Category Archives: God & Religion

Articles in my Personal Blog oftentimes leaning towards the spiritual side of things.

Reflections on Suicide and Heaven

Standard
Suicide by Amber Christian Osterhout

Suicide by Amber Christian Osterhout

So I recently purchased a new bible, (as I tend to do when I reach pivotal points in my life – but that’s another story) and I decided to look through its list of articles included to see if it has any on baptism as I am planning on being baptized this coming Sunday (assuming my pastor gives the okay). rather than finding any articles on baptism as I had expected to find, I found an article that definitely caught my attention. The article was listed as “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp.

Judging by the name of the article, I figured I would love it or hate it. I have found in a number of the articles included in my new bible, that I am in disagreement with a number of the articles as many of them have to do with denominational blue laws that have nothing to do with biblical laws and oftentimes lack the references I would expect to find in an Apologetics Study Bible. Anyways, holding my breath I turned to the page to see if this article would be yet another failure. About halfway through I had to stop to wipe a tear from my eye as I had finally found someone who sees it the way I do.

You see, I believe that if you were a born again Christian, and you broke down (be it mental illness or misplaced hope) your sins are still forgiven by Jesus’ sacrifice. In Sharp’s article, he states “…Christ’s death paid for all our sins – past, present, and future.” he also goes on to give an example: “If a Christian cheats on a test at school, then dies in a car wreck on the way home, that sin is still forgiven isn’t it?”

The hard truth is, a sin is a sin, many people would like to label one sin as worse than another (myself included), but that’s just now how it works, Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The passage makes no reference as to what levels people have sinned, but it is simply black and white. So, that person who cheated on their test is no worse a sinner than the man who kills themselves in a moment of weakness and hopelessness. “There is no sin that places a born again Christian beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness” (Sharp, 1339).

So am I condoning suicide? NO! Everyone’s life was given to them for a special God-given purpose, and it is our responsibility to give our lives over to God so that he may show us that purpose and help us though our though times.  Suicide is not the answer. But, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, even to good Christians.

Some people may argue that suicide is murder, but Sharp argues in his article that there are many murderers in the bible that were forgiven by God – even the Apostle Paul was one of these murderers. So why would God not forgive the poor soul that resorts to suicide? I cannot see the loving God turn away a hurting soul that had trusted in him and not lost faith in the Lord’s eternal loving forgiveness.  In conclusion, I will leave you with the words of Ryan Sharp:

Instead of getting lost in a myriad of arguments and counter-arguments, it’s best to look at what God’s Word says is the “admission ticket” to heaven. In 1 John 5:12, we read “The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son does not have life.” the recipe for eternal life is faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by His goodness and works, not our own. Saying that confessing Christians are excluded from heaven if they happen to commit the sin of suicide misses the fact and risks adding works (good deeds) as a requirement for salvation. As John Says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you man know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Apologetics Study Bible for StudentsThe article referenced in this blog post is called “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp; it can be found on page 1339 in The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, edited by: Sean McDowell.

Advertisements

Learning to Dream again…

Standard

Recently I have spent a good amount of my time focusing on developing my life goals and dreams. Sad to say, it seems that I have greatly lapsed in this skill since my school days, so now I am starting over from scratch as an adult. So the following are some questions I have snagged from Ravi Vora. I do not know him personally, however, I did find the post I have linked to particularly helpful in stimulate my brain back into dreaming big once again. So without further ado, here goes!

Q: If you had $100 million dollars what would you do? Money is no issue. just imagine what you would do with your life if money didn’t matter.

A: I would freely give back to all of my friends who have helped me along the way so far repaying their endless generosity with interest and enjoy changing their lives for the better as they have for me in the past. I would also have my own family and raise my children up teaching them about the world by showing them through travel and historical study. I want to be able to support any and all of their talents so that they can make a name for themselves.

Q: What do you think about when you think about Nothing? I believe that when you think about nothing, you are thinking about what you love. When I lay down at night and clear my head for sleep, something always comes rushing back in. The things I love most.

