Persistent planting #Write28Days

Brokenness plants seeds in our life that unfortunately grow like dandelions on a freshly mowed lawn. You think the brokenness is repaired, just like you think the dandelions are gone when you mow your yard. With a persistence, the dandelions rapidly expand and take over ever little inch of ground they can cover, despite the fresh manicure. That was the picture in my head as I prayed for someone specific.

The abuse, neglect and trauma the person experienced, planted seeds that kept sprouting up at the most inopportune time. The seeds persistently keep sprouting weeds of depression, anxiety, and more trauma. The weeds planted have been controlling too much of the person’s life; creeping in and covering areas that they have no place being. As much effort is placed in controlling the thoughts, they continue to blow over into other areas of life. It is a picture that I have seen recreated over and over again in many people’s lives that I have encountered over the years.

I realized it is like that for all of us. Although the triggers and responses may be different; the picture is the same. We all have dandelion seeds planted in our lives. We have little control over the seeds that are planted in our lives by others, especially during childhood. Those seeds tend to have the deepest root and widest spread in our lives.

Often times we are so familiar with them, that like little children, we grasp the weed in our hand and blow. We blow and cover things that we don’t even recognize as brokenness because they have been present in our lives so long they are normal. We spread the seeds into the lives of those around us, and into relationships that didn’t plant the seed.

persistent plantingThere are things that we bring from childhood into adulthood that came from negative family patterns. They might be poor communication skills, unhealthy boundaries, thought patterns that have been established through modeling, or unrealistic expectations. We carry those familiar things into adulthood and unconsciously believe that everyone else has the same view point. We may see other’s viewpoints as faulty because they are different. We may take the hurt caused by others out in new relationships expecting a new person to make up for the sins committed by another or expect them to treat us in the same negative patterns. Often times our reactions become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

We have no control over the seeds planted in our childhood, but we do have control what we continue to plant in our lives in adulthood. We can make a choice to persistently plant other seeds that can counteract the weeds. There are a lot of Scriptures that bare this truth.

The Word of God, also known as the Bible is called a seed. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Luke 8:11 ESV

What we plant will grow if we tend to it. And although it won’t happen over night, if we persistently plant good seed, it will grow and will start to reproduce good in our life. Finding scriptures that speak to the truth you need planted is a helpful place to start.

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26‭-‬29 ESV

We may feel like the seed that we are planting is small, but even the smallest seed can produce big results. That small seed has the ability to help others and move mountains! Meditating on scriptures that you have found, repeating them to yourself when those negative thoughts come up can feel like a small step, but do it often enough and it starts to grow.

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
Mark 4:30‭-‬32 ESV.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 ESV

The good seed can grow with the bad seed and still harvest a good result. The more you decide to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with the truth of what God’s Word says, the bigger the harvest will be. You may start with focusing one one area, but as you get that area under control, you can start to combat other lies that have been planted in your life that are causing brokenness.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” Matthew 13:24‭-‬30 ESV

We all have seeds that have been planted in our life. Seeds reproduce after their own kind. We have to make an intentional choice to plant good seeds in our life to counteract those that were planted through the years that have created weeds in our thinking. Eventually if we persistently plant good long enough, it will choke out the weeds that have been caused by brokenness. The Word of God, the Bible, is full of good seeds that can be planted to over come most every negative seed that has been planted.

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This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge was to write 28 days in February. I am running way behind, but wanted to finish anyway. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.

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Eternal tent

Scripture:  For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Application to my life:  One day both my physical home and my earthly body will be a pile of dust.  Whether from natural causes or worldly disaster, they will both one day be destroyed.  Yet, God has laid up for me in heaven a place that He has prepared that is eternal.

It will be a place not picked by me.  It will be a place not fashioned out of the DNA of earthly parents or made by human hands.  I will have a new body, perfectly made in His image.  I will be like Him.  I will exactly where He wants me to be.

EarthlytentDespite that promise, I also know that this side of Heaven He longs for me to reflect His image.  He longs for me to bring glory to Him.  He longs for me to follow His will.  He longs for me to follow His ways so closely that I am always exactly where He wants me to be.

