These are fearsome times, there is just no getting away from it. The world scene changes minute to minute, second to second. Political upheaval, assassinations, earthquakes in one place after another, deadly plagues and so much death and suffering. It could seem hopeless if a person did not know that there is a God who will soon end the anguish.
I was that person. I knew he was there, I just did not acknowledge him. I did my level best to do everything he condemns, and I was succeeding. That is real fear, knowing you are disobeying the Supreme Ruler, and that soon you will have to make an accounting. But if I did enough cocaine, drank enough Budweiser chased by some Jack with a few pills thrown in (for good measure) I could blow God off for one more day. One more miserable, painful, agonized day. Because, for me, the dope wore off way too quickly. Then in the crushing weight of dawn my pitiable condition was visible even to me, let alone the world.
I saw the fear in these eyes, the self-loathing, the hate. I lashed out at every single person I came in contact with, and I was violent. How violent can a biker chick be? You might ask the dude I beat so bad he crawled under a car to escape. I can still see his face, and it makes me sick, to know how venomous I was. My husband was worse than me, and the two of us joined with groups who were just like us.
Come to think of it, when I watch the news I often see rage and hate filled faces just like mine used to look. But were we meant to look so ugly? Sound so angry? Feel so much hate?
I wonder what the faces of the people who nailed Jesus to a stake looked like. Do you think they looked filled with rage and anger when they yelled at the top of their lungs to Pontius Pilate to execute him?
“To the stake with him!”
The life I was living, the way I felt, the hatred for my fellow man, would I have been in that murderous crowd? Would Jesus have looked on me as I called for him to be killed, the spotless Son of God? The Messiah who God sent to give his life blood as a ransom to pay for all my sins?
I don’t have to wonder. I know God and his only-begotten Son saw my hateful face, every single day I have been on this earth. All 58 years. But the face they see today holds love in her eyes, a light that only began to shine when I turned around, repented, took in accurate knowledge of God’s will and made public declaration that I will serve Him forever.
Oh, what great relief. What a lifting off of weight from my shoulders, stooped shoulders that had carried the burden of hatred and sin for many sad years. Was it hard to change? Yes, in a physical way, it hurt to quit using and drinking-but that pain was brief, and the reward is the best high ever. I thought I would crave the coke, the cigarettes, the drink, forever. But that is not the case. Thru prayer and study of the Bible my compulsions have been lifted, and while I still sin every day I know God will forgive me when I ask and stop whatever I am doing.
The amazing thing is that now that I have learned to love, I have such great love for my heavenly Father that I don’t want to hurt him, ever. I didn’t know my actions actually hurt him, but then I never bothered to learn about the Sovereign of the Universe before. He is Love. He is love.
So, now I am still funny looking, but God’s love makes me beautiful. And this love makes you beautiful to me! I hope some small word of this touches your heart. I hope to see you when this earth is a beautiful place full of humans who love God.
Hatred can eat you alive. Trust me on this, you do NOT want to carry it around for thirty years like I did, it is poison. I watched my Mom wither under the weight of the loathing she had for my Dad, fifty years of resentment and anger all twisted up inside. And he was just as bad, in a different way; vindictive and cruel to her, and sometimes to my brother and I, but always to Mom. Is it any wonder I grew up filled with the black death of it?
It fuelled my young life, after the years of blissful ignorance that comes with kindergarten times. No, hatred was to force its way into me, at the hands of an abuser. The funny thing was (not that sexual assault is ever funny, it’s a figure of speech) , to the adults in my world there was blame to be settled on my eight- year-old head. I was so confused by the abuse, because the offender was a trusted adult, that I wasn’t filled with hate towards him. It was all so overwhelming, and my best friend and I were swallowed up and spit out by the Justice system at that time. Childhood sexual assault wasn’t treated the way it is today back in the early 70’s. We had to tell the judge and the entire courtroom what was done to us, detail by detail; the abuse was over the course of a year, so there was a lot to tell. The judge kept making me repeat things and go into more detail, ” COULD YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE?”