A: When I clear my head an think about nothing, the things that most often cross my mind are having a fmaily and raising them. I also think about having the time and money to adequately enjoy my hobbies and passions like my Viking Age reenactment, building guitars, and my photography. Mostly my thoughts are centered around raising my family to enjoy my passions with me.

Q: What makes you happy every day? Just one thing, however big or small. Expand upon this and you will be closer to figuring out your dream.

A: Jason make me happy every day by letting me know that I am loved and cherished. he makes me feel as it his love and blind affection are completely unconditional for me. All I’ve ever really wanted is to love and be loved and he provides me with this every day.

Q: If you had 60 minutes to live what would you do? Sometimes in your last moments you make crazy decisions. These are our gut instincts and can be associated to our big dream.

A: I would gather my dearest friends and relatives and tell them all that I love them. I would hope that Jason would honor my by marrying me (before God) before I die and spend my last moments with the family that loves me wholly and completely.

Q: What is one thing about your life that you would change right now? Got it? Now change it.

A: I would fix my finances and be ready to get married… I want a family and the love that I believe I will be able to express once I get to have a family of my own.

Q: How do you define success? From having a million stamps to having a million friends on Facebook, success is a general term that each of us define for ourselves. Once you know what your definition of success is, you will be able to go for it.

A: I believe that someone  is successful when they have found what  is meaningful in their lives and have afforded themselves the opportunity to balance that with their spirituality and home life. This also means that one has found a functional and lawful way of achieving this in society.

Q: If you wrote your autobiography, how would you want people to remember you? If you want people to remember you a hero, then start working towards that goal.

A: I want to be remembered as someone who has overcome the many turmoils in life and loved freely, laughed, often and gave much to the world.

Q: If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be? Making a concrete choice will lead you to what you need and will start to drive you towards that place.

A: For me it is hard to choose just one place. But I guess where I would like to go most of all someday is to Disneyland with my (future) family. I want to show them the place where everyone can be a child just like my father showed me.

Q: What is one thing that interests you more than anything else? Whether it’s a hobby, and object, or a person, there’s something you’re interested in so much that it drives you. figure out why you are so interested in it and you will find your big dream.

A: The one thing that drives me is the idea of having a family, Raising them and loving them. I’m interested in it because I love and want to be loved without it ever being circumstantial.

Q: What do you hate doing? Sometimes you can find what you want to do by eliminating what you dislike doing.

A: I hate when I am forced to be false and work below my skill level. I don’t like fulfilling obligations to those who belittle me because in the end they are always going to tear me down.

Q: Who do you admire most? If they have what you want then maybe they are living your dream (or have lived it). Figure out how to live that dream too.

A: I admire those who are able to love, be loved, and love themselves freely. I admire those who have a healthy and happy family life

Q: What is one thing you would change about the world? Now go change it.

A: I’d change all the propaganda that teaches people to be one thing or another because society says so rathewr than to follow their passions and fulfill their responsibilities to God and their loved ones.

Q: What are you doing when you feel the most alive? Is it  skydiving? Writing? Speaking in front of people? Whatever gives you the thrill of living is a great indication as to what you want to really do with your life.

A: I feel the most alive when I am able to forget all the many demons in my life and rather spend my time freely loving on those who deserve it and return their love to me as well.

Q: What was the happiest moment of your life? Find a way to make that moment last the rest of your life.

A: I don’t think it’s happened yet, but rather is going to happen wen I can finally say I have a family.

Q: What is one thing you would change about your past? When we look into our past, we can see what will affect our future. So you can either figure out a way to make that a positive part of your past, or learn from it and move forward. Either way, you’re finding the change to point to your dream.

A: I would have appreciated my family more when we actually got along in my youth. I wish I could have known what I would be mission before it was actually missing.

The Wonders Never Cease…

Standard

So I finally got another job… and this one doesn’t seem too shady or anything which is a relief… It seems like all here is out there are shady schemes or scams someone is trying to pull on some poor unsuspecting person who is completely desperate for a job. It’s sad to see how much evil that there is out there in our world today.

