The Butterfly Emerges

My Journey into Womanhood

2014- A Year of Self Discovery
charlenaandrews
2014- A Year of Self Discovery
18 January 2014
This is truly a magical year so far and how to share it is very difficult. No great physical moments or accolades but rather a release of the understanding of how truly gifted I am as a daughter. Sometimes, at least for me, there is a need to step back and view yourself from outside yourself. Call it third party, out of body or whatever it is all appropriate.
For years I questioned the uniqueness of my birth and all the complications that came with it. I am now very aware that the thing many called a curse was actually a blessing. Though I never had the childhood I always dreamt of what I did have was the gift of a very unique perspective of life that few have the privilege of receiving. Throuhg most of my adulthood I wrestled both with my identity and the belief system I so strongly clung to. These were the learning grounds, the living classroom Goddess had prepared for me. This morning while relaxing in my morning bath, being retired is great, I found myself once again counseling a young trans sister in the Middle East who is struggling with her own identity. And this is the point where self-discovery kicked in once again.
My own choice to “come out” was 58 years in the making and I remember every price I thought I would pay, everyone and everything I would lose if I chose to reveal myself. It was painful, lonely and filled with countless doubts and second guessing but I had to either come out or go insane. My cost estimates were close to accurate and I adjusted my new life and tried to carry on as before. Wrong answer. Then in Her love for me Goddess started calling out to me, drawing me to Herself and this time the costs were actually higher and yet I willingly chose to follow my Beloved Mother. I have no regrets for any of my choices and never will, they both brought Life into a dried up vessel.
Today as I counseled Monica my self-discovery kicked in. I began to see how doubly favored I have been first by my life in the male world and more importantly being called to serve our Mother. I thought of the life energy flowing through me and saw countless generations of sisters before me walking their own paths. The sisters who had to hide tyheir love for Goddess, the ones who had paid for their beliefs with their lives. That same life force resonates within my spirit today. Over countless centuries my fellow Witches live their lives in a way that kept alive the mysteries of the Goddess and Her love for us. Rituals and rites of remembrance solidified the ancient beliefs from one generation to another. Even as I was blessed to give counsel to Monica in her transitioning other sisters within the Sisterhood imparted and passed on the wisdom and knowledge we cherish today. That old mindset of counting the costs was the great determiner, It is the Prize! The prize of living as my true self! Not just the gender thing but the privilege of being called by Dea and the joy of answering the call to walk as a daughter, a Witch and a Priestess in Her service. The realization that the same life that has been housed in my sisters since time began is coursing through me as well. I share the spirit of the goddesses who have walked this earth and reside now within the Universe and within me and well. How can you compare any price required to live such a blessed life? To be able to live in this exact time and be surrounded by a Sisterhood the stands with me in unconditional support? How can I put a price on a life that was a freely given gift from my Beloved Mother? We were chosen in this very favored space in time, our own journeys built upon the struggles of our sisters before us. I am overwhelmed with gratitude regardless of whatever obstacle may come before me.
I remember this morning talking with Monica and thinking how blessed we were to live in a time when Air can be used as a tool to reach across countless miles to touch the lives of those we care for. The same life energy that presided over the ancient pyramids is equally present in our lives as well. I am, we are. Daughters of eternity, one with the Universe and one with one another. Thank you Dea from the depths of my being for all the blessings, ther favor and the calling you have placed in my life.
Not a bad way to start such a Magickal Year!

Would the real God or Goddess please step forward!!
charlenaandrews

Would the real God or Goddess please step forward!!

29 September 2013

This is a post I never envisioned writing much less posting. It is a brisk Sunday morning with a dampness in the air and leaves turning and drifting down to the earth. I am sitting out back watching my grandson play when usually I would be immersed in worship and fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I hate hypocrisy and false airs in people and as such have chosen not to attend and put on any “happy masks”. This is a story 63 years in the making and unraveling os I may wander a bit but, at least to me, it is all critical to my present place on my journey. Parts of this may offend the readers but not nearly to the level they offended me.

Tristan Dean is an inspiration to me. At 2 ½ years old He explores his world with wide-eyed wonder and no sense of shame or guilt or condemnation. So far he is free of all the tentacles that the adult world is filled with. We are always hearing of people being a product of their environment andst least for now he lives in a world of unconditional love and acceptance. There are rules in his life but they are there to help him be free to grow and experience life to the fullness without bringing harm on himself or others. He is just the way his Creator fashioned him to be.

Now as John Wayne once said “On to the rat killing”. I started therapy a month ago in an attempt to find myself in the middle of all the actions and reactions I had become and honestly to learn how to cry again. The results to this point of it all takes me right back to the title of this post. Product of my environment? Chip off the old block? Or maybe black sheep? All reflect a very sad lifetime declaration for anyone but is usually a very safe statement. I was born into a Catholic family but that is only incidental to my issues as my journey has taken mr through most denominations and movements. I was introduced to a very uninterested and judgemental God with a scorecard designed to condemn us into submission to His so called authorized spokesmen in fear of damnation. I was forbidden to date protestant girls because they were going to hell, I couldn’t eat meat on Fridays or I would be joining them there, The list goes on and it is not exclusive to Catholicism. We are either honored or reviled based on our ability to conform to the latest doctrinal belief made gospel by flawed men in their ivory towers. I bought in to the system hook, line and sinker. I even taught others to embrace it. That has become one of my deepest regrets. Five years ago my whole lifetime of supportive friends and family chose to embrace all the religious garbage and lies they had been immersed in over one of their own simply because I finally chose to quit living a lie. They spouted platitudes about being caught in deception, demon seed from hell and rejected by God. They not only passed judgment then but have continued to this day. They base all of this hatred on teachings supposedly gleaned from an over two thousand year old book that has more translations and revisions than most operating systems on our computers. For five tears I have walked under their condemnation from the vindictive god they have fashioned and have accepted it as truth primarily because of a lifetime of brainwashing and manipulation. Supposedly I was born blessed and highly favored up until the day I questioned all the false doctrines men were perpetuating and using to control those around them. If their god is the true one then I pass, I have no desire to serve it.