(My friend was so traumatized that she couldn’t come back the second day, so it felt like a white hot light shining down on my eight-year-old head. The abusers wife decided to add to my torture by announcing to the audience that we were little whores who enticed the old codger. )
I digress. I learned to hate thru this experience. Not only the bad people, but myself. My Grandmother let me know that “nice girls” never talked about these things ever, and if I wanted to get married someday I would never, no NEVER, mention it again. My Mom blamed my Dad, and my friends parents, and was angry at herself for never having “The Talk” with me yet.
The Hatred grew, I started to use drugs, I drank, I stayed out late, my grades failed. It was all MY Fault, and the reason no one loved me was because I was faulty somehow. I lost my virginity to rape- that was my fault to, I belived. Circumstances were such that my friends abandoned me after this, my Dad told me I was disgusting when I got home at 3am with sticks and grass in my hair, so I never told anyone. I hated myself so much, I deliberately did more and more shocking things. It must be true, I thought, I am disgusting! I tried to end my life before I even graduated high school.
At 17, I not only hated myself, I hated authority, my parents, men, my old friends, school and disco. Everybody hated disco, didn’t they? I was angry with my big brother for disliking me and the company I kept. My Mom took me for an abortion at age 15 when my “boyfriend” abandoned me; I never really understood that it had been a wonderful, tiny life inside of me. It came back to haunt me after 2 years, when I saw friends at school bring their babies. This was the FIRST TIME that was been done in that area. I became suicidal, I started hitting things, kicking things till I broke my toes, bloodied my knuckles. There was no one talking about Bipolar Disorder in those days.
I just kept spiralling downward. After jumping out of a moving car I was placed in a locked adolescent ward of a Psychiatric Hospital. I was able to talk about the awful things for 30 days, but no real diagnosis, just depressed, they said.
Flash forward to moving to Florida at 20 with my parents. New beginnings, same old song. I kept losing my sobriety, using cocaine big time. It was ‘snowing’ all over Florida in the early 80’s. Then I met an ex-Marine named Ricky. He was the first to really beat me. That was fine, I deserved it. That’s what he told me, so it must be true. It was always something I did, something I said. Then we found rock. ‘Crack’. Now I really had reason to intensely dislike myself. I stole from every member of my family, including stealing my deceased Grandfather’s gold teeth, stolen from my Grandma’s jewelry box. My own Grandma and Grandpa. Yep.
Well, that wasn’t even the bottom. There were 15 years of addiction, abuse, crime, alcoholism, jail and agony yet to go. Not to mention the pain and trauma I put my Mom thru. I would travel up the east coast, across the country to the west coast, become homeless, rob the store I worked in, live with train tramps, hop freight trains, be ‘held hostage’ by Mormons, pretend to be a lawyer for said Mormons, live in the Sonoran Desert, travel back to Florida, marry a habitual offender, have my nose broken twice, my jaw once, get pneumonia 3x, become a pot dealer, then a coke dealer, a drug runner and a co-conspirator to my husband’s crimes, try to infiltrate a motorcycle club on my own and lose everything at least 3 times . Oh, and get snake bit twice, once by a pygmy rattlesnake, once by a copperhead, both times drunk. These are only the things I remember…
It all added up to one very sad, very angry, very sick person who could not stand to look herself in the mirror. The self-hatred and self-abuse led me to the darkest place I had ever been. Everything I ever tried failed. I hurt everyone who ever loved me, and I could not stand it one more day. I tried to overdose on a cold night in September 1999. I couldn’t even do that right it seemed. I was shooting up in my parents’ house, they let me come home after my husband went to federal prison. I promised myself that I would never jeopardize my Dad’s business. But I’d been allowing a coke dealer to do business in the place in exchange for an 8 ball every couple days. (An 8-ball is an eigth ounce of cocaine) I told him I quit that night, but he left me a package anyway. So I knew it was over. I did what I said I wouldn’t do. I’d been in and out of AA and NA so often they called me the “white chip queen’; I just couldn’t do it, I believed. The only way was to ‘ride the lightning’-give myself a hot shot.
