I had an unusual and exciting time last night. While opening a closet to get some paper towels, an ugly black rat suddenly jumped at me from out of nowhere. As if a flying rodent wasn’t enough to totally freak me out, it also ran right across my BARE feet, then scampered off SOMEWHERE into my house. Eeeeeewwww!
Once I finally stopped flailing my arms around violently and screaming with panic, I vacuumed and mopped my entire house, then took a steaming hot shower. It was a fruitless attempt to get rid of the feeling that the disgusting little creature had left with me. I guess I’m a little OCD, but I was pretty creeped out.
Meanwhile, my dog sat by quietly watching the drama unfold without so much as a whimper in my defense. I’m convinced that he and the rat are cohorts with some grand scheme to steal food from my pantry.
As a result of the random rodent attack, I became vigilant in preparing for an ongoing battle with the nasty critter. First, I researched “exterminating rats” on my computer for almost an hour and developed a plan. Then, I set four old-school mousetraps around my house. Opening closet doors was no longer a mindless act, but done with focus…and a broom-in-hand expecting a fight. Last, but not least, with great confidence and determination I declared out loud to the tiny hidden monster, “This war is ON!”
As I began searching my house this morning, in hopes to find my nemesis helplessly stranded in one of my traps, I began thinking about spiritual warfare.
My parents gave me the chore of weeding our garden as a kid, which I wasn’t very fond of. It was a constant, grueling battle between me and the weeds. If I didn’t do my job properly the nasty intruders would eventually choke out and kill the fruit we intended to grow.
The Bible has a similar warning against bad roots. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.”
If you’ve been hurt deeply by someone else, this is much easier said than done. I’ve been abused, molested, raped, conned, cheated on, lied to, slandered and mocked. I also raised my 21-year-old son without a dime of child support. Those things wounded me deeply and hurt for many years. However, God repeatedly pushed me to forgive. The closer I grew to Him, the more I found peace and freedom from the torment that consumed me. Then I began to live in victory, rather than as a victim.
However, was forgiveness enough? From time to time I still find myself thinking, “Why have they gotten away with their crimes? It’s not right. I wish they’d get what they deserve!”
Bitterness is like a weed. It has roots that grow fast and strong, which attempt to choke out the good fruit in my life. If I entertain vengeful thoughts for long, my heart starts racing and I become angry all over again. I was thinking about this a few days ago as I was driving to a prison in South Georgia to encourage inmates. God keeps using my experiences to help others who are hurting, which is amazing. But He has a funny way of always teaching me something too. There’s no doubt I had a divine appointment that day…and not just for the inmate’s benefit.
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:8-12
I marvel over the fact that Jesus loves me, despite the numerous foolish things I have done. But I’m even more astonished that He took the punishment I deserved, so that I could have eternal life with our heavenly Father. It is my earnest prayer that you would know Him as I do. The same power that raised Christ from the dead can completely transform your life as well.
In celebration of Easter this year, I spent the afternoon drawing this stained glass window that I created. It depicts the resurrection of Christ. Happy Easter from Rambunctious Kid!!
The Resurrection – Digital Drawing
Prints of my art, like this one, are available at firstname.lastname@example.org
My drawings that are posted on www.jenniferleighallison.com and my social networks are ©Copyright Jennifer Allison. They shall not be used for any reason without prior written permission.
Growing up, I loved watching shows about adventures into outer space. In fact, I took my first baby steps in front of my parent’s black and white TV, while we watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps onto the surface of the moon in 1969. How cool is that?
Neil Armstrong must have been incredibly brave to travel to the moon in a shooting rocket. But despite his courage, he was still required to wear a special helmet and gear for survival. His space suit was a complex outer garment designed to keep him alive, safe and mobile for work outside normal earthly accommodations. As you can imagine, proper maintenance and care of his space suit was necessary to successfully complete the mission.
As humans we have been given special suits as well, which help us accomplish our purpose on planet earth. Similar to an astronaut’s spacesuit, our bodies are a complex system designed specifically for the kind of work we are called to do. However, there are all kinds of problems we can run into with our earth suits. For example, disease and disabilities…plus the fact they’re very susceptible to sin and temptation. That’s why we must take extra precautions to care for them properly.
As a ten-year-old kid, I was an avid collector. My bedroom closet was full of things I had found, which included animal skulls, empty bottles, various insects pinned to a Styrofoam board, and every Star Wars trading card they ever made. I was proud of my collections and added to them whenever I got the chance. I knew my playthings were different from other girls my age who had closets full of dolls and stuffed animals, but having tea parties wasn’t in my realm of interest…being a scientist or pioneer was.
