Celebrating the Life of Dwight Eldred Jr

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Heaven Became a Noisier Place Today

Dwight past away today.

Here is a man who fought his disability.  He was told that he would live only to be 16 years old.  But he showed us that your expiration date is not found on the bottom of your foot.

He fought his demons.  He was a recovering porn addict.  Was an addict member of several recovery groups (both live, and online.) .

He sought to become closer and closer to God everyday.

Although he would blow up from time to time, he still had more patience than I ever had.

I am proud to have called him a good friend.

It says in the bible that earth is only a temporary home, and that our home needs to be heaven.

He is now running, shouting, breathing hard, and is with Jesus.

Heaven got a little noisier today.

Praise God.

 

 

I Blew It!

Well. I blew it.

I brought something to the nurse’s attention.  She played dumb.  She got defensive.  Dad tried stepping in but she just wouldn’t stop and said she was going to leave.  Then, she left.

The agency told me to shut up and stop complaining.  But I stuffed things in long enough.

This is what happens when I stuff my emotions in and not be allowed to say anything.

First, she accidentally hit the dog with my chair.  Obviously accidental.  I wouldn’t have said anything, but on the way to the door to take me outside, she pushes the chair at full speed towards the dog who was lying by the door waiting.  My poor puppy barely made it out of the way.  That’s what was needed to be addressed.

I’m sorry.  You don’t do that to my dog.  Especially since it is the one who can’t get up fast.

This is what I typed to my nurse:

The first time the dog had opportunity to move.  Completely accidental contact.  But going to the door pushing my chair at full speed towards an old dog who has trouble getting up is not cool.  You didn’t tell her to move but you didn’t have to.  If you would have waited two seconds, she would have been on her feet and ready to go out like she always does.

The nurse said she didn’t know what I was talking about.  Which made me mad.  I verbally tried to clarify.  She understood my words but still played dumb.  I said, “Go ahead.  Play dumb, as always.”

Then, she starts raising her voice.

I said, “F#@k you.”  It didn’t help.

My dad tried to tell us both to calm down.  She gets louder.  Big mistake.  The rest happened fast.

The case worker came over in an half hour.

And to think, I was saying something, so my emotions wouldn’t explode.  I am trying to remind myself that I can’t control other people’s responses but I am responsible for my response to her response.

Thinking through what happened, I swerved off the road the moment I attacked her by calling her dumb.  I definitely drove into the ditch with the F bomb.

Time to stop. I blew it.  Time to go to the Word.  (I should have remembered these scriptures an hour ago.)

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  ~Ephesians 4:26-31

In other words, sometimes, I am not too bright.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. ~James 1:19-20

What was my excuse for not doing God’s desires?

Control your temper,
for anger labels you a fool. ~Ecclesiastes 7:9

Fools vent their anger,
but the wise quietly hold it back. ~ Proverbs 29:11

Meet Dwight Eldred Jr, the fool.

They Got Me Surrounded!!

There is an old joke that goes something like this…

I find myself waist high in muddy water.  I’m disgusted with the situation I am in.  To the right of me, a swarm of mosquitos.  With all the diseases they carry, no wonder it is considered one of the earth’s deadliest animals.  Suddenly, I hear splashing to the left of me.  Five poisonous snakes are swimming toward me.  Then, from behind, I catch a glimpse of a moving log, or is it?  No.  It’s an alligator ready to make me his evening meal!

Between fighting off the water, the bugs, the snakes, and the alligator, it is hard to remember that I am here to drain the swamp.

Although, I literally don’t find myself sinking in a swamp, there are times when life has me sinking into an emotional,  or spiritual swamp.

Being with a disability, it takes me so much longer to do simple things.  Have you ever tried writing an email with your eyeballs?  Since I can’t move, my computer is set up to see what I am looking at and helps me type accordingly.

Getting ready for even a doctor’s appointment takes coordination of family and nurses.  Just have one person be in a bad mood, and the swamp seems to start to rise.

Oh, no.  My urine bag is leaking.  Have to get changed and get dressed all over again.

(SPECIAL NOTE:  I NEVER am the one in the bad mood.  hahaha!)

With the world swirling around me, it is hard not to get angry, frustrated, feeling sorry for myself and depressed.

And to think, I was put here to clean out the swamp.

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. ~Romans 7:15-17

I have no control over this swirling swamp that is me.  And what was it that I was supposed to do in the first place?

