After Losing a Child – Moods, Memories, and Misunderstandings

You already know I am the moody one. So this past week I went through some of our  IMG_0372daughter’s personal items. I was grateful to see some things making the generational journey we’d anticipated – someday – not now. Some odd things really touched me – the music she played in the car, because Laurie (Laurel) would email me and comment on a particular song that touched her that day. Her husband gave me the tassel from her post-graduate education, because we researched and proofed American Indian elective courses, and we studied clouds and weather together. And a little angel that I didn’t notice until today had a crown of laurel leaves on her head.

 

Ken and I have different personalities, different learning styles, and consequently, react differently to varied stresses including our grief. Laurie and I were more alike –  very visual people. Ken is more analytical. That does not mean either of us is more right – or more wrong – than the other. We are just different.

 

Those very differences are likely what attracted us to each other, and we know that some of those differences when carried to extreme (cute once in a while when you are dating, but Kendee60smultiple times a day – those same behaviors can actually become irritating). Remembering your first love   (Rev. 2:4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.) is, we feel, an essential rule to both spiritual and physical relationships. Particularly when you are experiencing a huge stress such as grief.

 

Grief, of course, is one of life’s major stresses, and there are many stories of broken marriages, lost relationships and major misunderstandings and woundings from not sharing grace with our truths.

 

Sanguine, my personality, is more like the Biblical character Peter as Tim LaHaye described it in Spirit-Controlled Temperaments during the era of our marriage (before many of you were born.). Ken, on the other hand, is mostly Melancholy, like Moses. (He doesn’t like to stop for directions either.)

 

All kidding aside, we don’t want our relationship to suffer due to fallout from this great loss we suffered together. But many couples have argued, and eventually separated or divorced – because they express their loss differently, and often don’t understand or are unable to express mutual compassion for reactions we truly do not understand.

 

Ken is treading carefully, because he knows my emotions are very close to the surface 9781602903364 My Love to You Always_frontcovthese days. For example, being a visual person, I would typically want all of the precious memories (including every email and recipe in Laurie’s handwriting) to be visible. It seems disrespectful to ‘put them away’ which to Ken would be the norm and bring him the most peace. It is not that he cares less. He still knows they are here, and he treasures them. He cannot fathom that I cannot take my to-do-tomorrow stack and place it in a drawer and close the drawer. He figures, the next morning I can go to that drawer and open it and viola! There is my visual. I on the other hand cannot comprehend something so meaningful being put-away and therefore in-visible. So we share and we compromise.

 

He helped me organize all the emails we found so far into a folder. They are now ‘put away’ or organized for Ken, and available and visible for me in a way I feel honors them. I will be doing the same with her recipes, rather than having them scattered about, I will decorate a holder and have them “respected” and visible for me, and when that is accomplished he will heave a huge sigh of relief at seeing wood – the cleared tabletop where most of it is stacked as I sort them.

 

Then there are the tears and the talking (or writing) I do (like Peter, just because it was silent and I have never understood or appreciated silence). From Ken there are also the reflective reminders of what has not changed. I have used Ken’s surprisingly calming phrase on him many times (oh, you are upset! Has God died?) but he rephrases it for me. He does that because although the phrase makes him laugh and see the temporariness of his (rarely) overblown minor frustration, it would not sound the same to me. His cropped-watchgod.jpgwife-adapted version is more like a prayer that he is praying while holding me – thanking God for the truths that God has not changed, that His promises are true whether we see them, or feel them, or not.

Your spouse or family member could also be a Choleric, like Paul in the Bible (very focused, and direct), or a Phlegmatic like Abraham (God says pack up and start walking, I’ll give you directions as you go – and Abe does…without a murmur or whine. I encourage you to find out if you don’t already know.

I hope this doesn’t seem off-topic because it really it helps if family members can understand themselves and see how one another is wired so we can better respond instead of reacting to stress or to difficult personalities or both.

 

I’d love to hear what is your personality or learning type and if it has helped you to IMG_0511know it.

 

Below are links to personality tests

This one based on Florence and Marita Littauer’s Personality Type materials (Personality Plus , Wired This Way, etc)

http://www.gotoquiz.com/personality_plus_1

 

www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/

 

First Chapters of Spirit Controlled Temperament

 

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Are You Doing Here?

