October 29, 2009 The Book on the Shelf
I love to read; my bookshelves are crammed tight. However, there is one book that I avoided even glancing at, even though I had several copies. My first copy was given to me by a nice neighbor lady when I was very young. Another copy was given to me when I was baptized and another when I married. I even received a large copy that was beautiful, with gorgeous pictures throughout the volume. Why did I hardly look at this book for so many years? And why would I have so many copies around of a book I did not show much interest in? I was very much like anyone else; in my heart, I knew it would be good to read, but apathy and a funny mixture of guilt and self-focus kept me from opening its pages. The book I refer to is the Bible. It is the world-wide best seller, but are those multiple copies opened and read? By not reading the Word of God until my 30’s, I kept myself in the dark about God’s light, truth and His love. When I broke through the wall of the guilt/apathy mess, I began to grow in Christ and learn so many things that brought peace to my soul. I also learned about the power of the Holy Spirit to work in me, cleansing me and healing the brokenness that I had struggled through. The Bible is the Word of the Living God, to me – His Little One. The fantastic thing is that it is also the Word of the Living God, to you – who are precious and loved by Him. Now, when I am asked what book I’m reading, I comfortably say which part of the Bible I’m reading and then list the novel, or non-fiction book I’m reading. The Bible truly is the best book ever written; it is divinely inspired! My favorite of all is the Gospel of John, for it reveals the truth of God’s Presence in our lives.
October 28, 2009 People All Around, But Feeling Awfully Low.
At first glance, it would be easy to think my title today might indicate the subject of depression – but it isn’t. On Monday morning, I headed out to see the doctor that did the surgery on my knee a couple of weeks ago. It was my first post-op exam and I wanted to see if my fall last week injured the knee. I was heading into the medical offices of a huge medical complex that included a hospital. Just as I was about to enter the front door, I slipped again on the wet sidewalk and I was down again, hitting the same knee one more time. When I fall, I’m down before I even know what happened. Immediately, I was surrounded by kind people who wouldn’t let me move until a wheelchair was brought out for me. With hands all around me, holding up my arms, elbows, armpits, and back as I gingerly rolled over to my good, left knee and climbed into the wheelchair. I was whisked over to a waiting area, where my temp and blood pressure was taken, and I was looked over by a doctor. I was then wheeled over to the check in area and on to the orthopedic area for my appointment. The 1/2” cut that I had opened up with the first fall last week was open again, bleeding and sore. The orthopedic doctor checked everything out and said there was no damage, but that the pain of both falls is a sprain on the entire knee joint. I think a fall like that is more humbling than bruising physically, although as a person ages (which sadly, I would have to claim I’m doing!), there is the possibility of breaking a bone. On Monday, I had not anticipated falling and being surrounded by people who cared so much that I would not be in pain. I felt a bit stupid, foolish and was really humbled by the idea of so many people doing so much for me, and so quickly. I thanked each as they released me, to go on with their day. I have not ever been in a place of receiving compassion and being blessed by people unknown to me. I do remember jogging in downtown Portland years ago, falling and tumbling awhile and all of the traffic, both pedestrian and auto, screeched to a halt, wanting to see if I was OK. When I pulled myself up, dusting off and regaining what was left of my composure, people went back to what they were doing. At the time, no one came close. On Monday, not only was I surrounded, but people took an active role to make sure I was OK. I am humbled by their kindness and compassion.
October 27, 2009 God’s Waiting Room
I’ve spent time in God’s waiting room. There are beautiful pictures hung on the walls, each with a specific promise splashed across the gorgeous colors of landscapes and seascapes. There are lots of comfortable chairs, couches and even restful beds for those who, like me, find themselves here for years. Oh, we still live busy lives in the real world, but in this spiritual place, we reside here resting and trusting in our God through the power of prayer. We encourage each other with the loving words of our Father God, those precious words found in the Bible. They are loving words that bring comfort and peace in the midst of perplexing problems. We rejoice when one of us hears his name called and enters into the very Presence of God, receiving the answer to the prayer of his heart. This week, I heard my name and how I was filled with joy when my Father God revealed His answer, the one I had sought for years, on behalf of a loved one. He has indeed softened the heart that was cold and angry, warming it to long for truth and love. I will be visiting God’s waiting room again, with another prayer to place before my Father God, but I am richer, deeper and much happier because of the excitement of living with prayer fulfilled in the power of Almighty God.