One rainy day when I was trapped inside, I found that my trading cards were great for building massive card houses. I spent hours meticulously stacking each one up to build a paper empire. The thick rough edges made the cards much better building blocks for strong, sturdy structures than the slick Bicycle playing cards I had tried previously. My fortress was as high as I could reach while standing on my toes and it covered the span of the floor in my playroom. I even set up action figures like GI Joe, the Bionic Woman, and the Lone Ranger around the perimeter to guard it from enemies…like my little brother.
I grew up during the seventies, which means there weren’t video games, hundreds of television stations, or even cell phones to play with as a kid. I had to use my imagination for entertainment. My parents allowed me to play outside all day as long as I came home for dinner, so every minute was full of adventure as I explored the world around me.
If nobody else was around to play with, I enjoyed watching the ants march in the dirt. Their ability to move large breadcrumbs and work as a group carrying them into anthills was truly fascinating. I desperately wished it was possible to shrink down and experience the world from their vantage point. I was curious if they feared me as a giant and even wondered if they thought I was God. I talked to them with gentle words of affirmation and encouraged their hard work, hoping their tiny wiggling antennae wouldn’t interpret me as a threat so they wouldn’t attempt to hide.
When I was about seven years old, I went outside one day to climb my favorite tree. I looked forward to hiding in the branches behind the camouflage of leaves, where I always found true peace. However, when I got there I noticed something, or someone, very peculiar standing beside the tree. And whoever it was, they were watching me. It made me very apprehensive because I had never seen anything, or anyone, like it before.
The bizarre non-human being was as tall as I was, with a bright blue body and skinny legs. It had large creepy eyes that looked like they were outlined with bright yellow war paint. It wore a thick colorful robe that trailed on the ground for several feet behind it, much like a king would wear. However, instead of being lined with diamonds and jewels, it was embedded with dozens of round eyes that carefully watched my every move. It scared me terribly, but it also sparked an intense curiosity that prevented me from running away, and somehow compelled me to walk closer…slowly.
Laughter really is the best medicine and it doesn’t even have any bad side effects…unless, of course, you have an annoying snort when you chuckle that forces milk out of your nostrils while you’re trying to enjoy a good meal with friends.
I have faced numerous adversaries in my life. They include childhood bullies and even truly evil people who assaulted me in various ways, including sexual abuse, rape, stalking and harassment. As a result, I spent many years feeling like the world was out to get me. I didn’t trust anybody. I constantly looked over my shoulder for the next bad guy and always assumed the worst. I was overcome by fear…even paralyzed at times to go anywhere new.
However, after receiving counseling, participating in support groups, and diving into the Bible, I eventually learned how to turn my negative experiences into positive life lessons. I surrendered my life, burdens and fears over to God, and He led me on an amazing journey of recovery and healing, and even turned my experiences around for good. Now I’m not paranoid anymore, but I’m prepared. I’m not crippled with fear, but I’m wise. He restored my confidence in myself and other people. He has even used me to encourage others who are hurting, which has been a truly awesome blessing. Take THAT all you evil monsters!!!
I drew this picture as I was thinking about all this. It’s a self-portrait of me as Little Red Riding Hood, but not the naive little girl who nonchalantly wanders into dangerous places. It’s the girl who is aware and ready, and brave enough to venture into the unknown, despite her emotions.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
My drawings on www.jenniferleighallison.com and other social networks are ©Copyright Jennifer Allison. They shall not be used for any reason without prior written permission.
The hardest part about having Sensory Processing Disorder is never knowing when sensory overload might occur. There are certain environments I know will create anxiety and stress for me, and I avoid them as much as I can. But there are other times when a whirlwind of sensory input might assault me suddenly and without warning. The result is a seemingly random meltdown (at least to innocent bystanders, or to my mother who usually gets frantic text messages from me).
When I get overwhelmed, my brain immediately goes into survival mode. If I have no control over the bombarding stimuli, then my heart races at full panic mode until I’m able to escape. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that there’s no real threat, or that the sounds wouldn’t bother a “normal” person. It still hurts. I guess my brain has a mind of its own.
I recently discovered that if I get involved in a project, like drawing or painting, I can cope with a LOT more sensory input than usual. My focus is so intense when I draw that the world just melts away…along with my anxiety, doubt and pain.