If I ever were to get a tattoo this title would be appropriate.

The phrase is from I Kings 19:9. God is speaking – to one of his children who had been

Frankincense for Cancer

blessed to be a part of an obvious act of God, yet had listened to the enemy and was now exhausted from running in fear, sitting under a bush in the dessert…depressed, and wanting to die.

 

“and the Lord came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 

just as the Lord has said to me, many times, “What are you doing here, Delores?”

 

Were I to draw a timeline of my Christian life, I could mark peaks of “mountain top” experiences that led me to God, sustained me in trouble, and gave me opportunity to be a part of God’s great plan. I could also mark dips of temptation, disappointment, depression, MountainTopand fear.

 

Commitments of diet and exercise, study, prayer, and spending time with others seem to bring reminders as they did for Elijah, that we are no better than anyone else. It is sad that that would make us sad when you think about it.

 

Is that really our goal? For me it truly has been, as my mother was not a good mother or wife, and I SO want to be a good mother and a good wife. Yet many times I have been confronted with the fact that I have many of the same failings and leanings, and I let that sit, rest, then take root and live in my mind and heart. And I get depressed. I am no different.

 

My history with God – those peaks on my timeline shows that God has moved in my life many times, and in many miraculous ways. So why should I ever (and why did Elijah) listen to the enemy’s taunts?

 

– Why should one who had such history with God be found not just considering one bag of chipspotato chips but a cart full? Why should one who has known the benefits of physical exercise be found avoiding the effort it takes? Why should one who has read or watched things which have brought her closer to God, be afraid to toss the book or walk out of the movie that dishonors God or truth?

 

I think God was asking Elijah – and is asking me – much more than a single question

 

1 – What – not why are you here – but what burden brought you here

 

2 – Are you (you who have experienced God’s presence)

 

3 – Doing (are you running from me, or seeking to find me)

 

4 – Here (not so much a place as this moment in time and this emotional condition)

Elijah had that kind of relationship that answers God – even whines to God with his story.

He found the lesson that I’ve experienced time and again.

 

God listenedFootprnts insand

 

Though the original meaning of the word what denotes by what manner (what brought you to this place at this time) – Elijah’s depression story is all about himself– I have been, I am not – and they.

 

God sent helpers. He preceded his answer with comfort and strength through others

No list of don’ts. No condemnation. Just rest. A touch. A reason to get up. Refreshment. Provided.

God gently asks for details

 

What (original meaning takes us to from what or under what [circumstances or influence]

 

are you  1Pub-RAM Panorama 8-20-14 72_0doing – action, deed, work, purpose – [for what purpose)

 

here – [in this time, in this manner]

 

I am reminded of a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary who greeted a slump-shouldered student crossing campus with the question of “How are you doing?” The student began answering, “Well, under the circumstances…” when the professor interrupted him to ask,

“What are you doing under there?

 

That’s my lesson from the Elijah’s story: to ask myself

 

What are my circumstancesunder what influence are my emotions and actions?

 

Who or what am I, a child of God, submitting to, in this moment, in this manner? towersandwich

 

 

Have I accepted God’s provision of rest and refreshment?

 

Have I rested? Really?

Physically and emotionally and spiritually?

 

Have I submitted to God’s provision and allowed/let his messengers refreshIMG_1413 me?

 

Are you also, “under the circumstances” and want to rise above them? Are you angry, or hurt, or depressed that you are even there? Have you quit trying on your own to rise above those circumstances?

 

It is not so much another re-action as it is an act of reclining and trust and dependence.

 

I’ll stop there for today lest we miss what I often missed.

Rest.

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

After Losing a Child – Is your Switch ON?

At first I was ticked off. When I was younger I had someone in my family that would force IMG_5697a smile when I felt I had nothing to smile about. Making my teeth appear and the skin on my cheeks crease into a smile did not change my heart or my disposition. If anything, it made it worse because it confirmed that others had no clue – or sympathy – for what I saw as trauma.

 

Of course now I don’t feel those childish experiences compare to the trauma – the grief of losing a loved one.