October 25, 2009 Grace, What’s That?
Today I learned a wonderful definition of grace. It is the undeserved gift from an un-obligated giver for the purpose of relationship. The definition hits me between the eyes with the beauty of its truth. I am often caught up in thinking whether people deserve the things they want or need. When I think about the idea of grace, I realize that the first thing that should hit my noggin is that it’s not up to me to decide if the receiver is deserving or not. The part of grace that really blows my mind is the purpose of the gift. It is not for the receiver to honor the giver, although sometimes that does happen. The real purpose of the gift is relationship. To bless another with a gift, without emotional or physical strings that tie knots of discord, is such a wonderful way to build relationship with one another. Lessons of love (and grace!) are easy to see and hear, if one is willing to listen.
October 24, 2009 Gosh, Triggered Again
I know that I am doing better. I didn’t fall apart completely and bite all my nails off. One that I care for is facing consequences of their own choices. Emotionally, I want to take away the hurt and make it all better. Rationally, I accept that not only am I not able to, but it really is not the best thing to do, even if I could. Sometimes, life hits hard and there is a moment for every person when you come to the end of yourself and realize you have blundered too many times and need something to change. All of a sudden, anger that you thought is just fine to hold onto for the rest of your life has changed your life and made it rock hard and cold as ice. Were I to emotionally make everything better for this one I love, it is possible that the hard time of realization may not come. So, I instead release this loved one to my Lord Jesus, that His love would draw him to the source of love and complete healing, a relationship with the God of the Universe. In releasing this one I love in prayer, I am released from the emotional trauma of trying to make everything right. I have no power, no ability to do so and finally, have learned to accept that fact. I can be OK and take care of myself, resting in the power and love of my Savior and Lord.
October 23, 2009 Amazing Friendship
I have a remarkable friend. We met more than 20 years ago. We were both in a time of accelerated growth, in faith and in how we were choosing to live that would reflect our faith in Christ. Our friendship has been profound; we have impacted each other with life-altering truth, courage and trust. We have had a relationship that proved solid when either of us challenged the other to set aside negative thoughts and actions, to embrace God’s truth and blessing. We have weathered the times when the only thing possible was to be there for each other, through brokenness, pain, loss and death of those we have loved so much. Ours is a friendship of encouragement, investment in each other and the eternal impact of our lives and above all, a deep love borne in the heart of God, for His good purpose in our lives. The most exciting aspect of our friendship is that it is just beginning! Life eternal has a most joyous aspect of eternal friendships. I cherish my dear friend and the gift of her friendship.
October 22, 2009 Sometimes Life Gives You a Toss!
I was feeling good yesterday, recovering well from a small knee surgery and enjoying the autumn colors. With the coming of the cooler temperatures and of course, the rain came. I think sometimes life gives you a toss just to shake things up a little! I slipped on a rainy, wood ramp and popped open the tiny, one-stitch surgery site as my knee hyper-flexed and I was down and bleeding before I even knew what was happening. My foot snapped back next to my hip in a movement I had no control of. I spent the next 5 hours with my dear husband in a local emergency waiting room that was burgeoning with hurting and sick folks. As the hours passed and the discomfort expanded because of the fibromyalgia exacerbating the muscle pain, I struggled with the need to be calm. Throughout the afternoon, we heard others’ expletives, as they complained in an attempt to be seen quicker. It was like a dream room of pain, rocking back and forth in an attempt to ease corporate discomfort. It all finally came to an end when my name was called, as we had finally broken down and purchased lunch about three hours late. The doctor carefully examined the knee and the x-rays, pronouncing all the important structures intact and only a hyper-flexing of the thigh muscle as the only damage. A day or two more of feeling pain and all will be well once again. After such a time of discomfort, I always marvel at the ease which I seem to set aside appreciation of my body feeling good. I want to drink in the moments of the absence of pain. I am thankful, for this injury, that there is no further damage.