I know I am not there yet.  It is my desire to get there, through His presence and power.  He has given me the Holy Spirit to help me do it.

Your response:  Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to seek and save me.  Thank You that He has gone to prepare a place for me. Help me to live now, abiding in your presence and reflecting Your image to the world.  Thank You for guiding my steps, help me to obey so that I may walk where You have called me to walk.  I know that You have plans for me here on earth and I want to  do what You have prepared for me.  I want to be who You have called me to be and to accomplish everything You have prepared for me.  I want to live for You until I can come to the eternal home You have prepared for me.  Help my unbelief in doing this so I will be obedient to you.

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I can obey

As the world starts opening back up in the midst of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, I feel like the one thing I have learned in all this time is I can obey. I listened to my husband, the governor, the president, the orders and the guidelines. I might have questioned things, and still am, but I did what I was told to do. This is not something that comes naturally to me; the Lord knows that about me.

Most people obeyed. Some even to the point of laying down fundamental freedoms. Some people not only obeyed mere recommendations, but they passionately defended their position. Some not only defended, but were compelled to try to help others come to the same conclusion by whatever means necessary. Television was full of well-known people telling us to stay home, wash our hands and practice social distancing.  People took medical advice from celebrities, millionaires, and politicians as if they were top doctors in the field.  People shared information as fact that came from unknown sources or that was passed through the chain of people much like the childhood game of telephone. 

IcanobeyAs I thought about all the guidelines and recommendations we have all been listening to and following, a question came welling up in my spirit.  “Will you obey Me, like you have obeyed man?” It has rattled me a little, because I like to think I obey God. Yet, I know there are times when I feel His prompting and I ignore it. I question His instructions longer than I need to question. I question Him instead of taking action. I ask for other’s opinions instead of trusting His direction.

Yet in the midst of this crises, I have obeyed first and questioned during and after. Why do I not give God that same or even more respect? I know that God is for me. I know that God will not lead me to a path of destruction. I know that God has given the Holy Spirit to help me obey.

Scriptures say repeatedly that obedience to Him shows my love for Him.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:21‭-‬26 ESV

He empowered me with the Holy Spirit so I could obey His commands.  What if I stopped making excuses and just did what He tells me to do?

But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 ESV

There comes a point for me where I stopped taking things I read and heard at face value, and I started looking at the original sites – whether it was government data or executive orders and where that authority came from.  What if I searched out the truth from His Word, like I have searched out the truth during this season?

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2
 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 ESV

What if I loved Him, with His love language, obedience?

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

What if I took Him at His Word, like I have taken others at their word during this time?  There is power in being obedient in God’s timely instructions to us.  He has really been speaking to me about obedience. I have to chose to obey Him.    What if when I hear His voice, I didn’t question, but radically obeyed!!! I can obey, only I can decide if I will.

 

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Experimenting in the Brokenness #Write28Days

I have mentioned before that healing comes in levels. This was initially surprising to me, but now I realize I need to experiment in my brokenness to get to complete healing. I have to feel comfortable enough to try things I would not have done in my brokenness. Stepping out can be scary, but each time I find the courage to do it, it takes me a step closer to wholeness.

ExperimentIt is only in experimenting that I can find where the areas are that still need work. I can not know that trust is an issue if I never put myself out there to trust again. I cannot experience love again if I don’t experiment loving again. I can not experience forgiveness if I don’t first forgive.

There have been times, like with trust where I have been able to experiment and fully give myself to trusting another, only to have trust broken again.  Often,  I have found that broken trust creates a completely new wound.  For example,  when my trust is broken by a new person that I have not had a history with before.  I remember a small group of people that I shared my dreams with for the future.  One particular woman acted as if she wanted to help bring those dreams to fruition.  We started down the path, but ladies several warned me not to trust her completely.  I did not heed the warning.  I later found out that she liked my dream, but wanted it for herself.  She turned on me and turned others against me.   I walked away from that experience with a broken trust, but it was a fresh wound, one that God quickly mended in ways that I had never imagined.  The woman’s actions had not stopped my dream, but instead showed me where I had gone astray.  Her actions helped put me back where I needed to be with a fresh vision of a dream not of my making, but of God’s making.