I loaded the syringe, and gathered my nerves. With tears running down my face, I apologized to God and everyone, and then…
…then I saw this image if a candle in my mind’s eye, with the tiniest flame I had ever seen, the wind was blowing and it was flickering-it would go out any second…then suddenly I realized that I was being shown my life, just about to blow out like that candle… I put the needle down and got on my knees, and prayed to God to help me….
I know, you are sceptical, and that is ok, I don’t know if it was my imagination or what. But I got up and called a friend, took the dope and headed over to his house. The trouble was, he was clean and sober. Or maybe that there is the miracle. Because he convinced my to dump out the drugs and go to a 12 step meeting when morning came. I did this, and amazingly have been clean and sober till this day, 21 years later! Twenty two in September…
But it still took a wee bit longer to forgive myself. As the years passed I still didn’t feel happy, I cried all the time. I finally got a proper diagnosis and a medication regimen that works for my Bipolar Disorder. I have PTSD from all the physical trauma and abuse, but I have coping tools today. I have a therapist who understands my pain and guides me thru the darkness when it comes. But the best medicine I ever found is the forgiveness God gives thru the Sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. By learning about this and about God’s will, and dedicating my life to God, I have experienced the greatest gift ever: The free gift of a cleansed conscience, of forgiveness from all my past sins.
So you see, I just Had to learn to forgive myself, otherwise I would be claiming that I know better than my God!! It is not easy though, sometimes my old thinking creeps back in and I feel that old discouragement. I have to stay on top of things and pray, follow the Bible’s counsel and reach out to my support network. Knowing that my Creator loves me is the greatest high I have ever experienced.
Yes, I am sad, and angry, tired, aggravated. I want to be motivated, upbeat, excited…joyful. Where has my joy gone? Will it be gone long? How can I bring back that song, that lilting voice calling me into a new day? Hey, c’mon, get up, lets go-put on your dancing shoes!
More like, no-let me alone, bury my head back in the covers again. Why am I so tired? I’m dying, right? We’re all dying, right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong my love: We are all being made alive.
Listen to your brother, Paul, hear him call, down thru the ages, down in the pages of the Word. Haven’t you heard? There is a better life, a real life, joyous with a resounding cry! that I-no, you-no, WE will live in the right-around-the-corner future! Don’t despair-pull up a chair, listen man, listen: There is such love to be had, where there will be no one bad, no one angry or lonely or sick, Wait, it’s true! It can be YOU brother , YOU sister, imagine us living in this promised land…
We CAN, we WILL, wait for it… WE ARE living in this place, even now, I’ll tell you how:
It’s because our Father gave us Jesus, he LOVES US, he HEALS US, we will all sing his praises so, so, so soon. Please don’t give up, rather, get up. Let’s go up to the mountain of the house if Jehovah, and dwell in the shadow of his wings, dwell in His house, dwell in security with no one, NO ONE making us tremble. We won’t learn war anymore, and each one will dwell under his own vine, and under his own fig tree, in his own house made with his own hands.
Nothing in this world can ever separate us from God’s Love. Thats worth getting out of bed for!
“The feeling of being doubted…is an ever-present background noise…”
Did you ever wonder if people believe you? Is that only the mental stomping ground of the addict? The alcoholic?
The feeling of being doubted, of my integrity being questioned, is an ever present background noise…especially when I am sick. I was even afraid, just now, to write the word ‘sick’. (wouldn’t it be better to minimize?)
One very HUGE contributing factor to this constant was the years upon years of describing extreme pain to a plethora of physicians who could find no ‘easy’ or ‘obvious’ condition to label me with. There were no broken bones, I had a history of drug abuse, I had a history of a mental illness diagnosis, and I am a woman. I was also very strong, working difficult physical jobs normally held by men, which may or may not have been a factor.
My experience has not been an isolated one when it comes to women who have Fibromyalgia and/or similar diagnosis. During the years before the medical profession widely recognized this condition I was one of a multitude who went thru years of mental anguish and physical agony before finally being given a smidgen of relief.
Finally a Diagnosis !