30 September 2013

It has been 24 hours since I penned the above entry. Since that point I basically had an emotional meltdown and my beloved wife whisked me off to a motel room for the evening to help me breathe a little away from yhe home. She and I laid on the bed and talked for countless hours as she drew all the ppent up hurt and anger out and was just there to listen and support me. She gave me no great pearls of wisdom but her presence spoke volumes. For the first time in weeks I slept peacefully without bad dreams and nightmares. She knew where I was, she had been there herself before. Finally for the first time in memory I was just a little girl snuggled close to someone special and finding a peace from all the raging inside. Got up this morning and stepped outside for a cigarette and coffee and slowly began to get a clearer picture of my own personal beliefs and they are mine alone, not a churches, a denomination or even a group of my peers, it is MINE.

I desperately need to walk in a close personal relationship with my Creator/Parent by whatever name He or She chooses. What I don’t need is a dead manmade religion of any sort, they are doomed to failure eventually because they come from man’s puny wisdom. I don’t need membership in a country club mentality called church which requires a personal relationship to be forfeited in lieu of a concession to embrace the club rules, dogmas, doctrines and etc. I deeply need to be a part of a genuine family with all the warts and stumbling that goes on without people needing to wear masks. I don’t need per se a minister or pastor to tell me what to believe and when to express it as if it wear a cheap play. I do need someone in my life that I can be real and transparent with. I don’t need a certificate on the wall, I need a close friend that will be there in good times and bad. I don’t need to memorize countless recitation which try to pass off as liturgical worship, what I need is a place where I am free to step into the Holy of Holies and commune with my Creator. I don’t need to have my name in a church directory but what I desire is a group of true and faithful friends that are real instead of ones that spout the judgmental wisdom they say is from God. Ultimately I need Life which comes from the Creator alone and not the restricting and manipulative scorecards for holiness men try to replace it with. The God or Goddess that I have known my whole life has brought me , finally, to a place of personal clarity and understanding of who and whose I am. I refuse to be labeled by any denomination or even the blanket covering of the word Christian. It has been used for far to long as a tool to ruin peoples lives and to cause them to come under submission to a mortal man or woman. The commands records that “ I am the lord thy God you shall not have strange gods before Me”. Look around at the established and even the new denominations and groups of religious believers and tell me, if you can, that the vast majority of them do not qualify as false gods. I honestly believe you would have a very hard time disputing the evidence. My Creator has endowed me, for whatever reason, with tools and gifts to help[ others in their own journey but they do not make me someone special they just mean I have been given the opportunity to minister light in dark situations and nothing more and if I never get to use them again then I am thankful for the past. I will not and cannot compromise my future bu clinging to past experiences to create an identity for myself. I probably need to wrap this up before I go beyond the threshing floor. Be Blessed.


Sibling Rivalry and other subtle traps
charlenaandrews


  • Sibling Rivalry and other subtle traps

22 July 2013

            This will probably be one of those entries I didn’t consider when I determined to share the good, the bad and the ugly. This one could get ugly quick. I would love to say I learned this one from passive observation but I would be lying through my teeth.

Growing up I was the oldest of 5 children and was very proficient at being the favorite. It really was quite simple a process, you suck up to mom and dad (or whomever you wish to impress), act like the perfect little gentleman or lady and pretty much put on an “Oscar worthy” performance in their presence. I guess it was one of those things most if not all kids go through and hopefully grow out of. The problem with that last hypothesis is that our minds are like little hard drives and once info is inputted it takes a sovereign act of God to remove and delete unwanted information and tendencies. Transparency is a very beautiful and sometimes painful goal to achieve, this is one of the latter. Assuming my pastor will read this at some point is actually one my incentives for writing this. All through my Christian walk it was one of the “taboo” things that never came up for discussion but upon reflection back on my journey I now realize it is a very invasive and predatorily vicious attitude that lurks in the shadows of our minds just waiting for the proper moment to rise up and pounce on anyone or anything that threatens a persons place on the elusive “pecking order” lists that hides in our unredeemed subconscious minds until the moment Daddy shines the light of His perfect Heart upon it. When I finally quit crying to Daddy about how bad my last church treated me I was blessed with a divine revelation- they hurt my spiritual pride when they withdrew all of their reception of me as a mighty man of God who flowed in the spiritual gifts and was a leader and mentor. I wasn’t conceited, I was convinced! That revelation hurt me mainly because I had been deceived into believing such trash. After a great deal of agonizing and repenting I found myself becoming very sensitive in this arena of our lives and our churches. In my church family at Open Door the only place I have noticed it has been in my own heart and mind so the only expose’ here is my own untamed heart.