..let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.   ~Hebrews 12:1b-2

I let the world get me down.  I was paying attention too much on the flesh, of this world.  And in doing so, I found myself acting out in ways I never should have.

I concentrated on the bugs, snakes, and man-eaters of life.  I should have remember Psalm16:8:

I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

And what about drowning in the water?  Jesus walks on water, and calms the storms.

I am writing this blog reflecting on what I need to do.  This was a bad week.  I let the swamp get to me.  I am writing this tired and exhausted.  It’s time that I “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him..”  (Psalm 37:7a)

 

Wonder Woman and the gospel?

I finally saw Wonder Woman this week. My expectations were low simply because it was a DC movie and there isn’t a track record of good movies based in that universe. So I thought it was great while others may not have thought so.

In the story they told I saw our sinful nature, spiritual warfare or at least deception and redemption for mankind. I am sure there were many others themes that I missed or couldn’t do justice by. So, I’ll stick to what stood out to me.

I don’t want to get into a deep discussion about Greek mythology so I will only reference the parallels to my Christian faith that I see. Near the beginning of the movie young Diana is told a story by her mother who said:

“Zeus created man in his image; fair and good, strong and passionate. He called his creation man and mankind was good. But Zeus’ son grew envious of mankind and sought to corrupt his father’s creation. This was Aries, the god of war. Aries poisoned men’s hearts with jealously and suspicion. He turned them against each other and war ravaged the earth.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone? God created us in his image and then the devil deceived Adam and Eve into disobey god. Then sin entered the world and we have basically been screwing things up every since.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. – Genesis 1:27, 31a

It’s not like we can claim we don’t know any better when we do evil things. The sin they committed was eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They then knew the difference between good and evil and since we inherit that sin so do we. Because of our sinful nature we choose to do evil given to our own devices. We have a choice.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:4

They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them…Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. – Romans 1:19, 28-29 NLT

We do have a choice but without Christ we will always choose sin and evil. We have something else against us, the devil. He whispers in our ears egging us on to do evil. Planting ideas and thoughts. This is what Aries tells Wonder Woman:

Mankind stole this world from us. They ruined it day by day. And I, the only one wise enough to see it was left too weak to stop them. All these years I have struggled alone whispering into their ears ideas, inspirations for formulas, weapons. But I don’t make them use them. They start these wars on their own.

And Jesus tells us in John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Aries gives Diana this big grandiose speech about how he is so smart and is doing the world a favor by ridding the world of mankind. And there is this moment where she has to make a choice between siding with Aries or to protect or help mankind. I love what she said.

Ares: They don’t deserve your protection!
Diana Prince: It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.

What I love about this is that this is exactly what Jesus did when he gave his life for us. He saved us from our sin and death. We are no longer doomed to life apart from God and enslaved to sin. He set us free.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin. – Romans 6:6

Since we are no longer slaves to sin we have the power to choose to do right if we follow the spirit. This choice can’t be made in our own power, our flesh. We have to remain in Christ to make the choice to follow the spirit.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. – Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 ESV

Thank you for saving me Jesus!

Last words of the movie:

Diana Prince: I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves – something no hero will ever defeat. I’ve touched the darkness that lives in between the light. Seen the worst of this world, and the best. Seen the terrible things men do to each other in the name of hatred, and the lengths they’ll go to for love. Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give… for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever.

 

 

Porn isn’t just a moral problem

Is porn addiction just a moral problem? If you answered yes, you’re wrong. I bet most, if not all of you, disagree with me. I will explain why this idea of pornography only being a moral problem is not only wrong but detrimental to the recovery process.

First of all, the initial choice to look at pornographic material for the first time is a choice. For me it was curiosity about the female body and curiosity about sex that caused me to want to look at porn. I knew it was wrong on some level but curiosity or my sinful nature overruled any concerns about right or wrong.

What most people don’t understand is that it doesn’t take much exposure to pornography to change the structure of the brain to the point of obsession and addiction. I am going to be brief and try to keep it simple because a full and in depth explanation would be book length and full of scientific jargon and explanations.

 

The same chemical reaction a person has during sex with a partner occurs when viewing pornography. The chemicals released are 4-5 times stronger than morphine and heroine. If you think it’s difficult to quit heroine then you can imagine how hard quitting porn is.

Studies have been done to compare the brains of pornography and sex addicts to the brains of other addicts. The did scans of the participants’ brains and found that the brains of porn addicts look the same as the brains of cocaine addicts.

