Lord, Please Lead Me: A Prayer Poem

Lord, please lead me on this journey,
guiding me every step of the way;
so that I may not wander,
and I may not run astray.

God, I will follow You wherever
in this life I’m supposed to go,
but please take me by the hand
and show me what I need to know.

I pray I will find comfort (at last)
in Your loving arms.
Please show me I am right to trust You;
Show me You are the God of warmth.

God, I feel so lost and lonely,
like no human soul sees what I truly need.
In Jesus’ name, I ask you,
will you help me when I take Your lead?


This poem was written for this week’s Six Sentence Stories link-up. I have no idea whether any other Six’ers are believers, so I was initially going to post this at the top with a note that my poem is Christian in nature, but then I decided the title should speak for itself.

God Created the Stars

Yesterday, I started for maybe the fifth or so time in a Bible-in-a-year plan. However, this time, unlike any of the other times, I didn’t just try to read the Bible cover to cover. In fact, I’m not reading it cover to cover at all. Yesterday’s assigned chapters included Psalm 1, Matthew 1 and of course Genesis 1. The plan also included commentary in the form of a devotional. The verse I want to talk about now is in Genesis 1.

“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.” (Genesis 1:16 NIV)

The part the plan writer highlighted, was the last bit about the stars. He commented that there are literally billions of stars in our galaxy alone. I had no idea! However, isn’t this fascinating?

Whether the Biblical account of creation is literally correct, is beside the point. It isn’t about when or how. It is about who and why. And the “who” in the Bible is God.

I think it’s quite amazing that God created an entire universe, complete with constellations and constellations of stars, and put humanity at the center of it. He could just as easily have chosen anything else. Maybe if He’d chosen another living creature, it wouldn’t have ruined the planet and beyond as much as we do.

But God has His reasons for having chosen us. And having allowed us to mess up. I’m not yet sure what they are. Maybe I’ll never find out. It’s a fact of life though that we – all of us – mess up. That’s why we need Jesus.

And maybe God’s reason for having put us at the center of the universe and yet having allowed us to mess up massively, isn’t about us at all. We tend to make everything about us, after all, both individually and as a species.

Maybe by Godly standards, we aren’t as important as we think. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of us overestimate our importance and underestimate our shortcomings precisely because we measure ourselves by human standards. At least I do. And yet by Godly standards, only one human (Jesus) met the bar. My defiant side says this isn’t fair. Yet it only isn’t fair if we put ourselves at the center of the universe. If we put Jesus at the center, it is most definitely fair.


I am joining in with #JusJoJan, for which the prompt today is “constellation”.

I’m also linking up with Inspire Me Monday.

My Hopes for 2023

Hi everyone and a happy 2023 to you all! Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t do resolutions or new year’s goals. Instead, I call them hopes. Whether that isn’t just the exact same but worded slightly euphemistically, is up for debate. However, I found that, many years ago, when I did lists of resolutions, they didn’t work out. Now that I call them “hopes”, I usually probably subconsciously stick to them more. I say this every year as an introduction to my hopes.

This year, I haven’t actually thought of many hopes I have. That is, I do hope to achieve many things, but secretly I do think my “hopes” do need to be somewhat realistic in order to make it onto my new year’s list. Doesn’t that make them just like goals? Oh well, I guess so. With no further ado, I’m just going to write down the things I hope to achieve in 2023.

1. Get to a healthy weight. I never dreamt of writing this when I started my healthier eating journey at the beginning of 2022, but I lost over 10kg in 2022 and I’m only 3kg above a healthy BMI now.

2. Keep up my movement routine. I have my movement goal on my Apple Watch set pretty low at 300 active calories a day. I’d really like to surpass it regularly.

I would also like to improve on the parameters of my physical fitness level, such as my heart rate variability. These are all really low right now.

I am hoping to start actually exercising in other ways besides walking. I’d love to start swimming here on institution grounds.

3. Get to a more stable place mentally. In 2022, I hoped to remain stable mental health-wise, which got ruined by my choice to move and its consequences. Now, I’m hoping to get back to a place of relative calm again.

4. Further lower my antipsychotic dosage. I really hope the move to my current care home doesn’t mean I’m on 25mg of aripiprazole forever.