October 20, 2009 Seeing the Rainbow ~ And Beyond
The beauty of rainbows has always fascinated me. They always come on the heels of rain, which fits perfectly (as things really do) with the promise in the Word of God. Rainbows are the physical reminder that God remembers His promise to never allow the rain to flood the entire earth again. The beauty and wonder of the rainbow has come to represent much more than that. The idea of a fortune being at the end of the rainbow, if you could ever get to the end, is folklore and silly and yet many people are caught up in it. In “The Wizard of OZ,” Dorothy sweetly sings of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as a perfect place to live. There is one in my life who has helped me to see rainbows and dreams with a new perspective.
I knew from when I was little, that my life would somehow have a purpose. It took me years and years to find what it was, that it was not just one thing, but a whole tapestry of interwoven blessings of relationships, activities and desires that would fulfill my life so completely that I would be ready to live in the real utopia, the place where the Living God dwells and is preparing for me. What I have learned from this one so dear, is that each person has their own perception of the beautiful tapestry that God has woven for them, and they need to seek it, even if it takes years, as it did for me. I cannot tell them what it is, what I think it might be, for it is within their heart, a private communication between the God of the Universe and their soul. As they discover their tapestry, and the wonder that God has created them to be, that same fulfillment that I have been experiencing will be theirs. So what I am learning, is to let go… to let go… of my preconceived ideas about their lives, what can be and what should be, the mom, the friend, the decision maker for their lives – it goes on and on what I have been so caught up in and now, am letting go of. I am learning … to watch the beauty of rainbows, and dreams, in a whole new light.
October 19, 2009 Child Teacher
Raising children is like an intricate puzzle. The first challenge is that caring for a baby forces you to grow up. Gone are the days of self-focus; days, and nights too, are filled with thoughts of what the child’s needs are and the step necessary to meet those needs. Then, the days of wonder and joy come as the little one experiences life, the beauty of flowers and butterflies and mud pies. The very best piece of this beautiful puzzle of life is the moment of realization that this child has taught you about love. The love a child teaches is not dependent on looking good, doing good, performing perfectly or fitting in with the right people. It is a love that accepts all, endures all and gives all. I think that’s why God gives us children. One who slows down enough to learn is blessed indeed.
October 18, 2009 Life Invaluable
I’m drawn to that moment of beginning, of the physical conception of a child, but more than that, the moment of creation. In the first chapter of Genesis, God says, “Let us make man in our image.” I believe in the literal interpretation of the Word of God. I think there is a lot more to the creation of a child than just the physical form. I believe that humanity has been imparted with intelligence, creativity, humor, emotions, and above all, the desire for relationship ~ all from our creator. I think God has these qualities, and many more; we are unique in all of creation, in that we mirror the image of God. We are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 states. I have had the privilege to participate with God in the creation of life. Each of my children were unique, even from the womb. One kicked and moved about constantly, as if saying, “I want out of this very limiting space, let me out!” He has always been one to challenge the limits, I think for greater heights than we could ever imagine. It is leadership that challenges old ways, receiving the best and creating even better for humanity. This didn’t happen when he was in high school, or as a toddler, but from the very moment of conception and his development in the womb. Life is invaluable; we need to cherish life in the womb, care for mother and child and protect them both.
October 17, 2009 Prayer
My most profound moments in prayer have been when I completely let go of myself and ask God to place on my heart what He wants. Often, this brings on such a sadness; it is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldy sorrow brings death.” I find myself broken for those who suffer, for the babies torn apart in what used to be the safest place – the womb, broken for the little ones who are forced to perform sexual acts that scar their emotions for the rest of their lives and broken for the victims of violence, broken in body and in spirit. I weep for the pain so many endure, pleading before my God for an end to the evil that roams the land, for a beginning of the healing and for the power of His love to cover those who are hurting so much. It seems such a turn-around from my posting yesterday, talking about laughter. I am often in this duality, weeping for the pain that too many people suffer and then, so completely healed through the power of God’s love, that I am able to laugh and rejoice in the beauty and fun of life. I am thankful for the Godly sorrow, because it keeps me grounded, never forgetting the pain that so many people are living in. It also keeps me before the Lord, ever pleading for grace, that people will seek His Presence and His love.
