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ALL I WANTED WAS TO BE LOVED. Sue Rodda, guest writer.

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JUST LOVE ME
Let me begin by painting you a picture.  I came from a broken family.  My mum and dad divorced before I was four.  I lived with mum while my older sister went with dad.  I saw dad once a year for two to three weeks, and that is the only contact I had with him up to eleven years of age.  Then he disappeared and I never heard from him again until just before my 18th birthday.

My mother was abusive.  She struggled emotionally for many years after the death of her brother.  She suffered frequent bouts of rage, and either my dog or I regularly bore the brunt of these outbursts.  I used to hate the sound of my name when she called because nine times out ten, there would be some form of abuse waiting for me.  Several times as a child, mum sent me into a ‘foster home’ type of care.  Some stays were only for a couple weeks; some as long as a year.  A few carers took me in as part of the family; others treated me worse than a dog.

Abuse was meted out to me by teachers, nuns, a dentist, employers and from family friends.

Mum was a high-profile media personality.  She worked irregular hours, which meant I spent prolonged periods alone.

Mum dabbled in witchcraft, attending séances and using the Ouija board frequently.  Negative spiritual activity often occurred, loud unexplained noises, and the feeling of an evil presence.  I found myself in a state of extreme anxiety and panic.  At these times, I used to cower in a corner of my bedroom.

I had a set of Children’s’ Bible Stories which contained the story of Jesus.  I used to sit hour after hour looking at the pictures.  While doing this, I had the sense of being wrapped up in a warm presence like a big blanket, and I would feel safe.

WORTHLESS
I grew up feeling worthless, and struggled with depression from a very young age.  As a young girl, I used to get physically sick at the thought of someone seeing me if I went outside of the house.  I often had suicidal thoughts.  I even thought of killing my mother.  I was a young adult before I had enough self-confidence not to be plagued by thoughts of self – hatred and suicide.  I experienced violent outbursts of extreme, blind rage from a young age. However, all I really wanted was to belong to a loving family.

Much of my life was spent in searching for love and the sense of belonging.  But I ended up mixing with the wrong people, doing the wrong things, and going to the wrong places trying to find that love.  I fell in and out of numerous relationships.  I drank and smoked heavily.  Drugs only made me feel more depressed, and so I didn’t become involved.

After the breakup with one partner I entered another relationship with a biker.  We had been together for two years, when another biker began to witness to us about Jesus Christ and invited us to church.   I attended church a few times and even accepted Christ but it was a verbal commitment and not from the heart.

 

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This biker was a generous, kind man. He shared his image with the photographer. However, abuse kills the perpertrator. Each time they abuse someone, they die a little more regardless of the adrenalin rush they may experience at the time.

MORE ABUSE

When a young man whom I knew committed suicide I became enraged and directed that anger at the Lord.  I walked away from him and back into my old life – in and out of live-in relationships, mainly with bikers, and practicing witchcraft.

I have been raped twice in my life, once when I was six courtesy of a family friend and secondly when I was twenty-four.  It happened at the train station.  I was caught from behind and dragged onto the track and into a tunnel.  After the rape, I was bashed and thrown onto the tracks with my face in the dirt, with the attacker kneeling on my back, his hands around my throat strangling me to death.  I felt the life draining out of my body.  In that instant I called on the Lord, asking for his help.  Within seconds, the attacker ran off.  I don’t know if he saw or heard something.

What I do know is that the Lord Jesus Christ heard the cry of my heart and truly saved my life.

I was so full of guilt for the way I was living and behaving that I still didn’t return to the Lord after this attack.  I didn’t believe He could possibly forgive me for all I had done.  During the next three years, I moved interstate with another biker to Ballina in Northern NSW.  During those three years after the rape, the Holy Spirit hounded me at every opportunity.

When I moved to Ballina, I discovered the street I lived in was full of churches.  Every time I passed a church it would draw me like a magnet and I found myself pulling away, which took a great effort.  I became very exhausted by this battle.

One day I got wise and walked into town by another way and was surprised to find yet another church.  I can laugh about it now, but at the time I didn’t think it very funny.

At this time a Christian began calling by regularly and talking to us.  I would become very angry and wanted to throw a brick at her because every word she spoke pierced my heart.  One Sunday my partner was out on a bike run and I was alone in the unit.   Suddenly a powerful presence came into the lounge room.  It was the Lord and He challenged me to choose whom I would serve.  I chose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE VISITATION
After the Lord’s visitation my legs were like jelly and I could hardly walk.  I managed to get to the phone box and ring the woman who had been talking to us and ask her for a ride to church.  At first there was a stunned silence.
I shared with her my experience and she was ecstatic.  That night I publicly accepted Jesus as my Saviour and Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit from that moment.

I have been walking with the Lord for twenty-two years.  I found that healing for my wounded heart came through God’s amazing love, grace, and forgiveness and through my willingness to forgive others.  I now have a good relationship with dad and a positive relationship with mum for which I praise God.

 

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These bikers are enjoying a holiday and the great weather. They are enjoying a certain cameraderie within the group. Intimacy with God goes far beyond the human conception of comradeship.

THE PROMISE IS KEPT
It hasn’t always been easy, but the Lord’s promise to me is that He will always be with me and that nothing can separate me from His amazing love and grace.

That is His promise to you as well.  He is the only one who can satisfy your hungry and thirsty soul and meet your every need.  How do I know?  Because He has done this for me, praise the Lord!

