked earlier around the corner. I checked all along the curb. Nada. So I called my pastor. I knew God could make anything happen but I was feeling I needed a little help in my prayer. So he prayed that my keys would be returned to me. Told me to just believe and rest. Not to worry. I said ok, knowing that lack of worry was the hard part. I got back and busied myself with other things so as not to think of it. I’m not kidding, my phone rang, it was valet. He said my keys were found but they’d been run over and may or may not work. I thanked him and raced back over. I was so confused. They were in the parking lot? How did we not see them? I barely was even in the lot. When I arrived, I asked the valet to explain. He said these guys found them on the street. On the street???? Then he said, there’s one of them right there. So I approached the man and asked if he found my keys. He responded that his boyfriend found them and almost didn’t see them. He said they were crossing at the crosswalk nearby and the sun hit the chain just right so it caught his eye. Said the keys were pretty smashed into the ground. I said “how did you know to bring them here?” He said he didn’t, they happened to be going there for lunch and didn’t know what to do with the keys, so they asked valet to take them in case someone came looking.

Wow.

So I got back to my car. The key worked even mangled. I was able to go home.

To be quite honest, God has taken care of all my needs when I’ve handed Him my worries. I’ve been so blessed.  God provided me with a family that loves and supports me even when I’m undeserved. I know how much of a blessing that is and how rare. I treasure my family so much. And there are others who showed me grace in my hardest of moments. I will forever be grateful for them. I have some of the greatest friends I could ever ask for and a best friend that has been my rock through most trials.

Looking back at my hopes from the mini blog posted in March, I see that those hopes came true. And I didn’t even dream it would look the way it does.

BATTLE WITH SELF

I’m an actor. My public persona has made me self conscious over the years about, well, almost everything. It’s kind of a no-no to speak about faith. Don’t get me wrong, people do, but it’s supposed to be ambiguous. Everything is supposed to be a bit ambiguous. Faith, sexuality, circumstances. We are to put up an image of how we want to be seen and let the world believe it as such. The more ambiguous you are, the more people will maybe like you. Whether that’s in a job or a fan base or other. I think in some ways that could be true, but I spent a long time hiding from who I am and being so ambiguous about life that not only did I forget who I was, but no one around me could completely connect. I became what you needed me to be. Gave you just enough to be intrigued. But I was so concerned about the way I came across that I lost the ability to be present. And honestly I couldn’t let you get too close because then you’d see I was a fraud. I couldn’t speak of my faith because it was weak. Don’t look too long into my eyes, they’ll give away my true self. Well, I guess you can say now that the real me is peeking out from behind the curtain. I’m no longer allowing fear to guide me. I’m happy and overjoyed to speak about my faith. I mean no harm to those that believe something different or don’t believe at all. I’m not trying to change you. I’m just being authentic for once. I’m being as open and honest as I can because the truth sets us free. Even you who are reading this. My truth will break a chain in your life. It’s up to you what you do with that freedom. Since my eyes were opened and I’ve seen God’s hand in my life so powerfully, my eyes were also opened in the Word. I don’t have scripture memorized. And I’m not making it a goal to do so. I only want revelation within it so I can do as I’m commissioned to do. My faith has been tested countless times and each terrifying step I’ve taken, the more I’ve elevated. I recently took the scariest of steps for me. I traveled to Tanzania to meet with the head of our ministry there. The trip was to learn more, to receive, and to prepare for what our ministry in America has in store. While there, I saw things, things I’ve never seen in person. Some that were amazing and some that broke my heart. Things I knew existed, but mostly wanted to pretend didn’t exist. If it exists, how could I really help? Do I really want to or do I want to just feel better about myself? So instead of ever facing those things, I chose to see it was a problem elsewhere and none of my concern. But now I’ve been. I’ve seen with my own eyes. Little children living in conditions that are so terrible and not because they’re being mistreated, but because they are loved and are receiving the best that can be given with the means of the facility. But it’s not enough. I want more for them. My fellow sisters at my ministry also want more. So we are working hard on a project to get those babies what they need. Because it’s real. And we can’t just let it happen. Change starts with one. So as one we are putting this in motion.