It took real determination (and very real disability and pain) to keep pushing on towards a diagnosis. I was told it was all in my head, that I was just overweight and needed exercise and that what I was experiencing was just a consequence of aging. At this point I was crying every night from the burning in my joints, in my muscles and in my spine. My best description for that time was as if I were wearing a dense heavy coat that was soaking wet, all the time. A coat that weighed about 100 pounds and was crushing me.
At this point my work was suffering, a kind boss had taken me aside after noticing my wincing, and suggested a Rheumatologist. Initially even he was sceptical until he got back the results of the CT Scans and MRI’s. (He was the first to order these types of tests!) I distinctly remember the initial shock at him gently taking my hand and apologizing, so sincerely, for not believing the severity of my discomfort. He went on to ask me if I had been in a car accident, the images showed that level of damage to my spine.
There were a myriad of issues the films brought to light, and from that point on my care finally addressed them. The physical relief was matched and even surpassed by the rush of validation! I was taken seriously!! I was, finally, believed!
…there was nothing…but to keep chasing the high, reality became too painful…married you so…you could not testify against him?…
I’ve been busy trying to find some balance. It has been a difficult issue all my life. I can be impetuous and impatient, wanting things to happen yesterday. In the past I hated discipline, and yet needed it desperately. I rebelled against everything, and prided myself on living outside the lines.
But I yearned to have the life I saw others living. I was always on the outside looking in-at families sitting round a dinner table, or gathered in front of a fireplace. Friends having lunch in a deli, or laughing at a movie. I was standing just outside, in three feet of snow, higher than a kite…and crying. Wishing I were in that house, sitting down to a hot meal, my heart full of love and surrounded by kindness. Full of joy. Full of hope.
After certain traumatic events I thought I could never be in the presence of ‘normal’ people again. Or in the company of ‘nice girls’. These feelings are common to those of us who have been forced to walk on the dark side…and that is exactly what kept me stuck on the outside looking in. As someone who had been sexually abused it was easy to believe that no one could understand me, I was different, warped somehow, out of line and irreparably broken.
These lines of reasoning are what kept me stoned, drunk and living on the street. A perverted sense of pride kept me “out there”; I was terminally unique and no one could understand me.
(I shut my eyes and drift back to those dark days when my husband and I were getting close to the end, an end that I knew was not going to have me walking out alive…)
The world I had immersed myself in was squeezing me dry. No true happiness, just oblivion. Once the money and the dope were gone, so was the glamor. Now there was nothing for it but to keep chasing the high, reality became to painful. To realize the person you left your family for never really loved you at all? That he married you so that you could not testify against him? Wait..what? What?…
The collect calls home, just to hear Mom’s voice, ” Are you alright, Susan? Do you have enough to eat? “
“Sure, Mom, no problem…we have work now, good work…Cement Plant shutdown…lots of money. Come up and see us sometime…”
They better never come visit. See me with black eyes, track marks. Find out we are living in a tent. Holidays coming round again, and I’m too strung out to visit. Oh, the bitter tears I cried that year, and the one after, and the one after that….endless rivers from red, swollen eyelids, dripping off the end of a snotty nose, wiped on dirty sleeves. Sleeves that roll up to purple scars on blue veins, sitting in a gray cement bathroom holding a syringe between tobacco stained teeth, ready to ride that white pony into blue, blue blue blue blue blu
That is not the way this story ended. It could have soooooo easily, except for one thing. One thing that I never would have believed if you had told it to me then. During those last few dangerous days of my marriage, days when he would get so high he would wire all the doors in the trailer shut from the inside, while creeping around with a hammer…days when I was so afraid of what he would do that I would hide in the bathtub hoping he wouldn’t find me… days when he beat me unconscious…when he shot wildly in a drunken stupor, missing me by inches…when he flushed a half ounce of coke down the toilet then dug up the septic tank and pulled the package out…days when he would OD and I brought him back to life, pounding on his chest and screaming, “Don’t die you #@$!%*!”…Then on our 7th anniversary he went to work at the naval shipyard, I made his favorite dinner and waited eagerly for him to come home, ready to forgive him one more time. Waited and waited, as the hours passed…losing hope I broke down, and prayed, not knowing what had happened but sensing something was wrong.