October 16, 2009 Time
I remember one day when I was 14, I longed for the time when I would be 18. It seemed so far away and time seemed to move so slowly. Now, I’m so many years on the other side of that magical moment of 18 years old. These days, time seems to fly by, as if time itself is caught up in the blustery autumn wind. The science of the number of minutes in an hour and hours in a day stays the same and yet, my perception is now that I long for time to slow down, to let me cherish moments with loved ones deeper and longer and let laughter ring on and on in our home. I was once so serious from years of abuse that I didn’t even know how to laugh. Rod taught me to lighten up and have a great time. Now, every day is fun with him. I think I’m still learning to appreciate the moments, to cherish loved ones and to laugh even when life seems to be too serious.
October 15, 2009 What’s in a Name?
Several years ago, I began writing down my dreams, especially when they were profound. I had a dream one night that was the beginning of something profound. In my dream, I was given a new name, Little One of sweet spirit. It sounds a bit corny, but more than a year later, a dear friend began to call me Little One. I had forgotten about the dream and for awhile, I thought it was a play on words – because I’ve always struggled with being overweight. But I felt, no, it wasn’t that. It had to do with being one of God’s Little Ones (see Matthew 18). I happened upon my dream log and the name. Wow, but it didn’t stop there. More than a year later, I was sharing with a group of ladies about my book, Flame of Healing. I happened to mention my birthday was the next day and as we were visiting, the ladies quietly made a beautiful birthday card, with each of them signing it. Later that night, I looked more closely at the card. My breath caught as I read what one lady had written, “Freda, in Swedish, means My Little Girl.” From that moment, I received it with the love it has been given.
October 14, 2009 Storms, Final Part
My identity used to be tied up in the emotional knots of abuse/violence. I was confused, emotionally raw and unable to understand what normal of anything is. Life was one huge, on-going storm. When I learned about Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and Lord, I tenaciously held on to the hope I found in Christ. For a season, I was immobilized with anger/depression/pain and tended to focus on the stuff that seemed to pull me down into a pit of muck. The hope was like a tiny, very strong rope that I could hold onto and it slowly pulled me out of the pit. When I began to actually read the Bible, I found it filled with hope and love and tremendous healing. The final part of the storm for me is that my identity is no longer tangled up in it, but rather as a child of God. That is why I no longer fear storms; even in the midst of the worst I will still be a child of God. I would love to visit about what storms you, my friends, have weathered and how.
October 13, 2009 Storms, Part 3
My tendency in a storm is to curl up in a ball and cower in fear. However, with the relationship I have with my God, I do not see storms in the same way. Now, I see them as opportunities. Wow, what a change! Just underneath the huge waves of the tempest, God’s love is there for me. His provision is ever present, faithful and true. All I need to do is release myself to His love and care. The storms of life can be brutal - violence, cancer, stroke and so many other awful things that occur every day. The horrible consequences are still there, but my fear of them is not. Now, I watch daily for the love of my God and how He weaves into my life His grace, love and power in whatever happens each day. It releases me to be able to delight in the good things of life, such as laughter, family, friends, beautiful warm summer days, blowing winds of autumn, little babies, grandchildren, and so many more. This same love and provision prepares me to weather the storms that are headed my way, like the pain/recovery time of my out-patient surgery this week. Other storms that are way out, further than I can see, or know about, are still there and will try to slam me against the wall. In the past, I indeed felt slammed. But I know now, even when my feelings are volatile, God’s love will still be with me, and will never leave me.
October 12, 2009 Storms, Part 2
When the storm threatens to overcome you, a bunch of emotions swirl around like a black hole – one you could easily fall into. All the religions of this world attempt to bring peace to the soul. In Christ, there is relationship, not mere religion. The hope and help Christ Jesus gives is real, as real as eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich (mmm good, by the way). Because Christ bore the penalty of my sin, (all those times when I’ve hurt people and other times that are too horrible to even mention) I have forgiveness and the peace to go through any storm. Just one of those storms was the loss of financial means for 3 years, loosing our home, running out of money and facing eviction and homelessness. That pulls you down a peg or two; the stress and hurt are incredible. It has been such a miracle to have been given the opportunity to be caretakers in this beautiful park, live in the park (rent free!) and have these years to catch up financially. It was not coincidence, nor just plain luck, but by the providence of God and His gracious provision. We have learned to appreciate His gifts and receive them joyfully. I longed for a deeper relationship with Christ and through this season of loss and grace, I’ve needed to depend on Him so much, that I learned I could! I have a peace that is deeper and more powerful because I have relationship with the Creator of the universe.