  In Genesis for the first time there are two siblings and qwe all know the result of that story, Cain killed his brother out of a type of imaginary rivalry because his offering was not received as well as hi brothers’. Lest we get lulled into believing that it only happens in non- Christian settings consider the two brothers, James and John, who squabbled over there placement in the kingdom of God. This spirit or demon or whatever term you wish to use is very cunning and shrewd. Looking back now I can clearly see it rearing it’s ugly head in several ministries I was associated with and it was rampant within the “Discipleship” movement of which I was a part. This isn’t about pointing fingers but rather an admonition to guard your spirits from this spirit that attacks and wrecks unity and common vision within a local body. It sneaks in so quietly, some brother or sister shares a great word, sings a beautiful song or even shares a powerful personal testimony and the little twinges of jealousy popped up followed closely by insecurity as to your place and then that judgmental voice in your head says “I could have done it better”. I wish this was a secondhand testimony but sadly it isn’t. We are all born with a built in desire to feel loved, special and secure and it is at that front that the enemies of our souls attack so relentlessly. en within our own families. At our recent gathering for the TEN Conference on several occasions I had to battle in my own mind as I saw others excelling in areas that I am drawn to and ministries I desire to walk in myself. Psalm 133 speaks of how the anointing flows when there is unity and believe me our adversary is very aware of it. The beauty of our local body is that we haven’t been religionized enough to even perceive a pecking order much less try to climb some ethereal ladder to some positional success. Being children has many advantages and in this case having a Father who jealously guards our hearts and spirits. One of the greatest blessings to unity is the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence in our everyday lives and not just at our meetings. The source of our unity has to flow from our personal identities as sons and daughters of our Father who created us and whose spiritual DNA flows through our veins. We are not orphans nor stepchildren nor legalized into His family, He created us in the womb as His children, in His image and created in His boundless Love. It is time for us to rise up and take our rightful places and lay hold of our inheritance in Christ Jesus and make a stand, by just living as His children, that will shine out in contrast to the shattered and broken world and hurting lives we see around us everyday. As I have often told my wife” If my daily life and how I live don’t make you desirous of the relationship I have with my Father then I am not sure I eant that for you”. I want the very best for my beloved wife and even more so I know that my Daddy’s heart for her far outshines mine. It isn’t about learning the right words or approaches or your own personal doctrine, it is about people seeing your good works and glorifying your Father in heaven. It worked in the early church and it is still working today. If your life doesn’t lead someone to Daddy your well rehearsed witnessing verses aren’t going to bring them home to Daddy. I watched my pastor yesterday at our service as the Holy Spirit took over the meeting with several unexpected twists, all good. She is truly a daughter and she just listened and watched as Daddy moved quietly among the gathered brothers and sisters, allowing Him to be in control and in the lead and in the moment He, with His foreknowledge, led her to share what He had put on her heart it was a testimony of her total dependency on Daddy’s direction and had nothing to do with a title or position of being pastor. We are sons and daughters and we will have conflicts from time to time but we have to stand constantly diligent in guarding our hearts against the one who would divide us and separate us from the Love of God that flows to us so freely from our brothers and sisters’ spirits. That Love is one of the gifts that can only be found in the unity Daddy has arranged for us. Be Blessed, be true to your identity as a child of God and enjoy the family He has surrounded you with.


Coming Out!
charlenaandrews
Coming Out!
13 May 2013
Coming Out, how could 2 simple words brought together bring fear, nervousness, pride and defiances?  In a very unusual move I went to Merriam-Webster to try and define the phrase. This is what I came up with:

Definition of COME OUT

1
a: to come into public view : make a public appearance <a new magazine has come out> b: to become evident <his pride came out in his refusal to accept help>
2
: to declare oneself especially in public utterance <came out in favor of the proposal>
intransitive verb
1
a: to move toward something : approach <come here> b: to move or journey to a vicinity with a specified purpose <come see us> <come and see what's going on>

That was easy enough for generalities but I am being drawn to specifics.About 3 weeks ago I started being confronted by this phrase in every area imaginable, It was in the news, in conversations with LGBT friends, emails from people desiring a friend and support and as a result it was like an underground river rolling through my spirit and subconscious. I felt I needed to address the issue but was unsure of the pathway to take to get there. Three days ago the river surfaced with a beautiful and yet powerful display of it's might. It showed up in my quiet times and prayer times and it finally started revealing itself.
   I almost felt like a time traveller as mental pictures from the Bible started flowing. It was like a "Who's Who" list. We can start with Adam and Eve when they hid in the Garden and God called them out (Genesis 3), Moses at the burning bush, all Israel coming out of Egypt in Exodus , the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, and Lazarus in John 11. In every case there was a calling out, a choice to be made to move forward towards an unknown future, except for Lazarus and the dry bones, but more on them later. then my attention was directed to Gideon, Saul and Jesus then ultimately US.
  In Judges 6 we find Gideon hiding in the winepress thrashing his wheat. He is a frightened, disheartened young man filled with angst over the oppression of the Midianites and their terrorizing of his family, friends and all Israel. Sounds like a lot of folks today including myself at times. God sends an Angel of the LOrd to meet Him in his tattered state and he utters a strange greeting The Lord is with you O mighty Warrior ( vs. 12) . After the shock wore off Gideon , in either a bold or foolish action, questions God as to why his life and surroundings are a shambles. INstead of defending Himself God continues to call out Gideon to be a savior to the land of Israel, He tells him to go in his own strength and deliver Israel from Midian( vs. 14). All Gideon knew was to defend his station in life,h e was the least of the least(vs. 15) and I started feeling uneasy inside. In the remainder of the chapter he prepares an offering before the Lord and the Angel calls down the fire from heaven to consume it.  Gideon had a major attitude adjustment and identity realization was starting to crystallize. It is time for Gideon to "Come out". Verses 25 thru 32 record his first steps in his coming out as he destroys the altars of Baal and makes sacrifice to the Lord. He is understanding his true identity. He even receives a new name in verse 32. The rest of the story is a record of God challenging Gideon to come out and lay hold of his true destiny and fulfil it. He never puts on airs or false masks during this story, he is without guile and very openly honest. A side bar to this is that the great King Saul had a similar experience and yet in the end he fell from favor with God and lost his kingdom because he was always a little unsure and double minded about his identity even after being anointed by the prophet Samuel . The book of 1 Samuel relays a sad story of a man with an identity problem. Two men called to come out by their Creator, both respond and yet only one fulfills his full destiny. I found myself thinking of both Ruth and Esther. Both women were born as mere peasants and yet both fulfilled destinies of greatness because they knew who they were and whose they were. Esther has always been special to me because of one sentence her uncle Mordecai sends her in the castle. It challenged her to embrace the destiny before her and that eternally challenges all of us," could it be that you were created for just such a time as this!"( Esther 4:13,14). This is,to me, one the life verses that keep urging me on and calling me out  even though I am not sure what the future holds. In Luke 4: 1-13 we find  Jesus being anointed and filled and immediately led to the desert for forty days to test Him and to prepare Him for His own "coming out". The Son of God and man had to embrace His identity and test it in the desert before He began to fulfil that part of His destiny. The heart of this to me at least, is a call to receive, accept and embrace the person we were created to be. There is a very core building block in each of our lives and before anything else we must be true to our Creator's plans and designs for us.  It took several years of running from God out of hurt and rebellion when I first came out but I could never let go of my true self and my destiny.  Funny thing about destinies, we aren't all called to greatness or stature as the world knows it but rather it brings an abundance of life, freedom  and a release from the judgments of men. In Isaiah 60 we are called to arise and shine for the glory of the Lord is upon us. He is waiting for us both individually and corporately to come out and own our identity. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 at the beginning of His own ministry and I believe it is a job description of sorts for those who become followers of Jesus. The price will be great at times   and we will be tempted, like Saul, to shrink away or find alternate plans but we know how that turned out.