ICE MELTS

While God worked on my heart, I couldn’t help but remember me several years ago. I was the girl who couldn’t stand kids. I mean some were cool, but most were not going to reach my heart. This flashed as I sat on the floor of the orphanage playing with children and wishing I could show each one of them how loved they are. I knew God was doing something in me. I knew because I didn’t recognize that love in me for a long time, but it was there for these kids. The remainder of the trip I learned so much, but nothing was as great as the head of my church praying over me as God worked on my fear of love. It was uncomfortable. But every day since, God operated. I woke up one morning with the revelation that I have to love people and I need to make them uncomfortable. I need to love them even when it scares them. Because the more I melt the more I want to give. I want others to melt. I want the world to see what Jesus’s love looks like. In today’s time, love and intimacy looks sexual. If two people sit closely it can lead to something sexual and believe it or not if that happens, you likely will find it hard to get close. This is the time where love that is pure in motive, needs to be given. God is supernatural. And so is the spirit inside of us. Love with the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the one next to you will be loved beautifully. This is my journey thus far with God. I can’t wait for what’s next. Receive love in the spirit and you give love in the spirit. If you’re reading this and you feel alone, afraid, unloved, unworthy, I want you to take your arms and open them wide as you inhale. Then as you exhale, swing them back towards you, wrapping them tightly across your body and squeeze and hold it there. Now read this part out loud. I love you. You are loved. I am loved.

The Tongue

My mind danced around many things this morning, but kept navigating to one topic over and over, so now I’m sharing with you.

The tongue. A fascinating organ. So many functions for such a small part. It is vital for chewing and swallowing. It lets us know when something enters our mouth if it’s good or bad, sweet or sour, dry or moist. The tongue is sensitive and is used in conjunction with the lips for kissing causing a release of oxytocin and dopamine into the brain, giving the cuddly feel good bonding feelings we get. The tongue is key in most communication. It can produce more than 96 words per minute. We use words to communicate the good and the bad. -Death and life are in the power of the tongue- What does that mean? I thought -Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.- Let’s break it down.

-Words will never hurt me.- If you were to go back into the innocence from which you came. If you were to look at life through a child’s lens. Would cruel and hateful words hurt you? Yes they would. Now you are told, words will not hurt you, fight back, toughen up. So the innocence is chipped away and you learn to dissociate ever so slightly. Maybe it happens again, and you still feel so you dissociate again. Now you’re an adult. You’re dissociated not just from painful words, but from your heart. It longs for love, but you can’t allow it to be hurt so you don’t know how to love or accept love. Maybe now you only associate love with hurtful words. How painful and lonely you must feel. Now remember that feeling the next time you speak to someone. Even if they threw the first punch. Remember the child who received it all because they were so open and loving and remember the adult who created layers of protection thinking it would prevent pain, yet pain is just now part of their normal. Remember that when you open your mouth. Think about the next word that forms on your tongue. Will you choose life? Just one act of choosing life could start the change in someone else choosing to do the same.

Dear Men,

I am a very strong, very independent woman. I was raised to lean on myself and never to need a man. I wasn’t taught this so I could become a feminist, or hate men, or be alone, rather I was taught this so that the bar for the man I chose would need to be higher. It’s taken me years to understand this. I cannot speak for all women, so I’ll speak my truth for me and maybe others that feel the same. I want a man who can lead on the dance floor. I don’t want to teach him to dance, or to pretend like he knows. I want him to lead and I want to follow so that the dance looks beautiful. I want him to teach me new steps and encourage me to excel as he learns new steps. I want to know when he dips me he’ll protect me. But that he doesn’t constantly keep me from dancing because of his fear of dropping me or his ego of others seeing. I want to know and trust, he’s got this. And if he doesn’t that he won’t ask me to dance until he’s figured out how. Until then, I will continue to dance alone. I will continue to dance better. I will flourish. So men. Step up. You want women to trust you, to let you lead, to let you protect them...but how is she to do this if you are immoral, untrustworthy, ego driven, and controlling rather than protecting, encouraging, honest, and loving. Women are only getting stronger. Men, a lot of you have some catching up to do. A lot of you need to exceed in order for the women to trust you in all steps of the dance.