 

So when a brother sent me an email asking “WHAT SWITCH DID YOU TURN ON TODAY? THE SWITCH OF FAITH…or THE SWITCH OF DOUBT?” It brought me back for a moment to that childhood encounter.

 

But then I read the rest…

 

He reminded me of Psalm 17:8 – and how God loves me as the apple of His eye and longs to hold me in the shadow of His embrace – but will not force His affections on me. in His Hands

 

He comforted me that my “heart cries” of Oh, God, come quickly – help! Were actually making that choice to “turn on” the switch of Faith. (Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.)

 

I’m not saying I turn faith on and off with a couple words, but that when we turn to God, even when we do not have the strength or clarity to say the words, He sees our heart – He counts it as faith.

 

My brother was encouraging me to keep on making those “popcorn prayers” and cries for HELP because that constant connection would turn off the switch of doubt. (Did God say, will I ever heal, etc.)

 

I turned from the computer to ponder that message and spotted a brochure from our church organization about Haiti after the earthquake. The quotes were stunningly close to what I felt after my personal “earthquake of grief.” Especially these:  3-07160

 

  • In search of solid ground – from devastation to healing
  • Even with the pain, we have to live; we have to start again
  • We are here for the long haul – rebuilding takes time
  • Still, life has to go on. We are forced to live ordinary life in the midst of extraordinary circumstances

 

Just as a devastated country needs renewing, so does a devastated spirit.

 

So how do we start again? How do we turn that switch of FAITH to ON?

 

We might actually do it differently than the person next to us, or the one next to them.   Have you ever wondered why one person finds comfort in being with others, and another withdraws? Both are seeking God’s comfort and help in keeping that Switch of Faith “ON” IMG_5696but they do it in different ways.

 

I would invite you to join me the next few weeks looking at the ways we are “wired” to respond. I’m learning anew re-reading Marita Littauer’s personality teachings in Wired That Way, from examining my learning style, and from examining scripture. Scripture like 2 Timothy 1:7 that reminds us we were not given the spirit of fear but we WERE GIVEN a spirit of POWER, and LOVE and DISCIPLINE. (2 Timothy 1:7) Imagine that – we were spiritually wired that way!

 

It is important to me to understand not only how I am wired, but how my husband is ‘wired’ – what brings him peace and quietness and what renews his mind, and how he grieves differently than I.

 

 

When I take the effort to ask which action or inaction will choose life (bring physical or spiritual health) that turns the switch of faith ON, opening myself to the presence of the Lord to fill me and plant the seed of hope and healing not someday – but now – amidst the chaos.

 

I love how The Message puts it:    cropped-img_0010.jpg

 

Psa. 51:10      God, make a fresh start in me,

shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

After Losing a Child – Grace for the Moment

Another loved one’s funeral yesterday. Pain, Pain, Pain, but also GRACE, GRACE, GRACE. Marcus

 

Admittedly, most of the grace was seen in the family who were saying a final good-bye to  their son. I marveled at the strength and peace of the parents. It was one of those experiences where you want to embrace, and uplift them, comfort them, but they do all those things for you.

 

It was a good reminder too of the peace God gave me on the way to Laurie’s memorial.

And the grace God gave me as I’ve slogged through daily feeling the loss.

The grace God gave me to be reminded and re-live losing our David – Marcus’ good friend. DaveNMarcWienke

 

Then there was the grace infused as I read our daughter’s emails. The grace each morning I wake up and know again that as long as I remain, life will not be the same again.

 

Grace upon grace – Grace for the moment.

 

It reminded me of this verse from Ezra

 

Ezra 9:8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to PrairieandMisc2014 1340leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.

 

The Grace for the Moment, it says, has been shown from the Lord, and has several purposes

 

1) To remind us that those, like Marcus, David, and Laurie, and the rest of us who have called upon the name of the Lord are indeed a remnant who have escaped eternal punishment. Laurie wrote of this and her Mom’s penchant for wanting to “fix” everything for her kids and she told me I had to let go, to trust God to take care of her. She knew she was part of the escaped remnant and often reminded me that she was being refined and I needed to let God do it.