5. Get to a meaningful day structure and day activities. Okay, I have the new day schedule, which is better than the one my support coordinator gave me, but it’s not what I’d hoped for when I came here. I am really hoping to explore day activities beyond my room, beyond 60 minutes at a time and beyond one-on-one.

6. Write regularly. This is another thing I was pretty awesome at in 2021, hoped to maintain in 2022 and lost track of due to the move. I even only wrote five blog posts during the month of November. I am really hoping to get back into the writing groove this year.

7. Further explore my creative side. I’d really like to find ways to do part of my polymer clay work independently, so that I can actually do more complicated things with my 60-minute time slots of supported activity.

8. Socialize more. This was one of the main reasons for the move, at least according to the behavior specialists involved. Indeed, it is a positive aspect of my current home that wasn’t there at my old home. I honestly don’t know whether I can socialize much with the people at my home, but I can at least try and, if that doesn’t work out, there are almost 400 other residents here at the main institution. I’d really love to talk to some of them more.

I’d also love to connect to my peers in the cerebral palsy community more. I’ll hopefully attend the countrywide cerebral palsy day again in April and also hopefully join the online meetings more often. I’m also hoping to get in touch with the Eye Association more. I know this was something I hoped to achieve in 2022 but didn’t.

9. Get serious about the basics of my faith. I had a discussion about faith with my husband yesterday and the bottom line was that I tried to run without having learned to crawl, so to speak, because I was watching John MacArthur videos, which are deeply theological, even though I’m really still a new believer. I mean, okay, I’ve been a Jesus follower for two years, but I’m still struggling with the basic concepts of the Christian faith. That’s probably why I call myself a “progressive Jesus follower” rather than unapologetically claiming my identity as a Christian. I really hope to move closer on my journey towards God in 2023.


I am linking this post up with today’s #JusJoJan post, for which the optional prompt word is “resolution”. I am thinking of writing another post about resolutions in a different sense, namely the Model European Parliament debating contest I participated in during high school. However, it’s past 9PM so I don’t think I’ll have the time or energy for another blog post.

2022: The Year in Review

Hi everyone. It’s the last day of the year, so in keeping with my tradition, I thought I’d do a review of the past year.

I started 2022 by reviewing the forms for my extra care funding application – my extra care had just been re-approved for two years at the end of 2021 – with the behavior specialist. “Extra care” is what I usually refer to as “one-on-one” here, but I’m told by several staff that it’s not technically one-on-one if it’s not full-time one-on-one. Whether that’s true, I don’t know. I made some suggestions for when the application had to be submitted again in two years’ time. With how much has changed over 2022, I doubt any of it will be relevant anymore.

I also started the year with a healthier food plan and by seeing a dietitian. Over the course of the next nine months, I lost about 4-5kg and, like I had hoped, got to a relatively stress-free food plan. I did, towards late summer, start overexercising a little, but I attribute that to the newness of my Apple Watch.

By April, things started to shift a little, as I officially voiced my wish to explore the possibility of my moving to the main institution or another care agency with an institutional setting. The behavior specialist and I created a housing profile with my needs and wants on it and the behavior specialist gave it to the care consultant.

As it turned out, he only got applications sent out to the main institution and to one other agency, an agency in elder care. The reason was the fact that said agency operates an assisted living facility for blind or visually impaired older adults. With the fact that my long-term care funding is blindness-based, it makes some sense, but the place isn’t suitable at all.

I did get to meet the behavior specialist and two support coordinators for the main institution. As it turned out, they did find a place they considered suitable, ie. my current care home. I moved in early October to what from the care agency’s website looked like my dream home. It quickly turned into a nightmare though.

Thankfully, during the timeframe of late November till late December, some things got settled. I’m still finding I feel very easily frustrated with some things in my home and I’m swinging between letting them go (which is very hard for me) and mentioning them (which may come across as me sweating the small stuff).

For one thing, I lost another 6kg during these three months that I’ve now been here. I know I am still overweight by a few kilograms, so in this sense it’s okay, but it does create some difficulties relating to my disordered eating habits. I’d really like to get in touch with the dietitian again.

In other health-related news, I got some med tweaks in 2022. First, I started pregabalin I think in February. Then, in April, I took my first step lowering my antipsychotic dosage.

I also found out during the summer that my kidney function was mildly decreased. I had it retested about two weeks ago and, though it decreased a tiny bit further, this could be because I have a UTI.