October 11, 2009 Storms, Part 1
Storms are horrible in their destructive power. People suffer in the loss of their homes, flooding and illnesses that hit after the disaster. There have been storms of life that I have weathered, wondering at the time, if I would even survive. I came to the very edge once, wondering if my life was worth trying to get through the storm that slammed me to the wall. What I learned was that I needed God; I no longer could stand around and wait for a loved one to join me. I needed God every day, to help me through the storms of life. I chose to follow Christ Jesus and since that day, I have become stronger and able to weather the storms. Jesus really did walk on water and calm the wind and the sea. He has power over the natural. He invites us to enter into the super-natural, the power that He shares with those who receive His gift of resurrection power. He freely gives power to forgive, power to offer grace and power to love unconditionally. I will never forget coming to the brink of destruction in my own personal storm; nor will I forget how much I need God in my life every day.
October 10, 2009 Rescuer
I have found myself falling into the deep hole of wanting so much to help those who are hurting that I make unwise choices. I am so very thankful that I married a great man, Rod. He has helped me to stop those unwise choices before I was stuck in some pit with people taking advantage of me. My heart is so intone with others’ pain, that I get caught up and want to rescue. The hardest lesson I have learned is that it is up to each person to want change enough to take the steps to attain it. I have learned I can offer in words of comfort and peace, sharing the hope and healing I’ve found in Christ. I have to be careful not to get caught in the web of someone who whimpers about pain, but doesn’t want to take any steps to get out of that pain. I am willing to give my time and energy to help people, but I have to be careful how much time – taking care of my own emotions are important too. One of the ways I love to help others and truly rescue those who are hurting is to work with ministries that have structured assistance for those who need help desperately. I am able to make a difference and take care of myself too. In the pages of my book, Flame of Healing, I open my heart to the one who is broken and needs comfort and peace. My deep prayer is that many will find healing in the pages; it is the Word of God that brings true peace and healing. It has been my joy to fill the pages of my book with Scripture, one verse for each step of healing. Christ Jesus is the true rescuer; I lean into His grace and love.
October 9, 2009 Triggers
Out of the blue, on a great day, something happens that triggers old memories, awful memories. Yesterday afternoon, I was standing in the grocery line. There were two little girls, both about 6 or 7 years old and they both had beautiful, long hair. They looked so much alike, I think they were twins. They got into a tussle and began pulling each other’s hair. I could see, as the silent argument intensified, each pulled harder on the handful of hair that she grasped. Instantly, I felt the searing pain of my own hair pulling fights with my older sister and younger brothers. The two girls at the grocery store stopped their spat quite quickly and without intervention by a parent. I remember the hair pulling as being only a part of escalating violence, which often included kicking each other, punching each other and using objects to inflict pain. It amazes me that after at least 40 years, I am triggered by every day observances, a mom talking too sternly to her children, children screaming, a dad threatening the back of his hand, and two little girls pulling each other’s hair.
When these triggers happen, I remind myself that I am no longer that little girl, who was entangled in pain, causing it and receiving it. I am a new creation in Christ. Many passages in the Bible comfort me; the following is just one of them:
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:4-6
My righteousness is in Christ, not at all in myself. The justice of my cause is the healing from the pain from abuse and trauma. This cause is not like those who are ecologists, or humanists. It is the very personal area of pain that I experienced and even caused others to experience, for the expressed purpose of sharing the deep compassion and love for others who have also suffered, or caused such pain. It is the very reason of my life.
October 8, 2009 Exercise Is Not Such a Bad Word
I have vivid memories of what it was like being a heavy high school student, trying to keep up with all the other PE students and being terribly sore. I wondered how everyone else could run and play ball with the pain I thought everyone had. I didn’t know that I was experiencing pain that wasn’t normal; indeed, most of the other students did not feel the level of pain that I did. I was in my 30’s when a doctor finally identified for me what it was, fibromyalgia. It is a muscle disorder that develops at the cellular level from severe trauma to the body. It can be triggered from a serious car accident or injury, but most of the people suffering from fibromyalgia were victims of abuse. It is the body memory of that abuse or trauma; even if the memories are repressed, the body remembers. The muscles spasm when even a nominal amount of exercise is done. Most people with fibromyalgia have an extremely difficult time developing a healthy amount of exercise because of the pain involved when they exercise at all. This has been the case with me. I have always struggled with pain when I exercise. I do use medication, under a doctor’s supervision, to ease the muscle spasms and pain.
