Rising hope

To my surprise, God didn’t leave me in the dark for long.  Just as was promised.

I was crying for two days.  Saturday night, I was scheduled as usual to attend the mission trip for church.  We go to St. Louis to hand out food and basic necessities to the homeless.

I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle it.  I let my friends know upfront that I was feeling terrible because of losing my job.  They were understanding.  We got to St. Louis and my feelings got even worse.  I looked at all the homeless/needy people, and I’ve felt awful for their life circumstances before, but this time, I saw absolute hopelessness, just as I was feeling for myself.

I was growing more stoic about my mission and on the verge of tears.  God let me lose my job, and on top of that, these people are desperate for a better life, at least most of them.  We only can give enough food to last them a couple hours.  They remain when we leave and continue their existence of scraping for whatever food and tools they need, and people in the city tend to look down on them.  It depressed me beyond all measures of sadness I had felt when previously visiting with them.  I felt practically on the homelessness level at that moment, realizing that without my parents, I’d probably be where they are.

I watched them eating in their various places, either standing with us or sitting on random curbs, and I saw utter hopelessness, rather than seeds of potential beside them.

God lets them be where they are, so what hope is there for anyone else’s salvation?  I was nearly drawing away from God.

I told my friend Ashley what was going on in my mind.  She had a very relatable story to tell in which she had trouble getting a job despite her amazing references, education, and experience.  She said that a year later, when she’d finally let go of all chance that it could work out, she received the call that the business wanted to employ her.  She also reminded me that the homeless peoples’ state of affairs is not a reflection of God’s love or favor.

The particular way in which she counseled me, really rang true in my ears and heart.  She prayed an amazing prayer with me, and that gave me some solace and hope.

Things got even better, though still mightily difficult.  The next morning, I got up early to head to the Collinsville church campus to work the tech booth.  I almost didn’t have the mental energy to get myself there, but I felt it would be worth it.  My friend Ben heard me out on what was still bothering me, and he reminded me that prosperity is not a sign of God’s favor.

Through Ashley and Ben’s encouragement, I felt I was starting to put some pieces back together.  I began to remember that money is not our savior, and that it doesn’t matter how much or little you have, because God promises to take care of us no matter where we’re at.  But the church service began and I found it difficult to sing along to the songs, as they contained lines about how great God is to us.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I had to wait for the sermon to further accept God’s word.

As usual, the sermon seemed to be geared specifically for me.  It was all about what to do with our troubles.  “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Somewhere in the service, a feeling came over me.  All the coincidences and perfect wisdom seemed to come to a head.  Some feelings that had never really hit me square in the heart before, suddenly did.  I realized I believe in the bible.  Furthermore, if I believe in the bible… I must believe in Jesus.

The chills I felt and the joy that came over me were great gifts.  I remembered wisdom is the greatest currency.  The scriptures within that sermon and the words that flowed from the preacher wrapped my heart like never before.  That was it for me.  I remembered my stigmata, and realized Jesus is calling for me.  You can’t un-think that kind of thought.  I hadn’t had it before.  Once it hit me that I believe in the bible and Jesus, I realized I couldn’t go back.  It’s time for a new venture into God’s word.  Not one of skepticism, but of faith.

Stigmata is something I did not bother to share with you, as it crosses the lines of plain reality for most people.  But now that I’ve said something as absurd as “I believe in Jesus,” why hold back on anything else?

But before I get to that, allow me to explain how amazing things turned out after church.

Hours went by.  My family went to dinner that evening.  The strangest thing- my mom had already made dinner, and felt iffy about the food, which has literally NEVER happened before.  So we went out.

My nephew was antsy and energetic while we waited for our food, so I took him out back to play, where they have cool outdoor games, hammocks, and a playground.  And a bar, but neither of us needed that at the moment.

While Giovanni played, I noticed a familiar hairstyle on someone.  It looked like it belonged to one of my supervisors at the job I lost, Veronica.  I tried not to look, thinking that if it is her, I have no idea how she feels about me.  I had no idea if she knew what had barred me from permanent employment.  But she approached me.