I remember lying in the dark , begging God for forgiveness as memories moved thru my mind, memories of all the hatred in my life, the drugs, the violence, all the pain I had caused, and abuse I had endured. I poured myself out to God, like I had not done in nearly 20 years. I really felt at that time that I was doomed, doomed to never get out of this situation alive. The violence and depravity were so overwhelming, and he had made sure to impress upon me, in no uncertain terms that if I were to ever try to leave, it would be my family who would pay for my error. And pay dearly. After pouring out my heart to God, I slept, drained of tears and exhausted .
It was a strange dream , and many years have passed, so I won’t attempt to relate it now. I was then awakened by a pounding on the door. My heart sank… Was this the police telling me some terrible news?
It was Jim, my husbands coworker, they rode to work together. He was beside himself… ” Sue, I have some bad news, really bad… I don’t know what happened but there was a SWAT team! The FBI, my god, it was terrible! They had their Guns drawn, told us all to get out of the van, get on the ground!”
Jim! (I heard myself yelling) Jim! Where is Marty? Is he ok? IS HE DEAD?
“what? Oh, no,no, he’s not dead, but they took him away, they cuffed us all, we were freaking out, questioned us all, but let us all go, except him!”
Oh, thank God, I remember feeling so relieved. He wasn’t dead on the highway, or shot by police… But what was he arrested for?
” Sue, it’s really bad, they were asking about guns, said we were stealing guns or something? They charged him with something to do with weapons, I don’t know…”
We talked on thru the night, and I was all wrapped up in how to deal with this new reality… So wrapped up that it did not dawn on me till years later that God answered my prayer that night, and he answered it in a BIG way. I survived my marriage to that man, I survived the addiction to cocaine and got clean, survived all the beatings, survived the alcoholism, the pain, the sadness, the insanity… Thanks to God.
I prayed for help and He heard my prayer… I am so very, very grateful to Jehovah, for his Son, Jesus, and for all His wonderful Wisdom , Power, Justice and Love. He is the Sovereign of the Universe and the Right to Rule belongs to Him, and to those whom he chooses to give it.
The Kingdom is in place, let it come!
Life is so good today. I am isolated, but I am never alone. I feel sad sometimes, but I am not without hope. There is nothing anyone can do to me that my God cannot undo. I do not need to cower in fear, because “there are more who are with us than those there are with them”(2 Kings 6:16b) I hope that you find some comfort knowing that God is the hearer of prayer, and the He wants us to talk to him, and share our feelings with him.
“For I well know the thoughts I am thinking toward you,” declares Jehovah, ” thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future, and a hope. And you will call me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11,12
“You will call, and Jehovah will answer; you will cry for help and he will say ,”Here I am!” Isaiah 58:9″
“Jehovah is close to the broken-hearted; He saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalms34:18
I just attended one of my meetings on Zoom, for Worship. It amazes me how much these 2 meetings per week have become my greatest source of comfort, by seeing all my loving friends. It’s wonderful to feel the warmth-it even comes in loud and clear thru the computer!!
Isolation can be a killer for the mentally ill. There have been times when the only thing pinning me to this fabric of life was contact with another human being. The worst part of being so deeply depressed and out of hope, for me as a Bipolar person who used to have suicidal ideations, was that all I could see, ALL I COULD SEE, was the abyss. I had absolutely no ability on my own at that point to make a decision to reach out of the blackness for help. When you are in the dark, it is difficult to see a friend. The emptyness seems to stretch endlessly away, I had no thought of how I would hurt my loved ones.
I thank my God that someone saw my despair, and made a move, even though I said I was fine. Over and over and over…I would paste on a smile, because we of the depressed masses are SO GOOD AT ACTING, and repeat the phrase, “Oh no, I’m really fine, just a little tired…”, or “Nothings wrong, seriously, I’m fine.” Especially as a teen, I knew just how to shut my Mom down with a roll of my eyes and an exaggerated sigh of frustration. A slammed door worked well too.