I have a small, out-patient surgery coming up next week for the repair of a torn meniscus (cartilage) in the knee. I was sent to a physical therapist, previous to the decision for surgery. I was given 4 exercises for the knee and a goal to attain with each of them, to strengthen the muscles in the leg. The only way I could do these exercises daily was to make a chart and stick to it. If I allowed myself to fudge a bit, I would soon not be doing them at all. The chart helped tremendously and I have attained the goals, even exceeding them. I am now doing the exercises morning and night, to split up the total to a manageable amount with each time I do them. I have also added some ab exercises and upper body exercises with 5 lb. weights. At first, I could hardly do any, but now, with every day, I do more. The chart really works for me because I am accountable to myself and can see my progress. I’m going to continue to use the chart for building up my leg after the surgery again. I’m also going to continue to use the chart to keep me on track with daily exercise. I really want to be healthy; the easiest way for someone with fibromyalgia is to exercise daily with very slow increases. With the difficulty of this painful, torn meniscus has come a life-changing opportunity to make a positive change in an area that I’ve struggled with all my life. Wow, sometimes God blesses us through a gift wrapped in struggle-paper.
October 7, 2009 Frustration City
When life gets frustrating, what do you do? The easy way I handled frustration in the not too distant past was to lash out at those I really do love, eat my way to oblivion, or loose myself in TV. Today, I had a frustrating day. I can see myself shifting how I handle those moments; they come at any time – usually when I least expect it. I didn’t work myself up to an even higher level of frustration (I often did that too.) I was able to articulate my frustration level and accept the decisions of others, even when I would have been less frustrated had they not made some of those decisions. If this is a bit confusing, it is only to not cause this format to become the place for me to express gossip or a place to blame. It therefore needs to remain somewhat generic. The positive thing is that I was able to deal with the frustration and even see God’s protection over the situation, that it did not become worse. I also did not allow the frustration get to the point of ruining the rest of my day. I went to the Bible study that I go to on Wednesday nights and was very blessed to receive just the touch of grace and mercy that I needed. God is faithful; He loves to stretch and grow us, sometimes through frustrating moments!
October 6, 2009 Wasted Time
For too many years, I’ve wasted time, with lots of excuses. I’ve lost myself in TV, living through fictitious characters and avoiding my own life. Sometimes, food was my choice of avoidance. The results ~ you guessed it! My body showed that my choice of comfort was food. I could have easily chosen drugs, alcohol or some other means of medicating my pain. I happened on food. I remember thinking constantly about food, what I would like to eat and as soon as that was gone, what I would eat next. Healing from the intense issues from abuse and trauma is a slow process and happened over years. Diabetes became my friend, giving me a physical reason to control my eating. I learned I could control my life. Slowly, I began to set aside the pseudo-life of TV shows and began to live my own life, enjoying the moments. I find myself drawn to a new level of this new life, becoming more active each day, finding purpose in writing a blog, in promoting my book, in promoting myself as an inspirational speaker and stretching even more, to be more dedicated in writing my first novel. I still have the everyday activities of cooking and cleaning, family activities and friends, but my huge endeavor is to minimize the wasted time. I want to learn more of what it is to be a friend, to live with kindness and a selfless love. Perhaps it’s a tall order, but as my husband teases me, I’ve joined him in the half-century club! It’s about time I begin to use my time well. With God’s help, I am already growing and feeling more fulfilled than ever. That is a blessing and a very good indication I’m on the right track.
