A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘Alone’ Category

Alone and Lonely



I spent as much time with Kari as I could. I loved her so much but didn’t know how to show it. I didn’t know what to do with her so I took her to McDonalds. 
We shared hamburgers, fries and a soda and she played in the playground.
I saw forlorn dads doing the same with their kids and I felt like a failure.
On one long weekend off, I called my ex-husband, James, to see if I could get Kari.
A woman answered, “Hello.”
“Uh, can I talk to James?”
When he got on the phone I asked, “Can I get Kari for the weekend?”
“She’s at her aunts.”
We didn’t have any relatives in the area, so I asked, “Who is that?”
“I’m married.”
Winter came in cold and blustery. I felt like a dead leaf as I tumbled around the streets of Memphis. Barely functioning, I had called in sick so many times I was about to lose my job. One afternoon I overheard the staff chaplain say “Earl.”
I interrupted, “Is he the Earl who was here before?”
“Yes,” he said.
“How long has he been back?” I demanded.
“About a week.”
“You tell him to get his ass up here right NOW!”
Earl arrived without calling. After “Hello,” he said, “About your message. I wasn’t in the office when John got there so he wrote down what you said and put it on the message board for all the chaplains to see.” (I might have said something about my cowboy boots.)
I hadn’t thought about everyone knowing what I said, or how he would feel. I hesitated then said, “I’m sorry,” and followed with, “Why are you back here?”
“I’m doing a second CPE unit.”
We didn’t hug, or even touch, but started eating supper together again.
As Christmas approached, I made sure Earl knew about the party on our floor. It was on my day off so I took Kari, who had just turned four, with me. When she met Earl, she leaned against his legs and chattered to him to keep his attention focused on her.
The day after I took Kari back to my ex-husband he called, “Who the hell is Earl?”
In Christ,
Berta
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Photo courtesy of Flickr
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Still a Long Way Off


The parable of the prodigal son was my story. I had a well-paying job I loved but had nothing else to fill my life. I wasted my money on physical things I thought would make me happy.  I only felt worse. 
I hated being alone so I sought the company of other people who also hated being alone. After each night out, each party, I was alone again.
Earl and I met and spent time together at the hospital. Without a word of condemnation or salvation from him, God’s love began to seep in to my heart. We began dating after a year. My partying friends noticed I drank less, cursed less and acted different.
My entire social structure collapsed in on me one night. Tears blurred my vision as I drove to Earl’s apartment. Through sobs, I told him, “I don’t know what to do. My friends won’t talk to me. They laughed when I talked about you.”
He held me close and I calmed down. He kissed my salty cheek and told me he loved me. We talked a while then he asked, “Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes.
Another year passed and I became a pastors’ wife. Suddenly I knew why my friends laughed when I spoke of Earl. I didn’t belong among church people. I didn’t deserve to be a wife—especially a pastors’ wife. My sins were too terrible, too many, too ugly, too harmful, too selfish, too damaging!
My shame ran deep. Like poison in my veins, it was killing me slowly and painfully. I knew I deserved the flames that were licking at my feet.
It took four more years for me to consider that God might love me in spite of me. I opened up to a small group of young Christian women and learned I wasn’t the first to feel defeated. When I cried out to God, I was amazed at how quickly I felt His presence. His peace filled my spirit and I felt His love for the first time.
I joined the church members the next Sunday as a fellow worshipper of God and faithful member of Christ’s church. I began courageously witnessing to God’s love, peace, grace and forgiveness in my life when and wherever God opened a door.
My Father has provided all I have needed and more than I deserve. He is faithful in all His promises and I am blessed to be His daughter.
“But while she was still a long way off, her father saw her and was filled with compassion for her; he ran to his daughter, threw his arms around her and kissed her” (Luke 15:21 NIV personalized by writer).
In Christ,
Berta
Friends, Remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God. May He bless you. 

My Cheeks Are Wet With Joy


 Alone.
I lie here in my room.
A month. Now a year.
How long, O Lord?
Abandoned as one once loved.
Separated by circumstances.
Isolated and forgotten.
A tear tendrils down my cheek.
I hear one say.
“I’d be crazy.”
I reply.
“Welcome to my world.”
Satan hears my weakness.
And takes just that moment.
To whisper in my ear.
“God doesn’t care.”
In my tears, God reminds me.
Satan can’t read my thoughts.
He only hears my voice.
I lift it up to God.
My worship of God reviles him.
I bind and cast him out.
He has no authority.
I am a child of God.
 I thank Jesus for his sacrifice.
His cleansing healing blood.
And for this life he gave me.
Days of bad and good.
Even for this day.
Overwhelmed by loneliness.
I praise his holy name.
My cheeks are wet with joy.
By Berta Dickerson

Besetting Sins

After my baptism at age 28, I didn’t feel “saved.” Did I not get it? Am I still the same? What did I do wrong?

Over time, I couldn’t break free from many of my sins. Each time I sinned, I confessed then I sinned again. I couldn’t stop the cycle. I didn’t understand why and I felt trapped.

I hated myself and my life. I suffered from debilitating loneliness as I pulled away from people who loved me.  I lost hope of ever experiencing victory.

Through a Christian ministry, I was encouraged to read TheBondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. Suddenly aware of the spiritual realm, I learned about spiritual footholds and attacks of condemnation.

Even though I’d made a profession of faith, Satan had access to my spirit. Sins of my past that I still felt guilt over had allowed footholds. He wanted me to suffer and believe God couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive me.

Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and prayer in His name breaks the bonds Satan has on us. Therefore, we must turn to Jesus and resist Satan to experience freedom in Christ.

I was right to confess my sin, but I had failed to follow through. Binding Satan through the power of Jesus blood will set you free.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV).

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2 NIV).