  I am not an end-times fanatic or dedicated student of Revelations but while this was coming together a verse that has always urged me on kept coming to mind. In Revelations 3: 14-22 God speaks a chilling word to the church at Laodicea. Verse 16 records "So because you are lukewarm and neither hot or cold I will spit you out of My mouth".   This wasn't Laodicea's destiny by God's choice but their own when they embraced the world with all the whistles and bells and false identities. This has always haunted me and driven me forward.
  Finally, I hope, we see two very different stories but both have the same results. In Ezekiel 37 we find dry and lifeless bones raised up and restored to fulfil their destiny. They had once been a mighty army that was, in man's eyes dead, destroyed and of no further use. In John 11 we find Lazarus dead and in a tomb. In verse 4 Jesus responds to the news by saying "This sickness is not unto death, but for thee Glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified.". Same God, Father, and for us the same heart-cry to His children- Come out, come forth, embrace your identity, the one I gave you, and your destiny and the result will be LIFE. We are the "whosoever" John 3:16 speaks of and the abundant life is waiting here in this life for us.
  May you be richly blessed and find the favor of God resting upon you. May you be filled with a prosperous soul.
Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes

Cliff Notes in the Bible
charlenaandrews
Cliff Notes in the Bible
6 May 2013

I know it is a controversial title but this is really the impression I got. Once again out in the garden working a few mornings ago when all these old Bible texts started wandering through my mind and it isn't very hard to mess with my head in early morning. I had been threatening, in my mind, to put together a list of edifying Scriptures in response to all the clobbering verses that are regularly used to attack and intimidate the LGBT+ community. I found the verses from Isaiah 61 running through my mind which wasn't to surprising since it has become a life verse for me personally. Then the doors of my spirit opened and I  started a journey, a love journey; in Scripture of a Father to His children. I only tried Cliff Notes once in high school and to my recollection it was disastrous, seems the teacher had read it also and only asked the questions not covered by the abreiviated notes.Seems a lot of people gather their knowledge and information the same way even today. They rely solely on the notes of others without bothering to read the ENTIRE book in question. Please don't just take my word for it, I am flawed human being just like everyone else. Do your homework, read the entire book for yourself and then prayerfully and thoughtfully come to your own conclusions. I hope I can do this justice and more importantly I hope the Holy Spirit anoints it for those who read it.
Everyone knows the story of Adam and Eve's transgression in the Garden of Eden but what is seldom mentioned is that we were ALL made in the image God (1:26-28) and individually( Gen.2:7,18-22 we are not assembly line duplicates). Another verse that seconds this is Psalm 139 especially verses 13-18 where it speaks of us each being individually and uniquelly formed in our mother's womb by a loving Father and Creator. Repeatedly in the Old Testament are accounts of the Father's love for His children even when they screw up and blow it. In Genesis 3:21 he clothes Adam and Eve after they sinned, He put a mark on Cain to protect him after He had slain His brother Cain, it is a response repeated throughout Scripture, even when we rebel and sin grieviously Daddy is always holding out a hand to lift us back to our feet and strengthen us again. Way back before anything was Daddy already had set in place the Perfect Sacrifice to reunite Him with His children, it is called the Blood of the Lamb and it was shed at Calvary. So this doesn't get to lengthy let's step into the New Testament and go to John 3:16 and surrounding verses. The two parts that are always minimized are the most important. God so loved the world, that means each and everyone of us, and the verse of hope" that whosoever believes". There are no asterisks or fine print, and there are no exclusions in that verse just an offer from a loving Parent to His estranged kids. Luke 4:14-21 records Jesus at the start of His ministry goes into the synagogue, quotes Isaiah 61,closes the Torah and declare the prophecy was being fulfilled in their sight. And there is the Cliff Note! At this point I began to see a synopsis of the Love of God towards us, chapter 61 tells us the heart of God. We were and are the afflicted, the brokenhearted, both the captives and the prisoners. We are also the apple of our Father's eye and focus of His affection. He isn't an ogre, a vengeful judge or flawed with our petty emotions, He is Love. Love Incarnate, Love Eternal and Love unconditional. Isaiah speaks it all, He isn't just saving us from our flawed nature but He is preparing us to wear the garlands of praise and carry the mantle of praise. He is laying a destiny of a favored son or daughter before us.He even declares we shall be called oaks of righteousness and the planting of the Lord. Consider that for a moment- a planting isn't some half-hearted task but a very deliberate act of preparing the soil, amending it and planting the tree at just the right time and only God knows our perfect time. He even further declares that He will use us to rebuild the ancient ruins, raise up the former desolations and repair the ruined cities and most importantly we will become ministers of our Father to show others the way to Him. It doesn't say judge them or despise them but rather embrace them with the genuine Love of our Father so that they might come back to the family gathering. The vision I have of Daddy has always been twofold, He is like a daddy setting in the great room in an old wooden rocker beckoning His children to set in His lap or at His feet and enjoy just being with Him. The second is straight from the parable of the prodigal son. For a moment forget all the subplots and concentrate on the Father. He sees his son from a far distance away as the son is returning home. There were no cellphones, internet, telegraphs or even snail mail, He saw him because He was longing for his son, watching, probably daily, with a heavy heart for him to come home. He recognizes the son from afar because He knows His son, his mannerisms, his walking gait and yes all of his sins and defects. He had raised Him from birth and knew him intimately as no other could but it didn't matter because His love was unconditional. If you continue to read the parable it is noteworthy that judgment is never a part of His reaction to the son only the joy of being reunited to him. These two verses say volumes about our Creator and His heart towards us.
  It was about this time the revelation of Isaiah's prophecy became crystal clear and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper "It was never about Me, it has always been about them, the son's and daughters I created and long to have a genuine living relationship with, they are My Delight and My Heart's Desire".
  ,There is nothing I can add to that but know there is nothing anyone can take away form it either. We are loved and cherished by the One who made it all. Be blessed and encouraged for if He is for us who can be against us and stand against the power of our Daddy's Love!
Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes.