 

2) This grace of remnant adoption gives us the “peg” (a tent-stake or a nail) in His holy j0302829place. What does the peg or nail do? – It binds us, stabilizes us, secures us in His holy place. The priests in Old Testament days went into the holy place only once a year. When Christ’s work was finished, we were given secure access to Him 24/7! Talk about grace upon grace, moment upon moment!

 

3) The purpose of those actions, this verse reveals, are two-fold

  1. To enlighten our eyes – for example at the Wienke funeral, I could see they did not grieve as the world grieves. I could see grace in action. When I look back in my journals, I am reminded of each time I’ve experienced grace, I now recognize that each time it has done what Ezra tells us:
  2. Grace has given a little reviving in our bondage

 

I am in the bondage of grief, but each moment of grace brings a little revival. I thank  Michele, Lane and Alex Wienke, and my daughter Cheri and husband Frank, and so many others for sharing  Hundai acc - fronttheir grace with me. I thank them and so many others for their grace-giving prayers.

I thank God for giving me Grace for each Moment.  For reviving me.

 

Reviving: from the original chayah – meaning to repair and restore to life, to give  promise to life

 

Thanking God today for His many works

of painful repair

– tearing out brokenness, rotten parts, gutting out the mold then nailing or plastering and re-creating me

of restoration

  • exhausting – like physical therapy – rebuilding – overhaul – a returning to a normal or  fireworksTREEoflifehealthy condition

 

 

and for the MOMENTS OF GRACE that give promise to life.

 

 

 

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

God’s Word Spoke to Me

GodSpeaks-Worshipheart

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare!

What are you preparing for?  judytablesm

That is a question I often ask myself .

 

-when budgeting

I purchase more in harvest to prepare for winter, when I need purchase less items because the freezer and pantry are full. In winter I save what I do not spend of food budget to prepare for the next harvest’s purchases.

 

IMG_1883-when shopping

I ask myself, are you preparing for health or gluttony (I’ve put many things back thinking of Romans 13:14 – make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires).

 

 

 

2015Planner-when listing daily goals

am I preparing for my one thing first, preparing for God’s spontaneity, or preparing for failure – listing more goals than possible to accomplish

 

Bibleheart-when praying

am I preparing to listen for God’s direction or to tell God what to do or how and when to do it?

 

 

IMG_4879-when writing

do I know for what am I preparing the reader’s heart. How can I map the journey if I am not sure of the destination?

 

Preparing can take time we don’t want to spend, but when I look back, I can see that the things that went best were well prepared. I have also found the more I do it (habit) the more it becomes a pleasure.

 

If I am going to eat healthy, I must first replace unhealthy things in my cupboard so when hunger strikes, I am ready with desirable and delicious healthy treats. If I leave one bag of chips, my downfall, I am actually preparing for failure – expecting it and already giving in to it.

 

OS12058I am a list maker – when my list is too long, I find that I hear God’s voice less – I simply have not prepared time to hear it. It is those days I look back and wished I had slowed down and recognized the need in someone’s eyes. My goal is to complete one main item. Other things are on the list to be sure, but above all I want my list to plan for spontaneity should God call for it. I don’t want to be guilty of saying, sorry, God, I have no availability until next Tuesday between one and four.

 

WatchGodPraying – over the years I’ve heard a lot of suggestions for how to pray – and I’ve also heard some people over-sharing ‘prayer needs’ which sound more like gossip. Sometimes a good thing happens in that I don’t know how to pray. That’s good because I simply present the person to the Lord, who knows their true needs better than I ever will. Trusting God to work without my ‘suggestions’ is preparing my faith to be rocked by God’s involvement in our lives. I love Moses’ prayer – Ex. 34:9 … O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate; and do Thou pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Thine own possession.”

 

IMG_3644Before I sat down to blog today, I prepared in the Word, asking God what, of all the bajillion things running through my mind do you want me to share. (no writer’s block here – more like writer’s clog!) Presenting my blank page to God prepares me to hear Him. Receiving the focus calmed me and prepares my heart for the day and for this blog because when I know the destination, I can begin the journey.

 

Are you prepared?

 

Prov. 30:25         The ants are not a strong folk,

But they prepare their food in the summer

 

 

Is. 57:14     And it shall be said,

“Build up, build up, prepare the way,

Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cup of Redemption

Famine!