Let me also share about my creative endeavors of the year. I did a ton of polymer clay crafting and really loved it. When I moved to my current care home, I for a while had to let go of this hobby, but now I’m trying to slowly reinvent my creative self.

Lastly, faith-wise, I remain a struggling new believer. I am really hoping and praying that God will lead me further on the right path towards Him in 2023.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (December 14, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s Wednesday again, so I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge. Not that I do so each Wednesday or that Joyce even hosts them every single week. For example, next week there won’t be one. This week’s HodgePodge is mostly Christmas-themed. Here goes.

1. What does Christmas mean to you?
The birth of Jesus Christ, of course. I am a progressive Jesus follower. That being said, I don’t follow the faith nearly as deeply as I should. Each year around Christmas time, I usually experience a deepened connection with God, but I’m not feeling it this year yet, for which I’m sad.

2. What’s your favorite cozy holiday activity?
Eating cinnamon stars near the Christmas tree. Cinnamon stars, a type of cookies, are my absolute favorite Christmas treats. Last year, I got four packets of them from my day activities staff and used up the last of them in early March.

3. Is all your shopping-wrapping-baking done? Tell us about your holiday plans.
Yes or no, depending on your perspective. After all, we don’t really do Christmas presents in my husband’s family and I don’t see my own family for the holidays at all. I don’t usually send out Christmas cards either, although my husband does on my behalf too.

For Christmas, my husband is going to pick me up at the institution and take me to my in-laws’ house near dinnertime. That way, I hopefully won’t have to endure too much of the Christmassy buzz but my husband’s family will be able to enjoy my company. My sisters-in-law will likely be joining us for dinner too. Then, I’ll spend the night at my husband’s.

4. If you were Santa what treat would you like to have left for you (it doesn’t have to be milk and cookies!) What sweet or savory treat do you most look forward to indulging in around the holidays?
Leave me with some hot wings please, yum! As for my most looked forward to holiday treat, other than the aforementioned cinnamon stars, I love oliebollen at New Year’s. Do those count? By the way, for my American/English-speaking readers, oliebollen may look like what’s left over when making holes in donuts, but they taste very differently.

5. Next Wednesday is the first official day of winter (in the northern hemisphere). How does that make you feel? Tell us what you love most about winter?
I don’t like winter, the cold, shorter days or snow for that matter, so the official start of winter to me signifies the shortest day of the year and hence the fact that days are getting longer from then on. The one thing I do love about winter are its associated holidays, such as St. Nicholas, Christmas and New Year’s and the opportunity to indulge in special holiday treats these occasions provide.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I got a lovely Christmas hamper full of sweets, cookies and chips from the care agency this evening. There was no room in my bin in the locked storage room for it, so I have everything with me now. Let’s hope this doesn’t end in a massive binge.

Being God’s Beloved Child As an Enneagram Type Four

Today, I read some about the Enneagram again. As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a type Four. Type Fours’ core motivation is to be fully understood as their unique and authentic selves. As such, Fours often focus on their being different from other people in some fundamental way. I am no different (pun intended) in this respect.

When I was in the early days of my psych hospital stay, my parents came to talk to the psychiatrist. They told him that, ever since I’d realized I am different because of my blindness at roughly age seven, I had tried to make it look like I was different in a ton of other ways. For instance, I identified as autistic (with which I was eventually diagnosed), thought as a teen that I was a lesbian (I am not), etc. Indeed, identity confusion was quite a common experience for me. According to my parents, this was all because I refused to accept the fact that I am blind, rather than because, well, I felt different in some rather interesting, somewhat impalpable ways.

Today, as I read the Day 1 section of The Enneagram Type 4 by Beth McCord, I realized I’ve always focused my attention on how I am not just essentially different from everyone else, but in some fundamental way more defective than everyone else. In reality, this is not true.

I am reminded in this respect of a sermon or something I once heard about a king having two daughters who both got lost in a shipwreck and stranded with farmers or something. Years later, the king found out that his daughters were still alive and he sent out some men to track them down. One daughter believed she was the king’s daughter, while the other didn’t. To whom does it matter? Of course, to the one who believes. This is probably what it is like to be a child of God: we are all children of God, but only those who believe it will delight in His kingdom. I find this comforting to my non-believer friends, realizing that God does not somehow condemn those people or something. Of course, there is the difference that God is all-knowing and all-powerful, so He could’ve made everyone believe.