October 5, 2009 No Insignificant Miracle
When I was young, I had worts on my thumbs. I picked at them until the bled, trying to yank them out by the roots. It was horrible. The only remedy I tried was Compound W and it didn’t work for me. For years, I picked and somehow transferred the pain I felt emotionally, to the physical pain that I inflicted on myself. As an adult, I continued this, even after having the worts frozen off with liquid nitrogen. I picked at all my fingernails and the cuticles until they bled. My hands were perpetually inflamed, with each finger having sores that I had picked. It was continuing evidence that I was hurting emotionally attacking myself physically to deal with it. Some people cut themselves or some other way of hurting themselves. I was doing exactly the same, with the twist of biting my fingernails and picking at the skin of my fingers. During the summer of my 51st year on this Earth, something began to change. I began learning little things I could do with my hands – and doing them, rather than picking and biting. Just rubbing my hands, taking care of them, was the gentle reminder that I really didn’t need to rip my skin apart, but instead, I could value my person, my body, as my Lord values me. Today, for the first time in my life, I have fingernails that are long and cuticles that are healthy. Healing continues throughout my life and God gives me miracles that are much more than insignificant. To some, fingernails are vain and not worth even thinking about. But to me, they are a reflection of my emotional strength, vitality and peace with myself and with God.
October 4, 2009 Morning Worship Surprises
Often, I am surprised during a Sunday morning worship service with profound insight, renewed passion and deep blessing. This morning was such a morning. I’ve been praying for one I love, who is stuck in pain from the past. As I opened my heart to the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, He showed me that Today, today, the demonic attack that has been in effect for years and years, has been removed because of prayer and faith in the power of Christ Jesus. It was so moving, I wept in thankfulness and glory of my God. With the constant attack over, my beloved one will feel the love the Creator offers to every one of us. I am receiving this as truth and trusting my Lord God with everything in me. That’s what faith is ~ not some imagining of what you want, but rather a complete trusting that the God of the Universe is fully able and willing to accomplish what He reveals is His will, for His glory and pleasure.
October 3, 2009 Top of the Hill
I have always loved hiking in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Surrounded by majestic, serene trees, I felt enveloped in a cocoon of beauty and peace. When I was hurting with a pain I could not even describe, I would work out the kinks of my awful pain with the great exercise of climbing the Multnomah Falls trail, clear to the top. There’s something exhilarating about attaining the goal of mastering the mountain, at least a part of it! The reward is a view that takes your breath away in its beauty. Faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord, is the pinnacle of mountain tops. From the moment of when I first entrusted my life to Him as a little child visiting a Vacation Bible School with my cousins, I have been blessed with the knowledge of His love and care for me. I have experienced the horror of the pit – pain, both physical and emotional, confusion about the love/hurt family relationships, overwhelming anger and rage, and my own propensity to continue the cycle of violence/abuse. I needed Jesus Christ desperately to help me out of that destructive pit and set me on His path of peace and righteousness. My devotional, Flame of Healing, is helping others who have suffered physical and sexual violence; God has transformed my life to be the very place of compassion for others who are hurting. I’m on the mountain top, with joy filling my lungs like a deep breath of cool mountain air. I’m also humbled even to tears by the beauty of what Christ Jesus has done for me. There has been much healing in my family and now, there are love/love relationships, where there once was strife, anger and lashing out. We are still praying for one, who continues to choose the bitter life of anger and vengeance, for peace to come to his soul. As the warm summer days are pushed away again by the cool wind of autumn, preparing for another winter, my heart is preparing for the cool, refreshing, sustaining whoosh of another mountain top day with my Lord, Jesus Christ.
October 2, 2009 Lifelong Gifts ~ Friends
I was like super-cling wrap as a child. I was so needy that I attached myself to anyone who would befriend me like cat/dog hair to a couch. I depended on my friends so much for affirmation, kindness and most of all, the kind of friendship that sees beyond the obvious lack in cleanliness, social skills and family wealth. I was extremely blessed to have that quality of friendship in abundance. Two friends, and their families, went even beyond to a level of commitment to help me find a safe place, a place of peace.
I met Ruby in fourth grade; we were the best of friends, sharing our berry picking, camp and summers together. I was so safe at her home; I would often visit well after dark. Ruby’s father would take me home in his car. I remembered feeling safe and loved, not at my home, but definitely at hers. As my world expanded, so did my friends. At some point, I neglected my friend, Ruby, who had been so faithful, I think because I really didn’t know what it was to be a friend. (I was in my 40’s, with my own children – teaching them to have friends you need to be a friend, before I explored what it was to be a friend.) One June day, after two years of high school, Ruby moved to Missouri. I was broken in spirit and grieved deeply.