It seems so often that people use our world’s sad condition as a sign that the end times are coming… but I don’t know about that… I just don’t see the signs equaling what others try to denote them as. I guess I’m just blessed with an over-abundance of hope versus the average person. Where so many people see inevitable doom I am fortunately able to see hope and room for growth and improvement.

I will admit that I cannot always see things so happy and great… I am also burdened with a low self esteem, and a tendency to also see a hopeless future referring to my self. But, I blame my upbringing. I was raised in a house where everyone is mentally ill. I am half convinced that my family is cursed. From time to time I have fought some fierce battles inside myself desperate to hold on to what shreds of sanity remain, and I can say that I am foru fortunate enough to claim a general success.

Things are starting to look up for me. I’ve been fighting a lengthy and tiring spiritual battle for the last few months. I’d forgotten that once you grab on to a faith that is genuine that’s when the real demons come out to test you and make you let go. It hasn’t been easy; but I have been determined to hold on. The service last week on mothers day spoke to me in a much needed way… which is great. That little bit that spoke to me extra special seemed to be the thing that broke me loose from those bonds that those demons had a hold of me and allowed me to come out of my hole again. the funny thing is, I can’t tell you exactly what it was that did it though; just that it happened.

Sure my problems are still problems; but suddenly they are so much easier to deal with. Money is still an issue; and it will probably continue to be for some time. However, whatever it was that was holding me back from fully opening myself to God (which seems silly I know, given the whole he knows everything) no longer has that hold on me… I’ve been able to write in my prayer journal again and while my entries may be short, they are consistent.

I’ve been able to ask god to show me his will, and to mean it… I believe there is a significant difference there… and by doing so I have been blessed. I asked God to help me find a job that he wants me to have, and within days I have a decent job offer. I see the blessings beginning to abound in my life again. So this is good.

I can only hope that God also blesses you in the many ways he has blessed me as well. It’s amazing how the wonders never cease.

Looking back through my memories…

Standard

So I have been spending a lot of my new found free time posting up most of my old poetry from 2001 and 2002… It’s funny how it all feels so different now… a lot of it was so innocent – yet I had no clue.. and still it was not that innocent at the same time. I had already endured and experienced so much by then. It’s just so hard to believe that that was the time that made me into who I am today.

Now I see a lot of the lasting effects of those times, how I see the world, how I act, how I feel, and probably most importantly how I give large pieces of myself away to other people and causes… A lot of the stuff that concerned me then is almost comedic… while I find it ironic that I have run back to my faith of that time as well.

A few funny ironies abound through it all… At that time I was a youth leader at Impact at Life Center… Rex was one of the main pastors there… it’s kind of funny as well, because now he is the main pastor at my new church. Also from that time, I thought I would need Tommy forever… and love him… I mean, he was my first love afterall… without his influence I seriously doubt that I would be half the woman I am today… Now he’s married and living his life… we have generally lost touch except for Facebook…

But that is all okay. I am back in God’s graces after my years of anger at him for not stepping in when I heard my dad crying to him for a break from the pain… I have been blessed too. I have found a deep love with an old friend… we are so compatible in so many ways, and yet we continue to grow towards each other. I am happy and I see a future… something I have always wanted to share… and now I truly believe that I have found that someone to share it all with… if you told me I’d be saying this back then – especially considering who it is… I’d have died of laughter… and so would he… but God works in funny ways… and I am blessed for it. I can only hope Jason is blessed for it too.

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Standard

Okay well maybe not completely different, probably just more of the same really. My life is changing more and more… it’s just crazy. Sometimes I feel like I am in this endless cycle that just repeats itself over and over again only with different names, places, and faces. yet now this time it’s a lot of the same names and faces… but all in different contexts…

So, I guess I will start on the religious front. I have been growing and growing in the lord which is awesome, but I guess that  couldn’t last too long without a struggle… so here it is; Spiritual warfare, and it sucks. My whole world has been falling down around me and my health is failing alongside it all.  Jason has been doing everything he can to try to help keep me afloat and growing — and his efforts have made a significant difference. I feel bad though because I know he wants to be my hero and fix it all and unfortunately he can’t. I am so afraid that I will drag him down with me. He keeps telling me its okay, but I know it affects him which worries me… I hate to see him hurting and I hate being a burden as well.