However, there have also been times where the broken trust, opens a wound that never truly healed completely.  I have been married for almost twenty one years.  It is our second marriage to each other.  Our first marriage lasted only a year and a half.  It started on rocky ground and it only got rockier as the months went by. We both hurt each other a lot, and there were a lot of deep wounds.  We reconciled after much counseling, and had a better foundation to build our marriage and family on the second time around.

However, when small things would happen, I often found myself questioning my ability to fully trust my husband.  We hit a rocky patch about five years in, and my trust was broken completely.  He wanted counseling again, but I was not sure that what was broken was worth restoring.  I realized that I had never fully healed from our first marriage.  I have allowed the wound to scab over, but the scar remained and underneath was an infection just waiting for the right combination to fester back up and destroy our relationship.  That wound had to be reopened and cleaned out again in effort to truly heal.

For the weeks and month that followed, we met with a Christian counselor weekly.  I had to agree to experiment with trust.  I had to allow my husband to build back what was lost, but the only way for restoration and healing to fully take place was one experiment at a time.  During that time, the littlest things would scratch the surface and all the poison from our previous marriage would come spewing out my mouth as if he needed to be reminded of failures from nine years before.  That would put him on defense and instead of healing, we would just dig a little deeper into the wound.  With lots of prayer and Godly counsel we made it through that time.

I realize now, that because of our relationship and the intimacy of it, he has the ability to open up wounds that he didn’t create.  He has the ability to go deep enough with me that even the smallest bit of unhealed hurt in my life can come to the surface. I have to be willing to recognize that is not his intention.  He loves me and does not intentionally want to hurt me.  I have to experiment with being vulnerable enough to let him know when his actions or words are taking me to a place that I still need healing.  I have to experiment with being open enough not to put up walls immediately instead of being open. He has to experiment with being with me in the brokenness without getting defensive.  We have to experiment in the brokenness together to find healing.

Every hurt is not the same.  Every wound has the potential to open up other wounds or to just create a new wound.  Wounds heal differently.  It means experimenting in the very areas that we have been broken, being vulnerable enough to allow another in.  It means experimenting with how much we open ourselves up to others, especially those we are closest to.  It means experimenting with giving the benefit of the doubt and sharing what we are feeling and experiencing in the moment.  Brokenness does not have to be final, but it does take experimenting with stepping out of our comfort zone to find healing.

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This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.

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Sparrows in the Brokenness #Write28Days

In late February I set out for a two week day vacation to New York followed by Israel.    It seemed that each step of trip, I got news that would rock my world.  It started with the day before I left for New York.  Then the night before I was to leave New York, I received more devastating news.  And then the morning following our arrival in Israel I received more bad news.  Each of these are someone else’s story, so not mine to share publicly, but they broke my heart and rocked my world as a mother, a mimi, and a spouse.  Being separated and not there physically for those I loved made the feeling of brokenness that much deeper.

I had saved and planned for over a year, and the trip had been postponed from November to February.  I was there with a dear friend, and we both called it the trip of a lifetime.  I settled in my mind that I would enjoy the trip and focus on being in the present instead the brokenness I could do nothing about.

Sitting on the sea of Galilee six days into our trip but the first morning in Israel, I felt so broken surrounded by people I didn’t know at all.  Our tour host shared how Jesus has spoke “Peace” to the storm on that very same sea.  He shared more, but I just wept.   I prayed with three other ladies, not sharing all that was on my heart, but just speaking peace into each other’s lives and the storms that we were each facing.  Then such a wave of peace came over me. That peace that surpasses all understanding. It has not left, and at times as people as how the circumstances are, I have to remind myself why it would be a question because my peace is so real.

