‘Tammy’ and I had a lot in common (back in the day we would probably have been likened to each other because of our scatty natures!)
Anyway back to the here and now. ‘Tammy’ is still a bit scatty, as am I, only these days we have something else in common, our spiritual beliefs. Whilst walking separately through all the twists and turns and up’s and downs of adulthood we have both managed to find GOD along the way’
Things have been especially tough over the past year or so, my mental health issues have been exacerbated greatly for one reason and another, reasons for the sake of sanity I will not go into right now. (I’m having a relatively good day and would like to keep it that way!)
‘Tammy’ though slightly more resilient than me and way more positive has also had a very difficult time of late, I won’t go into the reasons for this, it isn’t necessary and wouldn’t be fair!
At this point in my ramble I feel it relevant to point out that due to severe ‘intrusive thoughts’ a symptom of OCD I have found it almost impossible to engage with GOD through prayer for some time now. Prayers are so often interrupted by the muddle that is my mind that far from bringing peace they just result in my feeling ashamed and on edge.
Feeling so isolated is perhaps one of the most devastating consequences of my mental illness.
Fear, shame, paranoia and stigma have resulted in a life time of hiding and I find it almost impossible to open up to anyone with complete honesty.
When the same shame and fear interferes with my ability to talk to GOD isolation reaches a whole new level!
Recently I have really struggled with my relationship with GOD mainly because my prayers are so often interrupted by intrusive thoughts, obscenities or general mind muddle!
Asking GOD to forgive intrusive thoughts (thoughts of or urges to self harm - thoughts of harming others) can be really difficult when you are unable to promise that your thoughts or indeed behaviour will be any different the following day!
Here’s what often happens during my prayers - I begin to pray (lets give the Lords prayer as an example)
It goes a bit like this, ‘Our father who art in heaven’ hallowed be’ that’s usually about as far as I get before a random obscenity pops into my head (sometimes aimed at GOD which only serves to increase shame!) or any of the other random, awful intrusions that are a part of my every day life. (I’m experiencing them now as I write!)
In order to complete my prayers (which I rarely manage having given up in shame half way through!) I use another area of my mind to recite ‘Ten green bottles'
So now one part of my mind is reciting ’ten green bottles (not sure why it should be this song as I find it extremely irritating!) while another part of my mind continues with the ‘Lords prayer’ sometimes this is still not sufficient to suppress intrusive thoughts and images and on these occasions I resort to actually picturing each of my illusory green bottles as they fall off the wall!
You can imagine how mentally draining for me this complicated prayer time fiasco is and it gets worse if I come away from the ‘lords prayer and attempt to pray in my own words for something or someone specific I have usually given up in despair before the fourth bottle has hit the ground.
My inability to engage with GOD through prayer has left me feeling stranded. I have thought of myself as ‘BAD’ since early childhood (partly as a result of my mothers reactions to me and partly as a result of the symptoms of my mental illness, specifically the vile intrusive thoughts)
Of - course if you don’t believe in GOD you may have buggered off by now, eye’s raised and 'tut tutting' at the 'Mentally ill bible basher’ but for those of you who are still with me, there is a point to this story!….
That dreary August morning whilst browsing the internet I came across a picture that instantly made me think of ‘Tammy’, ‘A white feather’ accompanied by a spiritual message!
Now I've never noticed white feathers at my feet, of course they may have been there, I just never noticed! ’Tammy on the other hand often has and on a spiritual level they are very significant to her!
Well anyway until learning recently (and only because I googled it!) I had no idea that to some believers white feathers have spiritual significance. I sent the picture along with its message of hope to ‘Tammy’s’ face book wall. She liked, commented then buggered off, as you do if you’ve actually got a life aside from Twitter and Facebook!
I spent the morning at home then decided that as the weather was a bit hit and miss, an indoor picnic in the church would be a nice idea.
As ‘Thebodyguard’ is church warden he has keys to our Church and we can come and go as we please. ’Littlie’ who loves being in Church could chill out with some churchy music with daddy while I set about sorting the mound of jumble on the balcony!
We would generally walk to church via our own Street but as we needed to call in at the shop on the corner of ‘Paupers Street’ on this occasion we made our way via ‘Paupers’ street, ’Littlie chatting nineteen to the dozen, ’Thebodyguard’ in his own little world and me? Well I’ve had better days!
Anyway we were about five feet into ‘Paupers Street’ when I noticed a ‘white feather’ laying on the ground, I’m not sure why I noticed it neither am I sure as to why I felt the need to photograph it but I did and on we went.
We plodded on another twenty steps or so and there on the ground another ‘white feather’ prompting me to take another picture, I couldn’t help thinking of the shared message that morning and my friends frequent tales of GODS little co-incidences in her life!
To cut a long street short by the time we had reached the top of Paupers’ I had noticed and photographed four little white feathers and was filled with a warmth that in my opinion can only be described as GODLEY!
As we turned into the next Road heading for the front entrance of the church a thought entered my mind, it was a strong feeling accompanied by an image (“There’s a feather at the Church door”) Well there was! Right there outside the church door blown carelessly against one of the planters was a fifth white feather!
I photographed it and then filled with an overwhelming feeling of peace followed hubby and child into the church. we laid our blankets down and enjoyed our little indoor picnic while listening to beautiful music and soaking in the peaceful atmosphere!
After eating I set about sorting jumble items while ’littlie and ’Thebodyguard’ played. Suddenly I felt compelled to stop what I was doing and go and look in the porch that serves as the back entrance to the church, so strong was the feeling of ‘seek and you will find’ that I was disappointed to find that there was no little white feather jumping out at me when I stepped into the porch.
Feeling slightly silly I’d just turned to go back the way I came when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tiny white feather laying up against the boiler room door almost completely covered by dry leaves. It was no bigger than my thumb nail and looking a bit worse for wear but a feather none the less. I brushed the leaves aside, pressed the zoom button on my camera and took my sixth feather photo of the day!
Some of you will understand exactly what was going on in ’Paupers Street that day, many of you will think I’m a bit mad, if you didn’t already. It matters not! I feel lifted and hopeful when I look back to that day and I choose to thank GOD for that.
LORD, Thank you for gentle reminders of your presence in my life. I will continue to write my prayers down for the time being if that's okay with you, minus 'The ten green bottles' of course!
Father I place into your hands the things I'm going through
Father I place into your hands the things I cannot do
Father I place into your hands my friends and family
And I know you always will love me, Amen
Good days, bad days or somewhere in the middle I'm surrounded by friends, family and a GOD who loves me!
Thank you for allowing me to share
GOD bless you and all those you love
Copyright©2012kimmie All Rights Reserved
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