In September of that same year, I met the second of my great friends, Sharon. She became a powerful friend, who would influence my life tremendously. She counseled with teachers and counselors at school, talked with her mom and invited me to live in her home. Her family opened their home to me and for the first time in my life, I no longer lived in a violent home. I stayed with Sharon and her family two years, learning what it was like to value myself and others and live in peace.
These friends, and so many more, who have given of themselves in kindness and genuine love, are friends I cherish and will continue to do so. The absolutely wonderful thing is that after at least 32 to 36 yeas of loosing contact with both Ruby and Sharon, we have re-connected! I am learning that I was important to them too! It is hard to imagine ~ I was so needy and only aware of my own need. Now, I desire to be a true friend and give real, true and bold friendship to these whom I cherish so much.
October 1, 2009 Racing on the Wind
My bicycle transformed my youth, from something like hanging around a cock fight and sometimes being one of the cocks in the fight, to racing on the wind. I would spend hours riding, to my dear friends homes – where there was normalcy and true friendship – to the park for lazy summer days, to nearby cities with exciting shops to peruse, to summer jobs in the berry fields. One summer day, I was singing as I rode (here comes that music again!). A bug flew into my mouth, right to the top of my throat and the only thing I could do was swallow it down! My bicycle was my link to the wonder of God, to the power of His transforming of my life. I was no longer stuck in the mire of family violence, but instead, I was open to whatever God wanted to display before me, hope in the climbing of hills and exhilaration in the joy of flying down the hills of blessing.
September 30, 2009 Trees and Music
My earliest recollection of venturing out and away from the enclosed walls of violence and anger was climbing the trees in my back yard. For hours, I would pick the bumps of the tree, watching the pitch run out and, of course, getting pitch all over me. I also found that music eased my heart and soul. I made up little songs and rested on the limbs of that tree, singing and dreaming of living there in the tree. I guess the lure of the trees and the music has been there all my life, for when I was in college, Rod (my husband now, of 31+ years) found me in one of the trees near my dorm, singing and relaxing. There’s something about the branches of a strong, beautiful tree; they’re almost like arms, enfolding me and comforting me in their strength and beauty. Music touches me somewhere deep inside, bringing peace and excitement, joy and sweetness to my soul. Thus, music also, has been life-long in its power and peace. Is it any wonder that I would join the band in school? Even still, when I find myself alone driving, I will crank up the radio (praise songs and the easy listening of the 70’s music) and sing along – no one has to listen to my sadly-slightly off-key meanderings!
September 29,2009 Reflections
This summer was one of reflection, back to those days of childhood. I see the hand of God, moving over my life – to protect me, to help me survive those years of violence. Heck, I had even became violent myself – inflicting pain on others. And yet, the hand of God was moving, wooing me to His place of peace and healing. To feel the forgiveness of those I hurt and the wonderful grace of God, forgiving even the depths of depravity that I sunk into is a feeling beyond my scope of description. I was thinking this summer of all the precious friends that came into my life and how each brought me hope of a life without violence, without daily trauma. I really don’t think it was by any chance, but by the Providence and Presence of God that they each poured blessing into my life, like a cool stream bubbling down a mountain ravine in the heat of a summer’s day. I deeply needed hope and soaked it in like a thirsty parched camel, even storing up the hope like a camel does for the dry days ahead. I cherish every one of those friends and the powerful gift of hope that each poured over me, blessing me even now with the memory of how much I was needy of that hope.
September 28, 2009
When I have been confused, God has made clear to my heart the way. The Bible has blessed me with direction, purpose, and complete fulfillment of who I am.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
I love to write and yet, feel very challenged by the idea of bloging. Today, I am beginning a new thing, with the confidence that God will open my heart and that blessing will come from the effort. Words are powerful; just a few days ago, I jokingly said something negative and wow, I felt horrible the rest of the day. It was as if the negative comment proclaimed the negative into life. I had never felt that before. I found myself seeking God for cleansing of my heart and of my own mouth.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there
be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23,24
Right on the heels of that beautiful cleansing, I felt the prompting of God to be a voice, to not be afraid of my own undisciplined mind, but to be a voice for righteousness. I no longer am content to be negative, even in jest. Today is a new day; it is bright and beautiful and I am embracing with excitement the new thing that God is stretching forth in my life.