However, my point is that there is nothing that makes me less of a child of God because of who I am or what I do. I am also not more defective than anyone else based on any of my differences, be it my autism or my blindness or whatever. Neurodiversity and disability rights are clear on that. No matter how fundamentally different I feel as an enneagram type Four, or as an autistic, multiply-disabled trauma survivor, or as just plain ol’ me, I am still God’s beloved child and I do not need to – cannot even – attempt to earn that status any more. After all, Jesus Christ purchased that status for me on the cross.

I am linking this post up with Inspire Me Monday.

Joy in April

Oh my, how time flies! I fully intended to write my monthly update on my word of the year, which is “JOY”, last Thursday, but forgot. Thankfully, there’s still about ten hours left in April to share my reflections on how I did this past month. I am linking up with the Word of the Year linky, as well as Lisa’s One Word link-up.

Early in the month, I did quite well. I enjoyed my craft of polymer clay to the fullest. Among other things, I discovered color mixing. I was full of new ideas and really burst with energy.

I also enjoyed quiet time and my spiritual life. I was engaging with the Bible on a daily basis.

I also spent time involved with personal growth in general, watching videos on, for example, the enneagram. This is not necessarily Christian, but it is not against the faith either and there are many Christian enneagram experts.

Unfortunately, as the month progressed, I slipped into an emotional rut. I have been neglecting my Bible reading and my quiet time now involves falling asleep to instrumental music. That isn’t bad in itself, but I’d really like to spend more time focusing on God. I’ve noticed, in fact, that I’m drifting away from Him. I could blame this on my low mood, but really it could be the other way around too.

I also haven’t been enjoying my creativity as much as I used to. This goes for both my polymer clay and my blogging. With blogging, this may have to do with the fact that the #AtoZChallenge is coming to an end and the last letters are usually harder than the first. However, I don’t engage as much with other bloggers as I used to early in the month either.

I am also not enjoying my food as much as I used to. Like, we had pizza yesterday. While I appreciated it, I didn’t savor the food as much as I would like to have done. I am reminded in this sense of the mindful eating exercise I did in early March and how I’d really like to apply it to foods I love more.

Overall, early in the month, I did quite well, but towards the end of the month, I’ve been slipping towards the opposite of joy. This brings me to one of the exercises that Lisa provided in her One Word E-mail for this month (I think), which was to look to the opposites of your word and reflect on what they can tell you about your word. Some of the most relevant antonyms of joy include:


  • Depression: well, I wouldn’t say I’m depressed (yet), in the clinical sense. Having been there, I know that my current low mood is different, but I do need to watch out that I don’t slip into the pit of depression.

  • Melancholy: I’ve definitely been feeling this way. Melancholy is a bit of a low mood, with an edge of romanticism attached. I feel this resonates with me in relation to how I feel about living in my current care home.

  • Misery: this sounds a bit, well, too negative for me right now. A state I want to avoid at all cost.

  • Sadness: yes, I’ve felt sad when my fellow client passed away early this month, but other than that, sadness just doesn’t cut it.

  • Seriousness: certainly, yes. I’ve been far too serious about my life lately, which has resulted in my not enjoying the fun parts.

All this being said, in the coming month, I’m hoping to gain some joy back and crawl out of the pit of melancholy and seriousness.

Accepting My Ordinary Identity in Christ #Write28Days

Welcome to day two in #Write28Days. Today’s optional prompt is “Ordinary”. Immediately, I thought: what a dull prompt! I don’t want to be ordinary. I don’t even want to write about it!

Like I said yesterday, I am an Enneagram type Four. One of the descriptors for type Fours is “The Individualist”. Another, less kind one, is “Specials”. As these denominators say, we don’t want to be boring, like everyone else, ordinary.

When I had just been admitted to the psychiatric hospital in 2007, my parents came to talk to my doctor. They said that, in order to avoid accepting the fact that I am blind, I sought out to be different in every other way possible. For example, as a teen I thought I was a lesbian. I had just gotten acquainted with my now husband at the time that my parents used this against me, but we were by no means dating yet. Besides, in my mental state at the time, my sexual orientation was about the last thing on my mind. That being said, at the core, my parents were probably right: I saw myself as a complicated, unique, special person. Extraordinary.