The part of the brain responsible for impulse control, the prefrontal cortex, is full of holes and blood flow to those areas is diminished. When this part of the brain is damaged it becomes extremely difficult to stop the addictive behavior.

When someone repeats an action or thought the repetition creates pathways in the brain. This pathways make a lot of our actions automatic. This is designed to be a good thing. Remember learning to tie your shoes? You had to think about every step but now you don’t have to think about it and can have a conversation at the same time.

This same process saves your life when you drive more often than you think. When someone learns to drive they have to think about what they’re doing. After awhile there isn’t much thinking involved (if you have driven in Florida you know exactly what I mean). In some instances that isn’t good but when someone stops short in front of you you don’t have time to think. And how many times do you drive home and not remember the drive home.

My point is that the brain of a porn addict does the same thing. With repeated exposure the pathways that are created become so ingrained that an addict sometimes doesn’t know he’s headed down the path to a relapse. The reason is that there are triggers that cause the brain to start down the pathway to “acting out”.

Repeated exposure to porn can make almost anyone an addict. Some people become addicted simply by watching porn. But the number one reason is having wounds or trauma in life, especially childhood. Pornography, like any drug becomes a way to medicate the pain from those wounds.

Sometimes it is molestation or some violence that the person witnessed. It could be physical or verbal and emotional abuse. Sometimes it’s the absence of one or both parents. It could also be a parent who is present but emotionally distant.

For me, it started out of curiosity and I quickly began using pornography and masturbation to medicate any emotional pain I would feel. If my parents were fighting I would turn to porn. If I was anxious about a test, porn. If I couldn’t sleep, porn. If I was angry, porn. If I was bored, porn. Any time I was forced to feel anything I would turn to porn.

Before you start to think that it’s hopeless and a lost cause let me tell you it isn’t. And I really don’t want anyone who struggles with this to think they don’t have to take responsibility and can just blame your brain. You can’t.

At the end of the day you have to choose to change. It will be difficult but you can change and break free. The same process that makes the destructive pathway of addiction can be used to create a new pathway of freedom. It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 years to completely break free. There are no shortcuts.

It takes a structured program, accountability and the renewing of our thoughts and habits. I recommend that anyone looking for help join a Conquer Series group (https://conquerseries.com/join-a-conquer-group/) as a start. Don’t think you can take the 5 week series and be fixed. You need to find a group of guys to fight alongside you.

I have tried doing it alone. It DOES NOT work. I have been in a group for over a year and am definitely not fixed. I am just now starting to get past the shame and into feeling the love of Christ. I may still struggle but I am starting to have freedom.

What a rotten week!!

The humidity was a little lower today, but it has been raining for the last two days.

I need a good laugh.  Tired today, and fighting that depression blanket.  That feeling that a big heavy blanket is weighing you down and you can’t get it off you.  It’s more than just not feeling well.

But then, as the day went on, I started to feel better.  It lifted some.  But I still feel like crap.  Maybe I should have had some caffeine earlier.  But if I do that, sometimes the caffeine makes me ill.

But I am not looking forward to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  I have to get a new pulmonologist.  I had to switch because of insurance.  What a pain.

I’ll probably have to take antihistamine so that I won’t drool as much and need as much suction.  I hope not.  The antihistamine makes me so drowsy.   Sometimes the trade off of less suctioning isn’t worth it.  And I won’t know until it’s too late.

I hope I don’t have to wait long in the waiting room.

These last couple days, life has been a bunch of crappy trade-offs.

And I feel so helpless.

Then, there is Bob.

At least I am not Bob.  My friend Bob tripped on the sidewalk and landed face first on the concrete, this Sunday.

Ow, that hurt just hearing about it.  (Editor’s note:  Due to the prayers of others, Bob is healing up quite nicely.)

What’s going on around here?

And then, there is Las Vegas.

And of course, we are all affected by the news of the Las Vegas shootings.

With bad things happening all around us, it’s no wonder I am feeling depressed.

Looking in the Word:

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! ~Psalm 43:11

 

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.  ~Psalm 40:1-3

And then, there is Mr. Rogers….

I have been blessed with many “helpers”   Friends.  Family.  Nurses.  Doctors.  I am not alone.

But more importantly,

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. ~1 Peter 5:6-7

I need to constantly tell myself that bad days will come and go, but God will always be with me.  And I am loved.