Throughout the next eight days, I kept seeing sparrows, and I knew that God was watching over me and all of my family. I would smile.  This passage kept coming to mind,

“Therefore, don’t be afraid of them, since there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. What you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the housetops. Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:26‭-‬31 CSB

Nine days later we were coming back to even more turmoil as the CO-VID19 had started shutting areas down.  I realized that God had protected us even there as we had planned to go to the Church of the Nativity but it was so packed with tourists that as a group we decided to skip it.  They had shut down Bethlehem to tourists as we left Israel.  Within a week of our return, they were shutting down New York and New Jersey.  We were almost oblivious to the events that had taken place while we were gone surrounding the rest of the world.

87631395_10219423884699303_8360032272614686720_oSitting at the airport, during our layover to return back to our local airport, another little sparrow flew right under the table sitting next to me, inside the international airport! I realize that when we are looking for it, God will show up in the smallest of ways in our brokenness to remind us, His eyes are on us.  He will take care of us.

A few weeks after I returned, I was sitting in prayer and heard this song His Eye Is On the Sparrow.  My mother-in-law used to sing this song at church decades earlier, it was the only time I had ever really heard it.  As the reality of all the brokenness that surround our world tried to press in on me, the presence of the Lord surrounded me so tangibly.  It was just another reminder, God has it handled.  Even if you have heard this before, I would encourage you to listen to this version.  There is hope found in the message of the lyrics, and an anointing in the singer and the music.  It has been my go to song for a few weeks now.

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TBroken Vesselhis blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.  I have been a little sidetracked is it is almost May, but I wanted to finish!

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Growth in the Brokenness #Write28Days

I had planned to mindlessly decompress in front of the television.   I sat watching as the actress told her mom that although she realizes it is unreasonable she wished that her life was as important as those her mother worked to save.  I was quickly filled with that panicky feeling that sets in as you hear something that hits a little too close to home.  

I have had that conversation with my youngest daughter and initiated it with my other two children. I spent much of their younger lives forgetting them at school because I was busy working with children at risk of abuse and neglect. As much as that was true for my own children, I can’t make up for my poor choices then.  They know now that I was wrong and that they are important to me.

Yet today, that wasn’t where my heart sank too. It was deeper than that,.  My heart went to my own feelings of rejection from childhood. Wishing that my parents had shown me that I was important to them. They weren’t off saving other children. My mother was in self protection mode, and couldn’t see her children needed her. My father was in passive mode, he screwed up and I am not really sure he recovered from that failure so he let me get away with whatever.

What I needed was a parent. I needed someone who was looking out for me. Someone who would put boundaries in place to protect me. Yes, we had boundaries in our home after my father came back from jail.  But no one put boundaries on me to protect me from the world around me or from myself. No one was involved in my comings and goings or cared where I was in between. Well, I shouldn’t say no one. My oldest sister and cousin bailed me out of trouble (no, not jail) more times than they probably realized.

No one recognized the little girl circling the drain, crying silently, while her behaviors spiraled out of control. I had learned to be good at appearances,  on the outside there was no physical change in my appearance or my grades.  There were other things though. How does a parent not realize their child has missed 42 days of school in a semester? How does a parent miss the desperate cries for help? How do you work alongside your daughter and not see grown men providing the wrong kind of attention?  How do you allow your thirteen year old child to come stumbling in the door at 2 a.m. knowing she better be there before mom gets home from work?  

Yet almost thirty years later, I am just recognizing my own pleas from that time. As my path crosses those facing similar turmoil, I realize that my parents were not focused on anything being wrong with me, because their focus was what was wrong in their world.  They have both passed away and can offer no solace in the random ponderings of my own past.  They can not change where they were in that time.  I can not change that I walked through it.  

However, I realize that I can allow those hurts to heal.  I can choose to grow from my experiences.  I can open up those wounds and clean the toxic thoughts that were left for my teenage mind to try to create an explanation with back then.  I can forgive my parents.  I can forgive myself.  I can forgive those who used me, those who abused me, and those who didn’t step in to help me.  I can forgive the blind eyes and the deaf ears.

In growth, I can understand that it was intentional on God’s part that I would hear that comment on the television and that it would open up a part of me that I had no been able to recognize before.  He did not cause my brokenness, but as I grow, He can use it.  He knew I was ready to face that part of my past and the deep emotions that it would unsurface.  God knew that I had grown enough in Him, that I was ready to start healing that area of my life.  He knew I was in a place in my own life where I could see that my parents did not intentionally trying to hurt me.  They didn’t mean to make me feel like I was not important.  No one intentionally failed to protect me.