This is not my first bout of spiritual warfare since I accepted Christ back into my heart, I had a huge bout of it while I was in STC (Special Training Company) at Boot Camp. My SDI (Senior Drill instructor) and Chaplain helped me though it which was awesome… they kept me out of MHU (Mental Health Unit) for the duration of my stay there, a lot of my problems was indeed my health back then as well. Truth is I haven’t been 100% since before boot camp.I wasn’t healing and then I started having nightmares… HORRIBLE nightmares… The most vivid was the one that liked to repeat itself regularly…

WARNING: The following paragraph is very graphic skip to the next paragraph if you cannot handle gory creepy evil stuff…

In my nightmares I would dream of this post apocalyptic world where demon-zombie entities terrorized those of us who were left… It was more vivid than any horror movie has ever been and probably ever will be. They would attack innocent people and commit the worst atrocities. the most vivid image that still terrorizes me from time to time was when I witnessed (in my dream of course) one of these evil entities ripping a woman’s unborn child from her womb and devouring in front of her before consuming her piece by piece as well… It was stuff like that constantly terrorized my dreams…

So my SDI allowed me and a select few other girls who had a strong grasp on our Marine Corps “knowledge” (aka all the textbook type stuff they teach you at boot camp i/e history, customs, specs, etc.) to read novels during our study times in order to keep us motivated (and in my case sane)… It helped immensely. My Chaplain gave me various verses to reference and helped distract me with a small bible collection in my footlocker of all the free versions he was given to distribute to recruits… along with a number of tracts and whatnot…  It’s amazing how those simple small things got me though it all.

But now this is different, I am in the real world not sheltered from society and protected like I was at Recruit training… now I have to worry about money, rent, and food. Now I have a dog that depends on me. Moses Helps me through it all now… When I have my night terrors (although the dreams tend to be flashbacks of my father’s suicide and/or alternate realities where I am tormented by my family and my memories, and my current life situations… Very much like the trippy dreams in the movie Shutter Island.

The dreams aren’t the only thing attacking me either. I am battling a waking depression that has slowly seeped in and took a hold of me while I was on a business trip to Yakima last week and tried to get me on Sunday while I was at church. It was so bad in fact that I just sat down when I was helping Jason set up for Sunday School and zoned out… Church helped in the end, Rex (our pastor) gave a great sermon that used the example of a Simpsons episode and how it is important to lead by example and to be missionaries… Living the Christian lifestyle… It lightened the load very much, however, I still feel this ever-tightening noose… And it’s everything for me to not crack at times.

But I do know this, I will get though it. God will prevail as he always does. And most importantly I know that God is in fact on my side…

And now for something kind of related but still completely different…

In reference to my failing health; It’s a bleeping mystery. I’ve had this rash that started when I was sick back in January and it has just been getting exponentially worse as I go along. While I was in Yakima I started getting sicker with my stomach problem (which is still not ‘cured’ and now I am unable to afford my prescription for Protonix — a 30 day supply for the GENERIC is over $120!) and my rash spread ever further and now I have a new symptom, some of the spots actually hurt under the skin… like one of my ribs will get sharp pains and feel like it has cracked or it will have a dull ache for hours at a time without anything even touching it…

So I went to St. Joe’s ER last night and had them look at it all.. They weren’t at all concerned about my generally feeling ill and nauseous so much as the rash that covers my body from toe to scalp. Truth is they had no clue as to what to diagnose me as… So they concluded that it was “dermatitis” (which is a fancy word for “rash”) and sent me home with a few prescriptions for anti inflammitories and benedryl for itching… I am also to see a dermatologist ASAP so I have an Appointment for Thursday… Hopefully they will be able to figure it all out then… I pray it is not too serious.