2018-Year of Renewal

2018

As 2018 opens her eager eyes, I challenge all of us to shed our old skin. It’s time for something new. It’s time for our goals to not only be reached but for us to exceed them. It’s time to remove the obstacles that hold us back. Some of those are the messages we tell ourselves. We must change them. Some are the devices we hide behind. We must drop them. If we are bound by chains, this is the year to break them. We need to be focused. We need to be disciplined. If we do these things we can accomplish everything we set out to do and then go two steps further. Encourage others. Be a leader. Be a role model. Show kindness to our enemies. Remember that kindness is not weak. It takes more courage and strength to love the unlovable. Happy New Year! Let’s make it the best year. Cheers 2018!🎆🥂

Deep Thoughts

The obsessive mind. Oh boy. Not sure how many people have it. If you don't, consider yourself the lucky one. While analyzing has always had certain perks in life, over analyzing can cause harm. I don't think I thought much about how much I thought as a child because I was an only child. We think, or talk to animals, or read. When we're with the adults, we listen. Then think. It's just normal and unless you have a lot of friends with siblings you don't learn that not everyone thinks about everything the way you think about everything. I've always been one to replay my day at the end of an evening. Make sure I understand everything that happened in my day, didn't miss anything, and the worst part, realizing things you said might have come out weird, not making sense, or misinterpreted. Those usually came from nerves, but I was also always nervous, so there's that. Most of the times I realized I had a very likely faux pas, I'd turn red with embarrassment, close my eyes really tight, pull the covers up over my face and then pretend like it didn't happen because my eyes are closed now. 🙄 If it stressed me too much I'd try to rectify, which believe me, usually makes it worse. Why, you say? Because no one is spending near as much time as you are thinking of all the ways you f$cked up during the day. If you were misinterpreted, then oh well, next time be less of a dork and try to make sense when you talk or whatever. I mean...unless you think you've hurt someone, which then obviously you'd want to make it right. But yes. Obsessive thinking just shows how much we're into ourselves. But now, try to stop. If you're reading this and you're feeling the familiarity, you've probably told yourself or were told at some point by others...just stop thinking so much. "Ohhhh, right, why didn't I think of that?" "Um because I did, I think about everything remember?" I didn't share this just so I could obsess with you about my obsessiveness. I actually have a point. It's to say you're not alone. A lot of us do it in some fashion or form. And there's hope. As you know, I've been working hard on this crazy brain of mine for the past year and I'm actually learning some super useful things. One of them is tolerating the feeling. I may always replay the day. I find it helps me keep in check, but I don't need to spend the following 3 days beating myself up over the foul ball. I'm learning to tolerate the feeling of embarrassment, then forgiving myself for being human. Trust me, most everybody else that was in that mental video, does not care what you think they care about. If I feel the urge to reach out, I write what I want to say in my notes and I read it 1000x. Most of the time I realize it's not worth sending and will not help what I think is a problem. If by the end, I realize I really must reach out, then I do, but after carefully weighing the risk of reaction and deciding it's better to clarify. The second thing I do, which I need to do more of and I highly encourage you to do if you don't already, is meditate. Sometimes my mind will not be quiet enough for me to do it on my own so I veer towards audio things I can listen to in order to focus my attention. Other times I concentrate on my breathing and with every exhale I breathe out the worry. Logically, I understand worry is wasteful, but for a gal who wants to understand everything, sometimes worry slips in without the invite. The reality is we will never understand everything. Every time I try something new, I will not be perfect at it. Even if I practiced. 😜That's the tips I've gotten so far. I know it's a beast, that brain of ours, but it's also a blessing. It can be used to learn and grow. Every once in awhile we've got to put it in check. So be curious, ask lots of questions, read read read, but remember no matter how good you are at solving problems, puzzles, or equations, some answers only are revealed with time and experience. Sometimes shit clicks much later than we wished. But we're human. It's okay.

Will you be heard?

Another One... "Will you be heard?"