I would also be able to see, because of personal growth, that God’s hand was on me all along.  I know where He brought me from, and I have seen where I could have ended up.  I can see in my brokenness growth.  I can see His hand as those feelings I couldn’t explain; they give me empathy, because I have literally been in the shoes as a child and as a parent.  I can share insight into both perspectives from a place of growth, not of brokenness.  I would see how God has used me to minister to others who are in that spot.  I can see how God used me to minister to parents who are unintentionally causing their children to feel that exact same way.  I can help give name to that feeling for children who don’t have the words to label their own pain. I can facilitate conversations so that they can start healing.

And then, I can make sure that I am intentional now with my children and grandchildren, and the other children that God has placed in my life.  I can be present.  I can hold them accountable.  I can let them know they are loved.  I can be available.  I can be an example.  I can listen and hear.  I can open my eyes to see what I have wanted to look past.  I can encourage. I can praise.  I can treasure.  I can help them see past any brokenness and show them growth is no only needed, it is possible.

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TBroken Vesselhis blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.  I have been a little sidetracked is it is almost May, but I wanted to finish!

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I am His

Song of Solomon 2:16  My beloved is mine, and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.

I belong to God and He belongs to me.  It can not be out of possession, but out of desire.  When I turn my heart completely towards God, it pleases Him.  His heart is always towards me, He only waits for me to be willing  to let His heart towards me to fuel my desire for intimacy with Him.

This passage seems so personal and intimate; yet I wasn’t sure about the lilies and the flock.  My mind immediately went to passages about Jesus being the great Shepherd, like:

Hebrew 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

or passages referencing us as His flock like:

Luke 12:31-32 Instead, seek his[a] kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

And then:

Luke 12:27-28  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!.

Looking at the Song of Solomon passage in light of those scriptures, it would be easy for me to say, “I am His sheep and He will care for me so I don’t have to worry.” That is intimate.  That is the God I know, but curiosity got the better of me.

flocks

I initially did a quick Google search and the quick results said that lilies are poisonous to sheep.  That didn’t sit right with what I know of God’s character, if it is true.  I stopped searching Google and went to  commentaries on the passage.  I found two different takes in various commentaries of the passage.

One take on it is that the sheep will not eat lilies, but will eat everything around it.  So the shepherd is surrounded with sweet, lovely pastures, while the sheep are able to have their food needs met.  The shepherd is able to return home without all the dust and dirt clinging to his body from working all day because he has been surrounded by sweet fragrance all day.  The other take was that the lilies represent faithful people that the shepherd abides with to refresh himself.  God is looking for faithful people who will abide and be refreshed with Him.

I saw it as a recipe, one that God wants me to understand in my own life.  He wants me to surround myself with environments that  encourage me, because I am His.  He wants me to have a the ability to let Him really be mine.   When I am surrounded by things and people that bring me pleasure, that are sweet, and beautiful, it brings me into a place of intimacy with Him.  I realize that when I stay in an encouraging environment, it makes me more joyful as I come into His presence.  It is easier for me to encounter His presence because there will be less filth and stink I feel the need to remove before I can enter into His presence and enjoy Him.

God also wants me to be careful of who I spend my time with daily and certainly regularly.  I need to be with people who are faithful to Him and who are loyal to me.  I need people I can count on.  I need to be around people who refresh me and nourish me; instead of just surrounding myself with people who pull from me, drain me, or are just neutral.  I realize this when I look around in my life and see the true relationships I am in.  When I am not being refreshed and nourished by relationships I am in, I have so much garbage to set at God’s feet before I am able to enjoy His presence.

I can certainly see times in my life where I have not pastured my flocks among the lilies.  I struggle to spend time with Him.  The lies of the enemy build up in my mind.  When I do come to Him, it feels like heavy weights must be lifted before I can draw near.  The high walls must be torn down before I can even recognize His voice.   As much as I desire to enter in, the battle is real when I have not been in an environment that is nourishing to my spirit and soul.