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THE FALLEN BALLERINA

 

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This flower reminds me of a ballerina. The flower has grown old and fallen.  Age may take its toll of our bodies but our spirit should cause us to rise and live above aged bodies until we leave this earth.

The dancer pirouetted across the stage, she leaped, spun and posed with arms above her head. Her grace was as fluid as a bird on the wing. Her beauty is as undeniable as Dresden china.

As she danced a pain shot up her leg, she gasped and strove to complete the pas de deur. Instead, she crumpled into a heap on the floor in agony.  The crowd gasped, their star was down. Would she rise again?

OVERCOMING ABUSE

God loves you and I the fallen Ballerinas, with a white hot love that is beyond our wildest imagination.  We have no way to measure God’s love for us. All we have is Jesus as the yardstick of His love.

We, who have been abused physically, verbally and sexually,  we who feel ashamed as if it was our fault. We, who feel unclean and no amount of striving to assuage that feeling of unworthiness even by taking our abuser to court and winning, will appease that guilt and uncleanness. We, the fallen Ballerinas, are the chosen of God, he has sent Jesus to take the effects of that abuse from us and cleanse us, purge as deeply as our conscience from the consequences of violence through his death on the cross.  “How much more, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit…  cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.’  Heb. 9: 4. Let’s commit ourselves to the love of God and claim that deep cleansing from the effects of the abuse. We can rise to dance again on life’s stage, whole.

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The Chorus line of fuchia flowers. The Bible says we believers are surrounded by a greatt cloud of witnesses. God has stressed time and again he will not leave us or forsake us.  That is a proven fact.

NOT ALONE

Ballerina, you are not alone, you have a dance partner, Jesus. He is more than just a dance partner; he has made you the joint heir of his dance company. Jesus has given you everything the Father has given him.  As the Father’s child, his DNA is coursing through your being.  “And since we are his children, we will share his treasures – for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too.’ Romans 8: 17.

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The ant is addicted to the aphids on the fuchia.  Ants milk the aphids, the aphids milk the fuchia.  The flower provides a rich source for the aphids.  The Bible says God provides beyond our wildest imagination.

STOP

Stop what we are doing, striving through drugs, alcohol or whatever we’re hoping will take our pain away, look God in the eye, he loves us without reserve.  He has invited us to ‘sit at his table in the wilderness, in the face of our enemies, wander in green pastures, and though we have been through the valley of death, we will fear no evil.’  Psalm 23.

TO DANCE AGAIN

God has committed himself to a relationship with us. ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the Heavenly realms…’ Eph. 2: 6. We have risen like the Pheonix from the ashes, we who believe. Jesus, the embodiment of God’s love invites you, me, to rise as the Pheonix and dance whole and free on life’s stage.

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Get into the frame of God’s salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
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IT’S FINISHED.

 

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It is finished! What’s finished? Sin is finished. You mean we can indulge in all kinds of base and anti-social behaviour and know we won’t go to hell?  On the other hand, we can strip off anything that slows us down…especially those sins that wrap themselves tightly around our feet and trip us up…’ (Hebrews 12: 1-2) and believe and accept that Jesus killed off sin on the cross, giving the believers a new start.

THE CLOTH

I am currently hand embroidering a linen table cloth. The pattern comprises twelve peacocks forming a ring in a stylized design.  The embroidery is call Richelieu because much of the pattern is worked in bars and later the linen is cut away just leaving the bars.

I have stitched at it every evening and have completed eight birds.  I began the project in February 2018 when I traced the pattern and ironed it on to the linen and sewed the first stitches.  I estimate it will be June 2019 when I say, ‘It is finished!’

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Embroidery is an art form.  It should not be consigned to Grandmas’only.  Being a Christian should not be judged on church doctrine but on what Jesus himself taught.

NO STRUGGLE

I have kept working on the cloth constantly – two hours every evening. When I first became a Christian I started working on being good. Remaking myself to please God, so I believed. After failing very badly I gave up trying to be good, admitted it couldn’t be done. God, then, stepped in and revealed he had done it all for me. When I had become a Christian, Jesus filled me with himself. When I accept him he lives through me. That is why it is not up to me to struggle to live the Christian life.  My part today is to believe Jesus as Saviour and receive from him God’s abundant favour and the gift of goodness.

Jesus famous last words while hanging on the cross were, ‘It is finished!’ He meant he had taken our place, replacing our self-effort with his life indwelling us. Jesus has made us as perfect as he is perfect in spirit. We no longer have to struggle with sin.

Sin is not the issue any longer. Rejecting the finished work of Jesus is the issue. Do we accept Jesus, trust him with our life? or do we trust ourselves and our ability to be good and please God.

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Embroidery is a great way to relax after a hard day. The lifestyle of a Jesus follower is subject to ridicule, but the unearned favour of God more than makes up for being the butt of jokes and cruel comments.

 

 

THE PLAN

The plan is to work at the cloth until it is finished.  It is my greatest piece of embroidery, my ultimate work of art, my ‘piéce de résistance’. For Jesus, hanging on the cross was his greatest moment. He saved the world all we have to do is believe and accept him as Saviour and receive from him God’s abundant favour. However, I cannot make me in the same way as the cloth.  Only Jesus can renew me. I have accepted Jesus, ‘I am a new person,’ ‘It is no longer I that lives but Christ Jesus in me.’(Galatians 2:20. What appears to have been lost in one sense is more than gained in another.  Jesus has given me ‘more than we ever dared to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.’ (Ephesians 3: 20)