For those of you who know me, you know I rarely speak about politics. It's a topic I despise most of the time for various reasons. Also, if you know me, you know that I'm not affiliated with any party and rarely agree with all sides, but maybe agree with little from each. I'm writing about this subject today, not because I feel it to be political, rather I feel a passion about what I've learned. Those of you who don't know me likely can make some pretty heavy presumptions, but I can say I'm less likely to fit your stereotype of me than you might think. In fact the only presumption that would likely be 100% correct about me is that when the sun shines on my pale skin, I do in fact turn red. I'm a Christian. If you're not you might be thinking, "oh boy here we go." And I could say I don't blame you. A lot of Christians have made a bad name for Christians, as have muslims for muslims, atheists for atheists, and other religions for other religions. But don't worry, I'm not trying to convert you....I speak of this to remind everyone that some do not equal all. If you believe in something or you believe in nothing, I implore you to still take a chance to allow some of what I say penetrate you. I watch silently most of the time of the horrifying acts of hatred that happen all over our world and even in my own country. My first reaction, much like many of you, is anger. It's unspeakable some of the things that are happening and mind blowing that it's happening in my generation. What I do know though, is hate generates hate. I do know hatred will never get you what you really seek, whether to be heard or seen, etc. Compassion and love will eventually get you what you want. Love does not equal no pain, but it does go far. Nazi's, do you really think you will receive what you seek by spewing hatred, committing violence, causing pain? The rest of us, do you really think the darkness will understand if we spit venom back and do as they do? The key is finding a way to start loving. And those that do, don't give up, don't stop. It's so hard to love when we are thrown nails, but we have to. Once we have the power to actually love one another we have a chance to work together for something greater that all can enjoy rather than small groups. Racism, sexism, hate against religions, hate against anti religions, hate against LGBT, all have no place in this world. We are all here for a reason. We all have the ability to appreciate the beauty in which we were given in human form, just as much as we can appreciate the beauty of the mountains or the oceans. Just stop for a minute and try to love. That's it my rant is over. And I mean if you don't like what I had to say, I'm just a typical la actress so what does it matter?

Adventures in Defcon -A melodramatic comedy -Chapter 2

Chapter 2: How I survived trying to get home from DEFCON

Monday morning...and by morning, I mean noon, I wake up in my comfortable hotel bed, take a nice stretch, then saunter to the bathroom to get ready. Defcon is over, and we're all feeling the weight of having to say goodbye for possibly another year, but at the same time very much ready to get to our homes and back to normal life. I slowly pack up my things and prepare for my 4 hour ride home. My friend calls me and suggest we caravan back to LA, so we came up with a meeting place and headed out on our journey. The majority of the ride was smooth. A breeze through the most of it. Couldn't be more perfect. We finally get to the California AG inspection stop and prepare to slow down. I push the clutch in to change gears. SNAP. The pedal is gone. I immediately veer to the shoulder and wave my friend over. I look down and the clutch is completely depressed. Not good. I pull it forward. It stays. Ok, maybe it will be fine. I press it again. SNAP. It goes all the way back again. I'm screwed. I get out of the car to inspect all around. There's a nice large puddle of fluid on the ground and quite a bit dripping from underbelly. Not good. I call for a tow, and for a million dollars later they say they'll be there in an hour. The sun has gone down and now we are stuck until the truck arrives. Luckily, the truck driver arrives and is cool as shit. He gets my car up on the flatbed and says I can go on without him. He'll make sure it gets to the right place. We continue on our journey and finally make it to Barstow. The half-way point. Yes. We're halfway there. We decide to stop for a bite through the drive through and then jump back on the highway. It was great. We exchanged stories of our Defcon adventures and then all of a sudden there it was. A sea of red. TRAFFIC. At 9:45? Really?! We move along at 1 mph when I look up and see my sweet car in front of me. We caught up to the tow truck. Ted, the driver, and I text back and forth about the fun of the traffic, but we eventually pass him in the left lane. We finally got through 5.5 miles of construction traffic that took over an hour and made it safely back to LALA land. My car made it to the doctor safely and I'll know soon just how sick she really is. I'm thankful to my friend that wanted to caravan, and now I'm going to cuddle with my four-four-legged children. Till next year, Defcon.