For the record
charlenaandrews

For the record
                                                                                                                               4 May 2013

NOTE: This entry was initially a response on a chat site to a sister's  post concerning my entry "Pruning and other fun stuff". As I started this response U came to a point of having to honestly re-evaluate my own beliefs and how I share them. Rachel has been a very real catylist to pruning and new growth in my personal life.

My intent was never to start a divisive debate among my sisters. Rachel I know had badly religious zealots have harassed and tried to destroy us, I was a minister and prophet in an apostolic church for 12 years before coming out and they belittled me passing judgement on me and banning me from both my ministry and physical prescence in their church. People can be petty and vicious to anyone that doesn't fit in their box and that they don't understand or can't control. Unfortunately religion is like a self righteous sword they often use to attack their enemies...us and other outcasts. I have every reason to hate and despise them and I confront them in whatever venue they choose to spew their hatred especially our annual Pride parade and Festival. That being said for almost 4 years I have been counselling, mentoring, mothering, or whatever term you wish to use, multiple trans sisters who are younger and just starting their own journey. I have had several sisters attempt suicide or require hospitalization for the overwhelming depression, alienation from their former world of friends and families and most having little or no slef esteem or self worth and I  buried a very close sister last July . I can teach my sisters to do makeup, choose appropriate clothing, determine sizes of foundation garments and so forth. That is just decorating a vessel tht is cracked and on the verge of breaking. You are a transsexual woman and should be aware of what they are going through. I have paid my dues in both my present and former life and there has been one constant in my life to keep me going and it was a personal Father-Daughter relationship with my Creatore. If you have had children then you know how hard it is to keep the relationship fresh and alive, they don't go sit in a building waiting for you to show up and they don't point fingers at others to get your attention. They spend time with you, they admire you, trust you implicitly to guide, protect and keep you safe. It has nothing to do with their brothers, sisters, cousins or friends , it is only about you and your child.That isn't rligious garbage, that is life, at least for me it is.

Well my Father, my Daddy, has been that parent and when I see sisters hurting, bleeding and giving up hope I share with them the anchor and source of hope that has brought me through so far. I don't try or desire to correct them, judge them or manipulate them, I just share my story the same as I share the names of my doctors and therapists. This has never been about preaching or converting but it has been about giving hope to those following behind us who are in need of help. Rachel I sincerely appreciate your sharing your thoughts and your personal experiences that have helped formed your thoughts and feelings. You above all others have caused me to go back and re-examine so many of my own beliefs and it has brought new life into areas that were just lanquishing before and for that I am eternally grateful. Be Blessed on all your heart;s desires.

Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes


Pruning and other fun stuff
charlenaandrews
Pruning and other fun stuff
2 MAy 2013
It always amazes that in these times of such great techniclogical and educated advances that life seems to continually use the simple and mundane things in life to challenge us. I have a thousand related thoughts rambling through my mind so don't expect a quick 5 or 7 step explanation to the title. And away we go...teehee.
  Back in the period after my wife's passing I went through a season of Daddy taking me back to basics as He put my shattered life back togethter and that season is the basis for my first journal http://lifelessonsfromhoneysgarden.weebly.com/index.html . On a trip I took to the Dallas area for our oldest son's second marriage, shortly after her death. I stayed in their home and one morning found my self lost in deadheading some hanging baskets of petunias on their front porch. If you care to read the entire entry it is titled  " The lessons from Petunias"( 31 May 2008) and was a reminder lesson in the natural that often after the first blush of blooms come in the spring  and are spent it is necessary to cut off the dead blooms so they don't drain life from the plant trying to set new buds for the next flurry of flowers.
 Well after Genevieve's passing I neglected all the gardens we had planted over the last 15 years until this spring. In the beginning I was not prepared to deal with all the memories and when my strokes came in 2010 I was physically unable to work in them. These past two weeks I have given myself to the task of returning them to their former glory as in weeding them and etc. On Monday I started on the Hydrangeas on the front and side of our home plus along the back fence row.  I was concentrating on both cutting off the dead branches from seasons past while also trying to avoid damaging the new tender shoots at the base. As I got into my task I found myself not just "deadheading" the plants but also cutting back the stems that were lanky but had new growth at the very ends. A story that Jesus told in the New Testament came to mind about pruning and I began to see pruning in a new light. I always thought pruning meant cutting of the deadwood on a plant but the actual meaning is the cutting off certain branches that were alive and even had new growth. The idea is that as all the excess growth is cut away the energy in the plant can be redirected to the remaining plant to provide an even better and bigger yield of flowers or fruit. I started to see where this train of thought was leading me and I started re-examining my life in light of this new understanding. In the last five years my life was being pruned, not of my own choosing, but by the choice I made to be true to myself. It wasn't always easy but as I gaze around me now I see that because of the pruning of fair weather friends, judgemental and overly pious christian friends and family I was able to enjoy the blooming of new friendship and a genuine church family. I now have an abundance of peace and contentment in my life but it had to be preceeded by a time of pruning my life of lesser things that bore very little life. Another part of the process is knowing when to prune. Some plants need it in the beginnings of spring while others, like roses, get cut back in the dead of winter. Our lives are much the same, there are relationships that come and go within our lives and we never understand the timing. Now comes that part that may be hard to swallow. As a daughter of the God who created me I also am convinced that He or She has an active interest in my well being and as such is a master gardener in my life, sometimes by direction within me and often without my even being aware and totally clueless. I am learning that pruning takes many forms in our lives. Sometimes it is in relationships, other times in our beliefs and our mindsets. Through my 3 strokes I was weaned from a dependency on my former workplace along witlh both the false prestige as well as the very real pressures to perform. Upon proclaiming my true identity I was summarily removed from both ministry, friends and a false religious pride inside me that went along with them.  I spent months trying to reconcile a halfr century of religious conditioning and subsequently was relieved, or pruned, of religious rhetoric and blind trusting faith in human leaders and their dogmas. I was finally being pruned so that in my own life I could bear better fruit and more of it.  Recently I was challenged internally  with the great myth of prosperity both religiously and in the natural. I am understanding the proverb that says "may you prosper even as your soul prospers". In these modern times it means how much you have in possesions, what titles you wear and prestige in the eyes of men. We can look around us everywhere and see living testaments to this lifestyle. People all around us, and maybe us at times, have traded their integrity, their souls and even their families chasing the elusive dreams of material wealth while on the inside they are dead or dying without ever understanding what is happening. There is a prosperity that lasts, it is called peace of mind, integrity, love of life for life's own sake. It is having such an abundance of life within you that it is like a stream flowing from your life. This is true prosperity and things will never replace it. Personally I am being drawn back into ministry and yet this time I am both reluctant and even hesitant to respond to the inner call. I remember being invited to leave my last church and as I have re-considered it I see very clearly that as much as anything I missed being recognized, accepted and even revered at times for my giftings. The truth is I am just like anyone else and the fact that I used my gifts and talents was jsut a small return of thanks to the One who blessed me with them. I was like a spoiled little kid driving daddy's new car for the world to see and nothing more. That false pride and that air of importance are just two aspects of the lie that prosperity was a tangible or physical thing. To be so prosperous in our spirit that we can freely give away from the abundance within us is the true mark of prosperity.  Finally , like a trump card, Christianity screams for "things", national and international recognitionas and volumous amount of faithful followers as a sign of God's favor and yet the One whose name they bear never owned a home, never accumilated wealth, lived with the outcast of the day and after death was laid in another man's gravesite. He was the epitome of true prosperity and yet chose the life of a homeless and itinerant rabbi to teach us values of true worth. Either He was deceived or we have really twisted the message He brought. May you be blessed with both peace and true prosperity in your lives.
Charlena Marie Andrew-Hayes

Postscript

3 MAy 2013
Went out this morning and was cleaning grass from the cracks in the brick walk in the backyard when I was impressed that pruning and weeding are two very different and distinct things. Ther is a specific season for the pruning both in the garden and in our lives. Weeding is an almost daily process or task to remove the growth by the roots to prevent it's r5egrowth. It is not a quick hapzard task, you need to be close to the weed to see and insure the roots are all removed and subsequently continue to be monitored for any randand in our lives is true in both the gardens and in our lives. It is important to know not only which season we are in but also what exactly it is we are removing and the desired end results. Anyone familiar with gardening will tell you that when the first sprouts of spring come it takes a trained eyes and sometimes an outside opinion to know exactly what you are dealing with.The desired end result are the same but they are two very separate tasks. Well back to the gardens, Be Blessed in all good things.
Charlena