Now we’re nearly fifteen years on. In a way, I still see myself as different from “ordinary” people in many ways. For instance, I am multiply-disabled, including blind and autistic. I am a trauma survivor and identify as a plural system (dissociative identity disorder). I, however, also now see that I am loved by God and by others as I am. And that is what matters most: my ordinary identity in Christ.

I still sometimes focus on the aspects of my identity that make me different from most other human beings. That’s okay though, as long as my “otherness” doesn’t become all-encompassing. Ultimately, my main identity is as a person loved by God.

Joy Comes in the Morning?

Today’s verse of the day in the YouVersion Bible app really speaks to me in a kind of interesting way. It reads: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5 NIV) I particularly loved this verse because certain translations use “joy” instead of “rejoicing”.

Obviously, it is easy for me as a Christian to draw the comparison between the short-lived anger mentioned here and our life on Earth, and the rejoicing to our eternal life in Christ. After all, we all know our life on Earth is temporary. No-one, until the time of Jesus’ return, will live forever.

God also doesn’t promise us a hardship-free life. No, not even if we are as faithful as we can be. Ultimately, suffering is part of our life on Earth. God never promised us a rose garden, so to speak. That is, not yet. However, He does promise us that, ultimately, in Jesus Christ, we will have eternal life.

In addition, however, the verse shows us that God is quick to forgive us. In the story accompanying this verse on YouVersion, the pastor compared God’s attitude towards us to her own attitude towards her children: when they misbehave, she may get angry, but nothing can prevent her from loving her children exactly as they are. This is so touching! Similarly, God may show anger towards us in a moment, but His love will always shine through.

Lastly, the last part of the verse may also refer to Jesus’ resurrection. For me, this is hard to grasp, as this psalm was written by David, centuries before Jesus’ time on Earth. However, believing that all of Scripture is God-breathed, it is very possible that David was, at least on some subconscious level, aware of what would be coming.

During the night of Jesus’ crucifixion, there was intense weeping, but in the morning three days later, Mary shouted with joy when she met Jesus again.

When originally reading this verse on its own, I was like, I can see where this is coming from, but this is an Old Testament passage, so…? Now that I’ve dug a little deeper into its meaning and listened to the YouVersion story, my takeway is not just that life may be hard, but that ultimately everything will be okay. It is also that God’s love is, will always be and has always been, even in the time of David, far greater than His anger.

Linking up with Sunday Scripture Blessings.

Abstinence

I bought yet another collection of journaling prompts, this one faith-based. It is called Journal-a-Day the Titus 2 Way and is about growing in Godly womanhood. Not all prompts apply to me. For instance, the ones that center on life as a wife or mother, for the most part, don’t. I mean, of course I am married, but I don’t live with my husband. However, Paul also instructs Titus to teach the women to stay away from addictive substances or practices. As such, one of the prompts in the book is a one-word prompt: sober.

I don’t drink alcohol. In this sense, the prompt does not apply to me either. However, sobriety can refer to other addictions too. In Overeaters Anonymous, it is called abstinence.

I have never liked abstinence-based eating disorder recovery programs like OA. I like to blame the fact that I struggle not just with overeating, but with purging and occasional restricting too. The real reason is though that I don’t want to give up foods I’m addicted to altogether. And, taking Paul’s letter to Titus literally, I don’t have to. After all, the Bible verse states: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” (Titus 2:3 NIV)

For this reason, I wonder, is it really God’s plan, as OA seems to think, that we abstain from addictive foods altogether? Doesn’t Paul write “much wine” for a reason?

I have a problem with the idea that, if you just admit that you’re powerless over your substance, you will – no, should – become sober through submitting to God. Not with the submitting to God part, but with the requirement of complete sobriety, which is human-made. Jesus as far as I’m concerned didn’t abstain completely from alcohol and if refined sugar had existed in His time, He’d probably consumed it too. Shouldn’t the goal be self-control instead?

I pray that God provides me with direction as I navigate my journey towards recovery from disordered eating. I pray that He will help me submit to His will, whatever this may be. Yes, even if this is complete abstinence from sugar, snacks inbetween meals and all other things OA says we need to abstain from. Amen!

I’m linking up with Let’s Have Coffee.