#quincy

Adventures in #Defcon -A melodramatic comedy -Chapter One

Chapter One: How I survived trying to get to #QueerCon

It was a glorious Friday evening as I departed from my friends at Caesars and started my long and treacherous path back to Paris Hotel. There was a slight breeze for the beginning of the walk which my appreciation grew for as I headed down the escalator from Bellagio skywalk to Bally's and the breeze decided to hide. Sweaty and sore, I trekked through the scary crowds of tourists to the hotel and hopped into freezing cold casino floor of Paris. My anticipation of the QueerCon Party had me moving like a speed demon through the sea of people to hurry to my room so I could get ready for my favorite pool party. I hurried to get ready, packed my bag, made a sandwich and then waited for my friends. 10:40 approaches and we are finally on our way to Caesars to catch the shuttle to our night of ridiculous fun. We arrive, take the secret elevator, and walk towards the end of the line. The announcement to pull out id's was called out, so I open my new #Telephreak Bag and dig for my wallet. Which I then remember I didn't pack because of obvious reasons, but I also forgot to pull my license out and at least have that. It was already getting so late, and I didn't want to miss another minute of the party. I offered to show them a picture of it, but unfortunately the real thing was required and I had to race back to my hotel. My Uber driver recognized the urgency in getting there and getting me back to the party and even offered to wait for me. We came up with a plan of action, as I dug around my bag for my room key. "It's not there. Shit." As we approached the drop-off, I released him from waiting..."this might take awhile." "No key, no license, and I'm not on the room. Oh boy." Never to to fear, the hotel was fabulously helpful and I finally reunited with my ID and room key and raced for the elevator. "It couldn't be better, no one is on the elevator. I should be back in an uber in less than 5 min, and will finally be able to enjoy the party." I pulled out my phone to let my friends know "I'm okay and on my way." And then it happened. The elevator jolted. The noise of movement stopped. The C for Casino had turned into two dashes. I was stuck on an elevator. Alone. I immediately opened the phone box and called their emergency line. Told them what elevator I was in and they said they'd send someone at once. I stand around for about 20 whole seconds. Thoughts racing through my head..."was the elevator hacked...are they going to start making it go up at warp speed like in the movies and then drop me from way up high? Oh God. I need to get the f&ck out of here...I'm super late for the party." The 30 seconds was starting to feel like hours. I grew shaky with adrenaline, a little watery eyed from nerves, and I knew I needed to pull it together or my makeup would be ruined. "40 seconds have passed. This is ridiculous. I can't wait any longer. It's time to take action." I drop to the ground and empty my bag, searching for anything that might be helpful in helping me get the doors open. I had nothing. I knew what I had to do. Nothing was going to stop me now. I jump up, slide my feet to right throw my hands on the left door and with all my might I pushed the door. It would start to crack a little but slam closed again. This only gave me motivation. I tried again. "Almost got it." Finally, I opened enough to where I could see light and "BOOM." The elevator jolted again and all of a sudden the doors slowly opened. "I'm free!" I run out of the elevator and race towards the front. I see security and explain that I got off but they should do something so people didn't get back on there until it was checked out. I grab my uber and weave through traffic to finally reach my destination. My driver thought it was a good idea to read my palms and while he didn't see anything happening that would make him want me to get out of his car, he did express that he saw writing as a part of my career (which is actually accurate) and said I should be writing. I finally arrived at the party and had a ginormous blast...thank you QueerCon and #BugCrowd. Meanwhile, I awoke this morning and thought, "You know uber man, you're right...the world needs to hear about the fight and struggles we go through to be at DEFCON. We are committed and will stop at nothing to be there and our parties. It's scary, but we're brave." Stay tuned for more on "Adventures in DEFCON"

#quincy

Secure Your Phone

For those of you who don't think it's important to secure your phone, let me share all the information I was able to get off a person's phone this morning without ever opening it.

I was able to have Siri call whomever I wanted.

I was able to have Siri give me directions.

I was able to see all texts that came in because the settings allow to be seen on lock screen.

I was able to answer all incoming calls.

I knew upcoming appointments because calendar showed on lock screen.