The follies of Apologetics
charlenaandrews
The follies of Apologetics
19 April 2013
Back on April 2, 2013 I posted a new entry onto my journal and many of the online blogs I keep. I received several varied responses to it and was particularly moved by one from a sister named Rachel who shared her personal feelings about it. First let me express my heartfelt thanks and admiration for her honesty and candor. Though her responses weren't "attaboys" she cared enough to be real and for that I am grateful. Sometimes it is imperative to see yourself through the eyes of others to avoid being myopic in reflect on your personal life. Rachel I will try not to be "preachy" but only time will tell.
  In response to her comments I found myself apologizing to her if I had offended her and that was a sincere reaction. What transpired afterwards was a keen awareness of just how frequently I have felt a need to apologize for who and what I am. I can see clearly how often I have made concessions for other people's reactions towards me and my choices and it has left a bad tatse.      
Always knew from an early age I was feminine and countless memories are resurfacing of just how often I apologized because I wasn't "a real man" not just to adults but even to my peers. In the workplace I found myself repeatedly faking masculinity and feeling second class when I would come up short of others expectations. I am a christian and I even found myself apologizing for my beliefs to avoid confrontations or hard questions. This isn't about being a trans anything, it is about trying to live with a minimal amount of conflict and strife. We spend so much time in our lives, at least I have, defending our existence, beliefs and personal choices we each have made. My life has been founded firmly on my christian beliefs and is foundational to who I am and yet upon coming out I was cornered by close christians I had known for years and I was actually apologizing to them for my choice to be who I was created to be. The irony of this is that now I am often apologizing to many of my new LGBT family for being a christian. Somehow once this insidious seed of being apologetic enters our lives it permeates every facet of our lives. Sad thing about all this is the fact that in the beginning I was just trying to be polite.
22 April 2013
Back to this journal for a moment. It struck me like a brick when I began to comprehend that even within my journal, my personal diary of sorts, I felt a need to apologize or make allowances for what I was feeling and expressing out of my own heart. This is not an attempt to put blame on anyone but rather an indictment of my own reactions. Our lives have been bombarded with restraints like political correctness, religious correctness or the most insidious of all lie that we need to perform up to the expectations of others. It seems like the longer we live the more people feel compelled to put their names on the "other list".
23 April 2013
I have heard the term "victim mentality" bantered around quite frequently and usually as a derogatory statement towards someone.I have been realizing that there may actually be such a syndrome but it works to paralyze someone from committing to any action or decision which may draw the ire of others.There are many people, including several sisters I know, who have allowed themselves to become stagnant and miserable instead of being true to who they are. I was in church Sunday and due to my own insecurities, mostly imagined, chose to sit quietly in my seat rather than step out and be obedient to my heart's bidding. It is a fairly new church we had just started attending recently and all the former rejections and painful remarks from a former church haunted my spirit and I hate to admit it but I was tentative and very unsure of myself. You know, you get in a new group of people and you just have to be on your best behavior. On a similar vein I have met sisters transitioning who hadn't fully counted the cost before rushing headlong into transitioning and somewhere got the impression that because we are all sisters then everyone should carry the weight and depression resulting from their poor choices. In the last month I have had to say that I was not in a position to provide financial help or lodging. The sad part of this was that I found myself apologizing as if I had somehow let them down. We as women are typically well endowed with compassion and understanding but I am seeing how easily those good traits can be twisted into a sense of guilt or shame. Lastly, over the last week I have been going through my gardens which were left fairly unattended since Genevieve's death in 2008. They were gardens we had created together and I just didn't have any desire to relive all those memories. Well in 5 years a whole lot of ugly can happen and I have taken at least 30 bags of weeds out to be recycled. Today I was in the front of our home in the hydrangea beds cleaning out winter leaves and dead branches. What I began to see was that it was immeasurably harder cleaning and clearing the beds now instead of being faithful to deal with the weeds as they appeared. Our lives are much the same. If you start letting negative traits and attitudes to take root in your personal life and just try to ignore them at some point you are going to have a very large problem to deal with. It can be any old weed whether an attitude, a fear, or, my favorite, procrastination at some point you will hit a wall that you must dismantle before proceeding. It is easier to take down a little wooden fence than an entire wall but we each have to make our own choices. Be Blessed and be true to your heart.
Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes

Living in the House of Mirrors
charlenaandrews
Living in the House of Mirrors
2 April 2013
Back when I was just a wee lass ( at least on the inside) my parents would gather up all of us kids and take us to the amusement park. It was called "Fountain Ferry" and unfortunately was closed in the 60s rather than allow it to become integrated. Back when it was still open it had a little of everything from a large swimming pool and a full size skating rink to an elaborate fun house. My favorite  place to hang out was the room full of mirrors of all sizes, shapes and dimensions positioned in such a way as to confuse and befuddle the unsuspecting customer. I never tired of looking at all the distorted figures that reflected back to me and I was captivated by the mirrors that were place in such a manner as to reflect continuously the same image seemingly forever. When the park closed I forgot all about the mirrorsand went about the process of growing up.
  Early in my marriage I saw a lightweight (paper on tin foil) mirror designed to suspend above the bed with thumbtacks or double faced tape. I promptly ordered one and when it arrived I scurried along my way to install the surprise in the master bedroom. Everything was going well until we retired to the bed and looked up.I am still not sure what it was reflecting but surely it wasn't us, it was horrific. Needless to say it came down immediately and was tossed in the trashcan. Through my years working as a cabinet maker and designer I often used both true mirrors and plexiglas made to resemble it. As long as it was installed flat and true it was a near perfect reflection howver if there were any twist or bows within the materials it was readily and undesireably apparent. Over the years more than one mirror had to be replaced. I have also become aware through mirrors within my own home, especially my dressing table mirror, that proper care needs to be taken to insure the finish on the back of the mirror doesn't become clouded or damaged in any way or the mirror is compromised. It takes a conscious effort to ensure all of your mirrors are true reflections and continue to stay that way.
  Well last evening there was a piece in the news about another amusement park here that was to be re-opened in 2014 and it triggered memories of long ago. Earlier in the day my wife and I were talking about relationships and I shared a truth I had been taught that the wife and children, especially the wife, were as a mirror to the husband. If he cared for her, nurtured and defended her, her countenance would reflect it in her eyes and the joy and peace within her. I know there are exceptions to every rule but this one is true in most marriages. In my spirit Daddy started tying things together for me and brought a great deal of clairity into my own life. I am to be a reflection of my Creator and that is the only true and undistorted mirror- the mirror where I look into His/Her eyes and see myself as I am seen by Daddy. Daddy is perfect and never wavers or wander from the Perfect Truth but unfortunately humans do. I remember my season of coming out and in retrospect it is a miracle I didn't go nuts. By day I lived in a false personna seeking validation ( a good reflection) from the people around me in the workplace. By night I went out as myself taking every compliment or advance to re-enforce my true identity. I have come to believe my strokes were a gift from God to keep me from going crazy or hurting myself. We tend to naively believe all things are fresh and new when we first start out but some old habits or needs die extremely hard. Looking back over the last 5 years I can see countless instances of seeking confirmation of my identity from the eyes and lips of mere flawed humans like myself. If there is a warp or wavering in a person's view of me I came away second guessing who I was all the while being totally aware of my true identity. Many things can damage the image reflected by those around us. It can be their upbringing, religious teachings they have set under, their social climate and stature within it and of course their personal delving into cross-dressing or similar issues. I am accountable for my own thoughts,words and actions but that definitely DOES NOT mean that I must receive and embrace each and every comment or observation from others about my life or lifestyle. The former religioud circles I walked in have a radically different opinion of me than does my current church but it is up to me to decide which to believe or dismiss. The old saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt is a blatant lie from hell! How many suicides by young people were due primarily to relentless verbal bullying? In the same manner how many of our trans sisters and brothers have died for the same reason. Consider that the priests in Jesus' day circulated among the people exhorting them to yell Barabbas and then "Crucify Him". Words can hurt and kill and so in like manner can false images from distorted and troubled people around us if we allow it to take root.  We are,like evry other human on this planet,  seeking approval and validation of who we are but it can only come from the Throneroom or wherever you perceive your Higher Power to be. It takes quiet times of just reflecting and listening to the gentle voice of the Spirit. It isn't rocket science, what you take into your body is reflected in your heath and within us, in the spirit or soul, there is that same truth- what you absorb or embrace about yourself will surely be clearly seen by those around you. We can't go run and hide from any and all confrontations and embarassing moments but we also CANNOT allow those instance to define us. In the Old Testament the life of King David is portrayed from early in his youth. He found the source of his identity and existence during all those nights of tending sheep and singing and writing psalms to his Creaor. Yahweh, He started laying the groundwork in his life early and when Goliath came along he was ready, he knew who he was and that that instance was a part of his own destiny. He believed in himself because he had a true mirror in his life in which to see a true reflection. My praye is that we, as members of the human race and as trans men and women can strive for and attain that same confidence and security in our own identities as he did.
  Be Blessed with a true vision of who you are and were created to be and may you find the strength and determination to never let go of that truth.
Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes

The Fine Art of Preparing and Eating Crow!... like it or not
charlenaandrews
The Fine Art of Preparing and Eating Crow!... like it or not
26 March 2013
The last few months I have been on a fairly regular diet of "pity party pot pie"' with large side orders of easily offending verbal salads and cried in beer. Fortrunately I have been blessed with a wife, a daughter and many close friends who, in love, have shown me the error of my ways or at least of my diet. Sad to say I was just getting skilled at preparing my meals. It went something like this-
Take a large helping of self pity, add to that a large measure of self-centered memories and stir. When it is well blended take a sprig of misunderstanding and a large portion of false piety and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with depression,woe-is-me, chips from your shoulder and blend it all together. Once the dish is prepared put it on the back burner of your poor wounded heart and check occasionally for boiling over. There are no calories in this dish however it is full of fats from the half truths and self centeredness. Finally this meal is best if eaten alone and washed down with plenty of alcoholic beverages. Shelf life is for as long as you desire to be a miserable, sel-effacing twit. Thoroughly dispose of any leftovers as it will tend to rise like yeast if unattended.
  My daughter had a very close friend over Saturday nite for a sleepover along with her son and girlfriend. Their intent was to sit around drinking and just unwinding from the stress of life. Jaime, the friend in question, is like a daughter to me and has supported me since the beginning of my transition. Of course being the fine and proper christian woman I am (snicker) I drank coffee and floated in and out of the conversations. My daughter got her new stepmom, Myralee, up out of bed and she joined in the partying as well.Now the scene is set and fast forward to Sunday morning.
  Katrina finally came to life and fixed a huge brunch. As Jaime and I were standing there waiting for my coffee to finish perking she very quietly informed me she had been reading my recent posts and was tempted to kick my rear and knock some sense in me. She recounted how I had been instrumental in getting her through a very traumatic time in her personal life. She reminded me of all the other people I had helped by my prescence in their lives. I was sufficiently humbled to actually start looking at my life again with open unfiltered eyes. I was caught up in the joy of having Tristan in my life. Slowly remembering all of the plusses and blessings that had been missing from my diet. Looking around I am seeing all those lives that I had been honored to invest my own life into and it helps bring things into a proper perspective and am thankful that I could be a vessel of the unconditional Love and everpresent Hope of the One who created them. My earlier post asked the question "Who am I?"and in reality I have always known the answer but having the wrong diet always seems to effect your inner vision. It is really hard to be a vessel of the springs of life when it is all cluttered with the garbage you refuse to flush out of your life. It is impossible to be a person that reflects all the attributes of a respectable woman when there is a storm of rage and despair brewing within myself. This isn't rocket science, what you take inside you is what is going to come out. Sometimes it just takes someone to love you enough to kick you in the seat of your pants and I had a whole group of people standing in line behind Jaime. Did I pay prices that were painful? Of course I did but the important thing is what I received in return and I can honestly say I am a very blessed woman. My Daddy has not only covered and surrounded me with His Love and Comfort but He also blessed me with true friends, a new and real family and a larger and more honest community of people who don't need hidden agendas or masks. It is so refreshing to be at peace within myself and with the world around me. Did I plan this life out? Nope, but I wouldn't change it or trade it for anything. It is my pearl of great price and I will cherish it all the days of my life. And by the way Crow is best when it is lovingly prepared and presented by someone that loves you, and it goes extremely well with an unlimited amount of pure grace while we try to digest it.
  Be Blessed and may all of your life diets be filled with love, life and laughter and may you be forever surrounded by those who truly love you unconditionally and are willing to speak the truth in love.
Charlena Marie Andrews-Hayes

?

Log in

No account? Create an account