I thought I was okay

“I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” -Romans 7:17-20

Apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. I was a new christian at the point, and the only thing I understood was that everything happens for a reason. Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Maybe I was meant to get involved with this mass of strangers I was playing with because they were unbelievers? Was I supposed to witness to them in some way?

I think I was trying to justify what I was doing. Not only did I believe I should reward myself for getting good grades, but I was foolish to think God was using me to glorify His name. What a lie!

My husband and I were discussing my blog last night and asking me if I remembered certain things. I didn’t. He mentioned leaving for work every morning crying, telling me I was hurting him. He had tried to show me a checklist of questions to determine if I was addicted. I laughed at him. I’m glad I don’t remember a lot of things, but it hurts me to know he does. The last thing I wanted was to hurt him in any way.

The day before his birthday that November, I tried lying and telling him I just needed to get away for a day or two. Made up a story that I was staying at a cabin up north. He knew better and followed me long enough to confirm his suspicions that I was headed to Virginia to meet my “pretend” husband, the father of the fake twin babies I was carrying.

I’m a bad liar to begin with. I can’t even fib about eating the last candy bar.

As I continue this journey of telling my story I’m beginning to recall some things. Mostly bad. I don’t wish anyone would ever go through this. My next entry will begin to tell about my new life in a new state in a new me I didn’t recognize.

We cannot change what we’ve done, nor should we want to

Just as the Lord says He knows our words before we say them, this appeared in my inbox this morning. I couldn’t say it any better than this:

June 8, 2011

God of All My Moments
by Charles R. Swindoll

Wouldn’t you love the ability to go back in time and change something you did or said? I know there have been moments in my life—awful moments when I acted on the impulse of the flesh—that I would dearly love to call back. But alas, I cannot.

Don’t you imagine, during those days prior to his homegoing, Moses would have cheerfully given his right arm to relive that incident at the rock? “Oh Lord, if I could only back up and do that all over! I would have cried out for Your help to control my anger. I would have been more concerned for Your glory. I would have done exactly as You instructed.”

But he couldn’t go back. In a single moment of rage, he forfeited his right to lead Israel. He threw away his opportunity to enter the Promised Land.

The sad fact is, we cannot go back. None of us can. We cannot undo sinful deeds or unsay sinful words. We cannot reclaim those moments when we were possessed by rage, lust, cruelty, indifference, or hard-headed pride. Like Moses, we may be forgiven for those sins and have them blotted out of our record by the blood of Christ. Even so, we must live with the consequences of our words and our actions. What we sow, the Scriptures warn, we will also reap.

No, we can’t go back. Our gracious Lord has covered our past with His own blood, given on the cross for us. David reminds us that, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

But we can learn to walk much closer with Him, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. We can keep short accounts with Him and lean on the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and shield us from destructive, life-shattering sins. He will do it. He has promised to provide us with a way of escape so that we can bear up under any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)—any temptation at any moment.

If this becomes our way of life, my friend, when God says speak to the rock, we will speak, not strike. And the water that flows from those moments of obedience will refresh a multitude, including ourselves, with no aftertaste of regret.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Playing In The Dark

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or, what fellowship can light have with darkness?” -2 Corinthians 6:14

As I worked my way through my first semester of college I found myself spending my down time browsing around Second Life. I finished my classes with a 3.7 GPA. I was proud of myself for all I had accomplished.

Between the Summer and Fall semesters I had a three week break. I spent this time in my fantasy world, playing Vampire Princess and enjoying the sense of satisfaction I was feeling. The kids were old enough that the only things they needed from me were breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My husband was away at work for 14 hours each day. My other life was very rewarding. I was successful, they needed me. I felt respected. Through my selfish ambition I began staying up later each night, often pretending to be asleep on the couch when my husband awoke for work, and turning back to the computer once he was gone. He saw what I was doing, though I kept up my lies.

By two months into the semester I hadn’t done a single assignment. I told anyone who asked that my studies were going “just fine.” I’m not sure, but I think this was the point where I started believing my own lies.

Things became blurry from the middle of October until mid November. I wasn’t attending church with the family. I had stopped answering the telephone, showering, cleaning, cooking. Friends from church were worried and invited me to lunch or coffee at times. They’ve had to tell me that they did because I couldn’t remember.

It seemed everyone around me saw what I was doing. One night my Pastor, one of the Deacons, and their wives made a visit. I saw it as some creepy intervention at the time because I still didn’t realize how far I was falling. They prayed over me, and in the middle of the prayer I started laughing. Hysterical laughing. I couldn’t control it. It scares me to think about what was going on inside my own mind and heart at that moment.

I was playing in the dark where I didn’t belong. The things I was doing and seeing and pretending in this “game” were truly wicked.

How could this be happening to me? I had found Jesus, so I was ok. Right?