I saw all incoming social media.

I saw all incoming messages from Facebook.

And lastly, I was able to find this persons home.

Now thankfully I'm not a bad person, but if your phone falls in the wrong hands, it could have a different ending.

I highly recommend you Go to settings and change what shows on your lock screen.

Love Me?

I've talked to many...it's mostly the same. We all say horrible things to ourselves or about ourselves every single day. We've somehow become or maybe always were, people that find truth in the lies we've bestowed upon ourselves and/or others bestowed. I know that we work hard to either hide this from the masses or we can even be so bold to state them aloud, but why? Lately, I've spoken to several people that either hide it well but admit they think negatively about themselves, or they constantly speak it aloud. Why do we naturally, it seems, hyperfocus on our shortcomings when there is so much good to share? I don't have the answer...I'm pondering, mainly, to figure out a reverse. What if we all saw the amazing gifts we were given? What if we looked at ourselves with loving eyes because we knew we could share our gifts? What if we learn to embrace what we feel are shortcomings and make them into challenges to overcome or things that aren't nearly as bad as the the playbook in our minds? What if what we think are shortcomings are just the thing we needed to help someone else grow stronger that in turn made us stronger? I know I struggle with it...hello I'm an actor...we're born with self doubt, but it's not just us. It's everyone. There's a deep seeded insecurity system built in that needs to be given a different job. We need to redefine it into something that builds others which in turn builds the soul. Right? Idk...just more random thoughts by this gal. #hopeithelps

Fear

Ever see a spider and your entire body freezes. Your heart is pounding. You know you should do something, move, kill it, flick it, but standing in the kill zone will likely get you bit. You don't move. You stare at the spider. Watching every creepy move it makes while you play out each scenario in your mind. If you run away, spider will be there again. You'll have to move your furniture in order to continually avoid, and if it's you he wants to eat, he'll just follow. You think of your shoe and smashing him, but if you miss he lunges at you or the ground and either your a goner or he's run into your closet with all shoes and clothes. You know flicking is a terrible idea...so you continue to stare. You stare until that moment he moves. You know if you don't move now, he will definitely get you. You quickly grab your shoe and in a Steven Seagal move you manage to smash him and you can finally breathe again. Have you ever had the exact same feelings about life? I have. I've easily avoided something I feared (even if it was a basic task) until forced to make a decision or choice. Fear brings with it so many other negative emotions that it can become difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't have a cure, but I know that when I've done these three things actively, I fear less. When I choose to face my fears, I fear less. Karaoke to face fear of singing in public, do the things I used to pay others for fear of failure to show I'm capable, you get the idea. Next, thinking of all I'm grateful for. When I think of all my blessings, it's hard to have anxiety. I think of how thankful I am for moments, people, love, and all that I get is love that fills my heart. And lastly, I love. When I show love towards others, my fears seem to fade. Helping someone in need rather than focusing on your problems will ultimately help them and heal your heart. Love more, fear less. Thought I'd share. :)

Growing, Learning, Loving

This year: I learn more how to be humble more than I ever have, I learn what it means to slow down, I learn that I have so much to learn, I learn what listening to your inner self means, I learn how to break down walls, I learn that everything I knew is all something to relearn, I learn that it's really great to learn. I hope that all I've gained in 3 months of 2017 proves how much more I have to gain for the rest of the year. I hope that at least one thing I do this year will help someone else who has faced the same strifes or similar, and I can actually do something to help them. I hope that my listening skills become greater than they ever were, and my thirst for knowledge and understanding becomes greater than they ever were. I hope I learn way more than I'm supposed to, and I hope I teach way more than I knew I could. I hope that all the skills I thought I never had, peak to where I will actually acknowledge them, and more so I hope that I encourage and empower those that doubt themselves. I know this is late in the "new year" cheer but I'm reflective, so March is where it's at. I've yet to figure out all the answers, but happy to observe the paths of others, learn from my own, and give back anything I may have to give. If you feel the same (don't feel the need to copy and paste to your wall, unless you really want to lol) just express your humanism in your words. Let's all be the ones to lift each other up and help make all of us our better selves.