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[ Testimony ] so...real life, starts...now?!?!

yes, yes; me, yet again.

I needed miracles, another chance, redemption...I needed Jesus. I didn't "get it" until The Lord moved on my heart and I got genuinely, truly saved, a bit less than 5 years ago. And...now?

I started as a barely patched up, brain damaged, weakling. One of "society's rejects," basically. A lot of it was my own sins. That's difficult for me to acknowledge, even now, but...yeah. But, like anyone else, it was a combination of factors: sin, satan, self, death, and the world. With a long standing diagnosis of "narcissistic personality disorder" (NPD), one can assume that "self" played an unusually big role in my (quick) destruction.

Wow. God is good! I tested + for HIV over 10 years ago. Since I was one of "society's rejects," I was never given treatment. I probably had cancer, which is more common in HIV/AIDS people than in the general population, so the two are/were undoubtedly interrelated. Oh, and I was given heavy, involuntary shock treatments and a brain operation, to make me "more manageable." And now...

...I'm 33 years old. I'm a decent height now, more aesthetically pleasing in the face than in years past. I don't have the weight of my own sins and things that were done to me written all over me, not now. I somehow managed to destroy most of my follicles (just a lil tip: go easy on the peroxide, m'kay?), and now I have ridiculously thick hair, even.

I still haven't pursued treatment for HIV/AIDS. Its like this...when I was sick, nobody cared to help. I was on the discard pile, basically, which explains a lot of the "psychiatric treatment," the non-treatment of the HIV, etc. At this point, I'm remarkably healthy, bright eyed, even my IQ estimate is (somehow...) higher, so I think I'll pass on anti-retrovirals and all that jazz until and unless I --need-- it. Also...and this is part pride, part just...I dunno...I get enough being a "mental patient," even with my "good family" behind me. I'm not really gung ho about adding "AIDS patient" to the stigma pile, especially since The Lord has willed that I be healthy, for this season of my life.

My parents were working class when I was born, worked hard, were respectable middle class when I messed up, and now they're more...genteel, I guess. They worked hard, The Lord blessed their efforts, and I'm thankful. Mama's retired, which I think means they're doing well financially. I imagine -most- parents would be quick to get rid of me, given the opportunity. Mine...praise God, they supported me even when 99.xyz% of parents would have sent me off somewhere, and now we seem to have reconciled, by the grace of God (!!!).

For obvious reasons, I'm big on mercy, compassion, even straight up pity, especially for "the least of these." The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus Christ reaching out to the untouchables of society and healing them, helping them, etc. Clearly, I believe in miracles...more importantly, because of Christ's work in my heart+life, I believe in (and upon) Him, and I'm growing to genuinely love Him, too.

Things could have easily gone -very- badly for me, above and beyond what did happen. I see now...not to sound cold hearted or anything, but...people die every.single.day. The Lord spared me, now I'm forgiven, transformed, a work-in-progress, and...

...increasingly thankful for His goodness and love, compassion and mercy. I was dead eyed, had tics and twitches (neurological problems from psychiatric "treatment"), etc. Now, I'm remarkably...normal...more importantly, I've been made increasingly --whole--, flaws and all.

What's interesting is that a lot of churches don't -deal- with people like me, especially like who I was before I got saved and until The Lord saw fit to move mightily in all aspects of my life. Its not a liberal vs conservative issue, either. I've found that "progressives" can be more mean-spirited than the legalistic "conservatives," they just hide it better. Personally, I see now that Jesus saves, not a church, not a denomination...there's good Christians all over the "visible church," along with tares, too, just as one reads in the NT.

So...now, I've been forgiven, washed+made clean, and...transformed, inside and out. I am increasingly thankful. For whatever reason(s), I'm not considered NPD now, but I am considered "severely mentally ill." I cannot complain. For right now, I receive disability, and I'm praying and planning, trying to figure out...well, how am I going to be more autonomous? My parents are kind to me and supportive of me, largely because of The Lord's work in sparing, saving, and radically changing me, at all levels.

Real life...life, and that more abundantly...--requires-- Jesus. True of anyone, especially true of me. I'm heading into year 5 of my Walk with The Lord, and I'm actually...at times...increasingly optimistic about my future, and thankful that Jesus saw fit to spare me, forgive me, and change me.

"You must die to be born again." When I was dying, the vast majority of people...at best, did -not- care. Many seemed to take cruel joy out of my pain. Such is human nature, I suppose. The Lord spared me, despite everything, and then...when who I was finally died, crucified with Christ...my real life, in Christ, began.

Thanks for reading. :)