Playing God Part 2

Many of you have sent messages inquiring more about “Second Life,” so I will refer to this post as part 2.

Second Life is an entire virtual world. When you begin you choose your name, then begin to create your avatar. Here is where the “playing God” part comes in. You can be anyone you want to be, look any way you want. You can make yourself, tall, blonde, big busted, muscular. Essentially, you create a new you.

At any given time, there are roughly 70,000 people logged into the game. A real-life person behind each avatar. The are also various ways to interact with other players (text chat, voice chat). There is even virtual money exchanged, stores to buy clothes, hair, houses, property, furniture. If you’ve always dreamed of having a Victorian home with flower gardens, here’s your chance.

There are two ways to obtain money in the game: 1. It can be purchased via credit card with real world dollars. 2. You can get a pretend job in virtual land to make money for your fantasy avatar. The most popular ways to make money were by creating clothing to sell, and selling your body.

What??

Yes. You could sell yourself for money by stripping in a club (most popular) or working the “Red Light District.”

All are terrible things, but at the time it was still just a game to me. I didn’t realize how far I was sucked into it. Everyone around me saw how it was controlling my life. Not me.

Even after I was married, pregnant with twins, adopting children, and furnishing a home I was still blind. Did I mention I was also a Princess of a vampire clan? I don’t even like vampires. At all. Not even Twilight!

Ok…this post was meant to be more informative than heart-felt, just to give some idea of what I was into as I continue sharing my story with you.

-Again,, please bear with me. I’m not a writer, on any level, but this is something God has been wanting me to share for a while.

Playing God, Part 1

I’ve been reading iFaith by Daniel Darling, and a lot of the content hits close to home. Today’s digital world places a lot of things at our fingertips that we wouldn’t have been exposed to even ten years ago.

When I graduated high school in 2000, I never imagined the path my life would go down. I didn’t go to college because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t.

It wasn’t until I had been married for 5 years with two kids that I took the leap and enrolled in an Associates Degree program through Penn State’s World Campus. All work done through World Campus is done online, at home.

In order to bring a sense of connection with the students and advisors, Penn State built a virtual campus inside a “game” called Second Life. This was a place where we could meet with our advisors and participate in meetings and gatherings.

I was a brand new Christ-follower, and registered with the website not knowing it would, in time, play a large part in the destruction of my life as I knew it.

Second Life is a virtual world where anything is possible. You can create your avatar to look like and be anything you can imagine. Essentially, you’re playing God. You could buy and furnish houses, get married, have children, work jobs, be a vampire….anything you can imagine. You could make your life everything you’ve always wanted it to be.

At first thought, seems like a dream come true. I could be taller, bustier, a red head! I could be everything God hadn’t created me to be.

The game in itself isn’t bad when used responsibly. Keeping the mindset that it’s just a game is hard to do. And quite honestly, it’s more fun to “play God.” BIG MISTAKE! If I could go back, I’m not sure I’d even think twice about the game, but it’s brought me where I am today. I’m the best I’ve ever been (so far!).

Have you encountered something of this nature? Mis-used something innocent and fun and become enslaved to it?

I’d love to hear about it.

Are you ready for the Rapture?

*Disclaimer…This post is being written out of pure silliness, setting all seriousness aside.

I tend to worry about some of the most ridiculous things in life. I’m spiritually ready for Jesus to return and take me to Paradise, but not physically ready. I’ll explain.

Sometimes I get a little anxious when my house is a mess, thinking someone might stop by. Not the end of the world if that happened. It’s a worry of mine.

At least one a week I come across an article or audio bit that mentions the rapture. My first thought when I think about it? WHAT IF I’M IN MY JAMMIES WHEN HE COMES?? Seriously. Is it going to matter if I’m wearing my bath robe with un-combed hair?

If I’m in the middle of dinner, will the stove catch fire or will I have a minute to turn the burners off?

Driving in my car?

As I said…it’s silly. What are your ridiculous concerns about the “big event?”

The Power of Saying No

“Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”. -Romans 8:2

I hold the verse above close to heart. Since my downward spiral into addiction, infidelity, and selfish heart all but destroyed my life, I’ve been made more aware. When those thoughts and temptations slither their way into my mind, taunting me to return to my former self, I’ve discovered the power I have to say no.

Not a day has passed in almost a year where I haven’t been submerged in God’s word in one way or another. I read devotionals, blogs, my bible, listen to podcasts from many churches around the nation. I’m becoming better in my prayer life and have seen many answered. I wouldn’t call myself a “mature” Christian, but others have noticed the work being done in me.

Knowing I am able to push temptation aside is a very powerful feeling. All I have to do is say a simple word: No.

An awareness of the Spirit residing in you can also help you say no.

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” -Romans 8:9.