I also need to quit my job. When they hired me they told me it was a M-F 9-6 job that also required 2 Saturdays a month… However in reality I am driving a shit ton and my car is taking a beating for it, I am not getting paid even remotely adequate for gas, and I am working 10-12 hours for only 8 hours a day. I cannot do this and I cannot find another Job while doing this, so I have to quit… I mean this job has me literally losing my hair!!!!

So yeah, as it stands I am looking at unemployment in the eye, I need to find a new place for me and Moses to live, (although that is somewhat handled… ) and I still don’t know what is wrong with me… on the plus side? I have Jason, and I love him, and he loves me and takes such good care of me… He’s a real source of strength and wonder for me… it’s amazing!

God’s Stepping in…

Standard

So life’s gone a bit nutty lately and everything has changed, while it’s not all necessarily good per se, I feel like it is.

First off God’s really opened my eyes again which is glorious and so my faith is growing again by leaps and bounds; I can’t say I can take credit for this all, but Jason (my new boyfriend – more on that later) has really helped me a lot.
He has me reading “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller… This book is great! It’s all about Christian spirituality without being too preachy and is not afraid to talk about what’s wrong with the church along side what is right… it covers a lot of issues that I have which is nice because I have something I can share an affinity with.
I also went to Jason’s church (which is up in Kirkland) and I swear I just knew this place is what is right for me… it was great. The pastor is actually one of the old youth pastors from Life Center from back in the days when I was doing impact and he speaks awesome… Sitting in sermon was a new experience for me… I was so thirsty that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, it was awesome.
I really feel like god is working with my life to rearrange and fix it into what he wants it to be, so I am just trying to submit to his will. I lost my job; but that is okay really I was lucky enough to have a little money left from my tax return so hopefully I will be able to make it okay until I get a new one. I know there’s got to be something else out there for me that is better…
As for Jason, we have known each other for about 14 years, as he was one of my brother’s friends back in the day. However we’ve been pretty close friends for the last 8 years. Even when I was living in California we were in a reasonable amount of contact… the funny thing is it never really dawned on us that we should be an item…
We planned a pub crawl as we were pretty much the last single ones standing a couple weeks ago and in planning that we got to talking a lot about what our hopes and dreams are in life, you know the deep rooted ones like me wanting to be able to be a stay at home mother with my children and build guitars in my own wood shop… He has his dreams too and it’s amazing how spot on we are with each others hopes dreams and goals in life. I guess that is probably what sparked it… but when the pub crawl came around, magic happened. after that weekend we waited a couple days hardly able to stop talking to each other…
We sat down to Coffee and asked ourselves what is going on and determined that we’re going to go for it. We are being smart about things and set down the ground rules, like my SCA and viking stuff and his business. I really believe in him and he believes in me. I feel like god has put us together and is blessing us.
The weird thing is because we’ve been close friends for so long, it’s like we’re skipping that whole getting to know you stage of the relationship… I mean it’s not like we’re engaged, but it’s something we talk about possibly happening someday once we’ve met some of our current goals. It’s so nice though, he’s amazing.
But what happened with Spyder you ask? Well, he pretty much cut contact to me and so I had to just snip those heartstrings out. I know I said I love him, and I always have as a friend… as I do allow myself to love freely, but perhaps I let myself get too caught up in the moment? I still care for him, I just had to admit defeat and call him a good friend… it’s funny – once I did that God puts Jason right there…. and Jason is a much better match for me anyways. And I am working to not say things too early this time…

Make me yours.

Standard

Beating through a dark path
attempting to reach th light
I want to see the future unfold
in a glorious song of worship
a loud song of praise
I want to see lives change for the better
and turn towards your way
I want battles overcome so I can
follow you all of my days…

Words will never express
what I see now
Will I ever see the sign?
Did you take this heart of mine?
Did I ask for your way every day?
Oh father please change me
Make me yours.