I can tell the times where I do pasture my flock in the lilies.  His presence is so much sweeter and so easy for me to enter into.  I hear Him more clearly.  The revelations are more powerful.  When I come in ready, He always meets me with an intensity that matches my own desire.  I am His, but I allow Him to become mine.

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Anything is Possible #Write28Days

When you are in the midst of brokenness, everything can feel impossible, especially change and healing.  When I was younger, I would often hear adults quote Henry Ford’s  “Whether you think you can or you  think you can’t, you’re right.”  There is some truth to that, because you aren’t going to try to heal if you think it is impossible.  You are not going to try to change, if you think it is impossible.  In the Bible there is a scripture that speaks directly to this.  Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It doesn’t mean that God will take us out of the process.  Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” While God could have Anything is possiblekept Jesus from the cross and death, it would have changed the outcome for us all.  If Jesus hadn’t overcome death and the power of sin, we would have faced the consequences.

There are some processes that need to be walked out, regardless how painful.  Not because God is a sadist, but because He knows what lies on the other side of the journey.  Christ died so that we could be reconciled back to Him.  God knows that we have to walk out our healing so that we will be strong enough to use it for His glory.

It is hard to see how God can use our brokenness for His glory.  There is not a one size fits all answer to how it will be used for God’s glory.  What I know is that with God, anything is possible.  It might be that you will be a mouthpiece for others who are too vulnerable to speak out for justice.  It might be that your journey brings someone else to the knowledge of Christ and their path will take them to greater places.  It might be that your journey brings someone else hope in their journey.  With God you never know how He will use the brokenness and the journey to healing, but it will always amaze you on the healing side.

There have been times, where I have stood at the bedside of a patient, comforted a family or counseled with a young adult, and provided hope.  Connection occurs as I have been able to share from my personal experience.  It amazes me how much of my story I have shared in small pieces to help someone else facing the same situation.  I always wondered how one person could experience so much and still be a productive member of society, with God anything is possible!

If you are ready to start the change process, start telling yourself it is possible.  You may have to speak it until you really believe it.  Start telling yourself healing is possible.  Remind yourself daily that anything is possible.

 

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This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.

Posted in Faith, Restoration | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Anemoia #Write28Days

I was looking up synonyms for nostalgia and came across a word that I had never really heard before. In fact I couldn’t find a definition in a dictionary other than the urban dictionary online, although many posts talked of anemoia.  Anemoia is nostalgia for a time you’ve never known.

It can be fun for a moment to imagine yourself in a different time period, getting swept into a movie or song that gives you a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.  A daydream that can easily be broken as you are mindful that it is not real.  I will often watch a movie with the thought, “I wish I could have lived in the time period” and get a little carried away in thought of how things would have been in my life if I did.  I also have the thought “Thank you God that I did not live in that time period” when I see outhouse and unsanitary living options in movies.  Those thoughts can make me thankful for where I am right now as I return to the present.Anemoia

However, often when we are hurting it is easy to leave reality and cling to the desire for that time or place.  Nostalgia for a time that we have never known.  When things were rough in my marriage, I found myself doing this a lot.  I had two refuges in my mind I would go to when I was most unhappy.

The first was a longing for what I thought would make my marriage perfect.  That takes on different definitions for different people, but in my mind I just knew that if my husband was a strong Christian man, leading our household spiritually as well as physically, financially, emotionally and in every other sense of the word, that we would not have the issues we did.  In some sense, I still believe that, but my anemoia for that was broken as I got close to other Christian wives.  When I started hearing how they talked about their spouses, I realized mine wasn’t too bad.  I would rather give him the grace that he was not living for God than have the attitude some of the ladies did.  So I changed my focus on what he was doing that I didn’t like to what he did that I did like.  It went a long way in changing our marriage.  I still want my spouse to be the spiritual leader of our household, but I am not disillusioned into thinking that everything will be perfect when he is.