At the time in my life when I was suicidal, I was not yet diagnosed with any mental illness. I was a teenager, had been sexually abused routinely, had been drinking and taking drugs for years, and felt so sick inside, mainly with self-loathing. Up to that point, say around age 13, I was starving for love and attention at home. I know now that it was largely in part due to my parents’ exhaustion at working constantly. But there was more. My Dad was tired, constantly, and angry, and he was very grouchy. I was SO sensitive that every word he said was rejection. I was not at all at fault, but I was acting out my need for love in promiscuity. Of course , having been sexually abused by trusted adults beginning at age 8, I’m sure I needed serious counselling even that early, but those were the years before it was ok to talk about such things.
I had many experiences where I heard my best friend and I being blamed for causing the abuse, even at the ages of 8 and 9, by the abusers co-conspiring wife, in the courtroom!!!! Also, the old-fashioned Protestant attitudes exhibited by Grandparents and Aunts and other family members told me in no uncertain terms that these abuses were never to be mentioned again.Nice girls didn’t talk about such things! Nobody will ever want to marry you!! You are “spoiled”now!!
These lies and the ensuing actions of not being cuddled, or hugged, or even being allowed to accompany my beloved little cousin to gymnastics class seared my little heart and mind. How does a child process rejection? She doesn’t know that her family is perpetuating the trauma, or that they are sick too, or just plain mean. She believes the lie that she is unlovable . Imagine for a minute: An eight year old believing it is HER FAULT that she was violated . That Daddy and Grandma don’t love her anymore…
So clear to me now, how wrong they were. And it also so WONDERFUL THAT I understand now. I hope so much that someone out there sees this who has a loved in a similar situation, and reaches out to the child, or teenager, or adult…Tell them IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT !!! You are LOVED, AND CHERISHED, AND NOT TO BLAME!!!
The circumstances that the abuse happened under were not caused by you. You absolutely DID NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN, NOR DID YOU MAKE THIS HAPPEN!! Repeat these truths over and over, until you can truly believe them. You must try, even though it may seem to be the hardest thing in the world, to find someone safe to talk to. For me, this was a Doctor at the emergency room, where I wound up after jumping out of a moving car. He really cared, even though I refused to talk initially. He did not judge me, or act shocked, or even run and get my Mom. Today, after years of treating sexual assault the fault of the victim, I would hope that ALL Doctors would give help and comfort to assault victims. This most likely is not the case, so don’t give up in seeking help. There are suicide prevention hotlines you can call, also 911 and 211 in the US. In the front of the phone book, if they still make these, there are lists of helpful organization, also safe places to go.
I know how hard it is to reach out, but you can do it. If you don’t feel up to talking to a human, there is still the BEST FRIEND you will ever have, who you can talk to, Anytime, Anywhere, out loud, or silently from your hurting heart… This person is God. Jehovah is his name, and he is Jesus’ Father. He knows you are hurting, and he wants you to call on him…
I did not believe that God could love me, and I suffered on my own for 20 more years. You don’t have to suffer that long!
Psalm 34:18 says, ” Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 94:19 reads,”When anxieties overwhelmed me, you comforted and soothed me.”
Psalm 27:10 also says, “Even if my own father and mother abandon me, Jehovah himself will take me in.”
For me, praying to God has been my lifeline. Even though I live alone now, I know He hears my prayers anytime and every time. I say, “in Jesus name.”at the end of all my prayers because Jesus tells us at John 14:6 , “No one comes to the Father except thru me.” Thus is because God made Jesus High Priest and God requires that we acknowledge this when we pray! So Jesus also states this truth in the Bible at John 16:3,
” If you ask the Father for anything, he will give it to you in my name.”
One of my favorite verses in the Bible offers me so much insight into God’s love for us . It is in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes I will help you, I will really hold onto you with my right hand of righteousness.”
I hope this brings you comfort and hope. Know that you are loved…
. Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.
. There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.
. There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.
This is where every. breath. matters.
. DO YOU HEAR ME?
EVERY BREATH MATTERS.
Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.
. I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.
. I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.