To my great surprise, she said I didn’t have to tell her what went wrong.  She hugged me and said they all felt terrible about it.  She said my other supervisor, Jeannine, the one who liked me the most, actually CRIED about it.  She gave me Jeannine’s cell # and said she’d like to hear from me.

I didn’t even know Veronica lived in my area, and I’d never ran into her in public before.  Why did it happen, in a perfect circumstance where we both had time to chat, a couple days after I was fired?  It really had helped to know they were on my side.

I called Jeannine that night, and everything got even better.  She told me in extreme detail how much I had meant to her and the department as a whole.  She said that from the first day I walked in, there was just something special about me, and that my kindness had affected the whole department.  She wanted me to know that she didn’t care what had gone wrong, that it didn’t change her opinion of me, and didn’t reflect what kind of worker or person that I am.  She said she’ll do whatever she can to help me.

Ultimately, she got me hooked up with an interview at a different company, for another call center that is hiring.  All I really have to do is attend the interview in order to get the job.

I am still a little sore when I think of certain things, but: “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way he loves us.”

What had scared me the most was thinking I’d have to re-live 2014, when I could only get crappy jobs that didn’t pay well.  An awful uphill battle, costing me both physical and mental health.

But clearly God has something lined up.  And once I realized that my devastation was due to MONEY and HUMILIATION (having told all my friends I’d been hired for an “amazing” job), I realized that it was GOOD for me to have lost the job, because otherwise, I would not have known the UGLY PRIDE that had come from being hired.

I originally had asked for God to humble me and help me to see my pitfalls, and he did just that.  I cannot argue with what he has allowed to befall me, because it’s in fact what I fucking asked for!!!  He brought me back down to earth and made me realize that I’d equated my prosperity with his favor.  I was so wrong.  If I’d kept my job, I wouldn’t have realized it.

Thank you God for BLESSING me with wisdom.

As for stigmata, here’s the crazy story:

When I was 5, something weird started happening to me.  I got out of the shower one day and saw that a single, thick drop of blood was draining down the side of my foot, from a single point on my ankle.  I was confused.  I cleaned it up, and I don’t remember if it bled more, but there was no wound.  I decided that it was just something random and weird, like hadn’t realized that I’d mildly hurt myself, and let it go.

But the next day, it happened again.  This time, having again no memory of hurting myself, this exact thought occurred to me: “It’s Jesus’s blood.”  From that day on, I accepted it as a part of my life, and never told anyone until a few years ago.  It stopped happening when I was about 9.

I had never heard of stigmata, and was not thinking of Jesus being on the cross.  Rather, I found it to be simply miraculous, since now that it had happened twice with no wound, it could only be explained that way… however, when I think of it, that doesn’t even make sense.  Why’d I think of Jesus?  I hated church.  I guess it’s because I associated miracles with Jesus.  I cleaned up the blood.

It kept happening over the next several years.  Sometimes it would bleed more after initially cleaning up, and there was never a wound.  It never hurt.  It was always after a shower.  I didn’t touch razors back then.  I never hit myself against anything.  It varied whether it was the left or right ankle, inside or out.  There was no reason for it.  My innocent mind had automatically “known” it was Jesus’s blood.

I’ve seen no other accounts like this on the Internet.  It’s always much more extreme wounds, and pain is involved.  The only thing left that could happen is that most stigmatists die at 33, like Jesus did, and I’m not old enough to see if that is to transpire.

I’ve needed a lot in order to believe in Jesus.  For some reason it hit me on Sunday amidst my suffering, and only hours later, I was blessed with love from my supervisors whom I’d feared would not respect me anymore, and a new job opportunity that is practically a sure thing.

He did not leave me alone for long.

I’ve realized that I don’t know what God’s plan is.  And I don’t need to know.  There’s no reason to stress about the future.  I just want to experience Him like I was always meant to.

Let’s see what happens next.

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