The second place I would go in my mind was to my “Camelot” relationship.  This was probably the most destructive thing I could do in my marriage.  I had dated this guy for about three months prior to getting married.  It was a relationship that never ran it’s course.  It ended abruptly because I was a single parent cohabitating when I received a court order that said cohabitating was not allowed (as part of a bigger issue on child support). He didn’t have a place to live and moved out-of-state shortly after.  Because the relationship was short lived, I didn’t get to know all the little things about him that would have caused us to have issues.  In my mind, he got to be the perfect guy.  So early in my marriage, when things got tough, my mind would go to the idea that with the Camelot guy things would be different.   After I was divorced, I met up with him one day, and realized he was not “all that” we talked one other time while I was divorced and I found out he was into drugs pretty heavily.

Like I said though, when things aren’t as we think they should be, it is easy to long for a time that we have never known. The constant daydream of how life would be if you weren’t a broken vessel.  When I got remarried, and things were tough, I would find myself searching his name on the internet.  It was crazy and stupid, because I very well could have ruined the good relationship I had.  I also spent more time fantasizing than working on making the relationship, the marital covenant that I was in, work.

When we are focused on what could be, we can not work on what is.  We can’t change what is, if we are sentimentally longing or wistfully affectionate for the past.  The past is gone. The only thing that we can change is the future and that means taking action in the present to make things better.  Our actions are going to follow our thoughts, so our thoughts must be in the present.  Leave nostalgia to the movies, and live in the present.

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This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.

 

Posted in Restoration | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Broken Relationships #Write28Days

There are relationships that most of us want to have in our life. Relationships with loving parents who accept us and are proud of who we are that give us a sense of belonging. Or a relationship with extended family grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins that give us a sense of connection with our heritage. Relationships with siblings that provide protection, Relationships with friends, and coworkers that give us connection with community.

So what does a person to do when the options in those areas are just broken relationships?

Broken RelationshipsFirst you have to access is it a relationship that can be restored.  Some questions to consider: Is being in a relationship with that family member or friend physically safe?  If your safety is a concern, then it is not a healthy relationship.

Is your emotional wellbeing at risk if the relationship is restored? Will you have name calling, put-downs, negative comments, or other verbal abuse if the relationship is restored?  If your emotional well being is at stake, then it is not a healthy relationship.

Does the restored relationship put anyone else at risk?  There are several factors that could be considered with this question.  If you were abused as a child, you may now be safe in a relationship with your abuser, but would your children be?

Second you need to find out, if you decide that the relationship can be restored, is the other person also willing to restore the relationship?  Understand that if they are not in the moment ready for reconciliation, it does not mean that they will never be. My husband waited over a year for me to be in a place I was ready for reconciliation.  I waited two decades for a relationship with my grandparents.  “No” may mean, “not now”, regardless of how it looks in the moment.

Third, what steps need to be taken to reconcile the broken relationship? Is there some things that need to be said to clear the air?  The conversation may be difficult to have and difficult the hear, but somethings need to be said for healing to occur.  Are there boundaries that need to be set? Sometimes there are clear lines that need to be drawn by one or both parties for the wellbeing of all involved.

Lastly, are there relationships that you have or can establish to help fill some of the gaps where relationships do not exist or are not healthy?  Just because you can not have a relationship with the person you want, does not mean that you can not have the need met through another relationship.   I was blessed that when my grandparents and paternal family stepped out of my life, my husband’s family filled the void left.  They were an amazing support to me and took me in even before I was officially part of the family as one of their own.

Restoration in a relationship should have a boundary of  safety.  There are times that this can occur under certain circumstances – like clear boundaries in a public area or under the direct supervision of another person who has the ability and willingness to intervene if needed.

Broken relationships can take a toll on the soul.  Some relationships do not need to be restored.  Other relationships need to be evaluated.  Sometimes conversations need to be had and boundaries be put into place for healing to occur.  When relationship needs are not met by those who should fill the roles, it is possible to have others step in and meet the needs.  Broken relationships happen to us all, only we can decide how we fill the gaps those relationships leave, can we heal them or do we move on and heal ourselves.

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This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.

Posted in Faith, Restoration | Tagged , ,