Pray this prayer, or your own, out loud to protect you and your family from bondage:

Father, I praise You and thank You for the forgiveness of sin Jesus blood supplies, and I bind Satan with that power and in Jesus name. Satan, I bind you and cast you out of my life and the lives of my (family/children). (I’m/we/they are) covered by the blood and you have no authority in (my) life. In Jesus name, Amen

In Christ,

Berta

If this devotion blessed you, would you consider sharing it with your friends? Thanks, Berta

To comment or subscribe go to:  http://snapshots-bertad.blogspot.com

Loss, Loneliness and Leaving

My family in the Bottoms 1974

 I grew up in Meredosia, Illinois: Dosh—a small town of less than one thousand people. Dad sent Mom away when I was eleven. He was abusive and all my sisters and I had were each other. Our house burned to the ground that Christmas. A new house trailer replaced it, but we were on survival mode only. When our stepmother, Mary, and her four kids joined our family, we were isolated from the world we knew.

 
We moved to Arenzville—first into a trailer then an old farmhouse, then back to Dosh to the old Standard Oil gas station. Mary forced us to make and wear floor-length dresses and skirts every day. We didn’t play anymore. Then we moved to “the bottoms,” across the river in Brown County, where we lived in a converted school bus. I didn’t continue in school, opting to work the land.

Winters were the hardest. No matter where I lived after Mom left, I was cold—I still can’t stand to be cold. I left the bottoms at seventeen and never went back there or to Dosh.

Through the advent of Facebook, I’ve reconnected with a few people in or from Dosh. When we talk, I feel a deep loss. I don’t remember things they say I did or we did together, and I missed that “coming-of-age” time with prom and other school activities. It seems my sisters and I weren’t the only kids who suffered some type of abuse growing up there. As we share we are helping each other to heal.

Today Angela said, “Seriously, all of us know life can just suck, at times. But there is something in each of us that can overcome those times. I think Berta got an extra dose of the overcoming stuff… so… Super Powers is my answer.”

After lamenting about my despair and death wish, I realized I do have Super Power. I wrote:

“I didn’t know God knew me in the days I thought I was living in hell. Even after I made a profession of faith, I felt guilty. How could He love me? Didn’t He know how bad I was? Yes He did. It was my problem with self-deprecating guilt. When I quit hating myself and accepted His love and forgiveness, I forgave myself for doing what I’d done to myself, and others. God is my Super Power.”

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5 NIV).

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

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Planting Seeds

Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.

Though I had made a profession of faith in my twenty’s, I was far from Christ. I felt I was drowning in a sea of personal sin I didn’t dare share with my Christian friends.
Fear of their judgement scared me in to my own private hell.

Then I went to a retreat where I heard Christians talk about their sins and God’s forgiving heart. My shell shattered and I cried out to Him and found freedom in the love and forgiveness He held for me. I made a promise then, “I’m going to tell everyone I meet about Jesus.” And I did. Friends turned away and “perceived enemies” became brothers and sisters.

Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.

The cost was high in body, mind and spirit, but God’s blessings are phenomenal. In His infinite wisdom, He prepared the way. Earl had served as a hospital chaplain on a reconstructive surgery floor where many of the patients had a spinal cord injury. In rehab, the staff taught us how to take care of me at home. According to them, I would live to within five years of my natural lifespan if I had something to look forward to and got out of the house routinely.

Earl took me on nearly every pastoral visit and preachers meeting he went to, but I just leaned back in my wheelchair with my eyes closed. He encouraged me to keep a journal and try teaching Sunday school. He loved me even when I failed.

As I filled those roles with study and preparation, I learned more than I taught. I read the story about how David sinned but was a man after God’s heart.* Job lost everything yet said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”** I began sharing my story of God’s faithfulness again and grew stronger in my faith each time. I wrote my brief story and passed it out as a tract to everyone who spoke to me.

While in a small group studying Steve Harper’s Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition many years later, a friend pointed out my seemingly fearless sharing of my faith. I made light of it, “I just tell what God has done for me, but I’ve never led anyone to accept Christ.”

She said, “You may not have, but you have planted many seeds. You may never know until you get to heaven how many people are there because of your testimony.”

Those words have encouraged me to be bold as I tell my stories of His faithfulness to friends and strangers. Old and young. Churched and un-churched. In stores, in doctors offices or on the telephone with sales associates. Earl says, “Imagine that, Berta’s talking.”

Jesus tells us to make disciples. You too can plant and water to prepare hearts for God’s harvest. Trust Him and tell what He has done for you.

Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NRSV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Acts 13:22 KJV
**Job 13:15 KJV

For One of the Least…

When I was eleven, my father drove away with my mother and one small suitcase. On his return, he said, “Girls, your mother has moved to California.” My three sisters and I thought we’d never see her again.

The loss of my mother at such a young age left me feeling abandoned, rejected and unwanted.

Sometimes I’m still that scared little girl, and I see emotional insecurity in my sister’s lives as well. We each cling to what we have—hoarding the good feelings, loving our children in way’s we weren’t, yet empathizing with people in need who cross our paths. We open our hearts, and sometimes our homes, to strangers and friends alike.

Jesus came to us 2,000 years ago as the Christ-child. Though born in a stable, and into a poor carpenters’ family, He was gifted with gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. The Wise Men set a precedent for us to follow. We celebrate by giving gifts to each other, but it isn’t our birthday.

Each year at Christmas, Earl’s father asked us to donate to a local charity in his name in lieu of physical gifts. He set a precedent in our family. We, of course have our favorites, but any gift given in Christian love is a gift worth giving.

If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, or even if you have, I ask you to pray and consider giving a gift of love to someone in need this Christmas season.

Lord Jesus, in this season of gift giving I pray that my offerings will make a difference. Amen

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

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