Benjamin shuddered each time he heard the word. Although he 1_basketwas only ten, he heard the elders talking. Partly, he figured, because his mother had died when he was born, and partly because of the secret about his brother Joseph, his father often let Benjamin hover nearby.

 

Jacob had grown weaker season by season, and most of the time he now lay on his pallet fingering the tattered remains of Joseph’s many-colored coat until he fell asleep. Many times Benjamin had sat, quietly hidden in the shadows of the tent as

Frankincense for Cancer

Frankincense for Cancer

his father remembered with his friends that sad day when the brothers brought home the blood-stained piece of Joseph’s coat.

 

Benjamin grimaced. Someone besides Jehovah knew what ten brothers thought was their secret. But none of the brothers knew Benjamin had heard. Heard and seen them around the campfire on that crisp first autumn day when their father had sent him with the cheese and bread they’d left too hurriedly without.

 

He came upon them in the dusk. Though the food would be welcomed, Benjamin knew he was not, and so he listened for a bit, jealous of their freedom. He was sure they had been drinking, and yet their laughter and their stories had the ring of truth to them.

 

Sickened, he’d heard enough. Carefully, he backed off a distance, then purposely snapped twigs as he walked toward them – warning of his coming. What a terrible secret was now in his heart.

 

Their sneers and rude remarks about his noisy tracking reddened his face as did the glow of the early evening fire. For IMG_2688once Benjamin was grateful for his tendency to redden for it would hide the nervousness over his unexpected knowledge. He counted on the brothers’ rude behavior to run him off so they could complete their devious plans, and so they did.

 

Minutes later, Benjamin was racing toward home, reviewing what he’d heard and wondering what he should or could do with the information he’d heard. He was certain if they knew how much he’d heard, they would kill him too.

 

Fear chased Benjamin all the way home. And fear had stalked him to this moment years later. Famine! Was God punishing his family for what his brothers had done – or for what Benjamin had not done? For he had never told his father that he knew-somewhere-Joseph was probably alive thanks to Reuben.

 

With this background in mind, how do you suppose Benjamin felt when they were stopped by soldiers on their way home from getting grain in Egypt? How about when his brothers made the pledge that if they actually found the supposed cup, that person could be their slave? What did Benjamin feel as they searched through their grain bags one by one for a silver cup? Can you imagine his astonishment when the cup was silvercup-Chalicefound in Benjamin’s bag? Was Benjamin’s unresolved issue regarding the loss of his brother Joseph always at he forefront of his mind? Did he blame all of life’s events on his own behavior?

 

If you don’t know the resolution to Benjamin’s story, you will want to finish reading Genesis 42. Most important is the moral of the story and Joseph’s use of the silver cup to enable him to reveal what the brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. Silver in that time was used to purchase – to redeem – and this story (and our story) is, ultimately, about redemption too. A cup is also used elsewhere in scripture as a metaphor representing one’s lot or fate in life – the divine appointments whether good or difficult that God causes or allows to come to us. The most well known example is Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane that if the only way the purpose of his “cup” could be completed were if he receive it (drink it), then he bowed to the Father’s will.

 

Perhaps you’ve seen where these thoughts have led me – to my cup – to lose our daughter early in life, in an unexpected a3kidsnd shocking way, and naturally, the recoiling to its pain. To feel the cost is too great. Yet, I also wonder if, like Joseph, and like Benjamin, the only way God’s purpose can be fulfilled in this cup is that I stop making this about me, and seek God’s help to redeem my circumstances to comfort others.

 

I pray this will be so and that God will help us each to let him redeem our cup.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. ©NET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After losing a child – Grief’s Invisible Scar

I am not alone. Many others whose stories I’ve now heard, also miltary3feel the continued wound. I was about to explain it as being disabled – broken in a way that cannot be bandaged or expected to heal – because I do indeed feel the loss constantly. But the definition – having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities – does not really fit. I sought about for the word to describe this lingering but invisible proof of the wound, and scar (a lasting aftereffect of trauma) really fits.

 

Oftentimes we can see a person has been wounded because of their visible scars. But all scars (physical, emotional, spiritual) are not visible. One of my employers who knew my childhood story of abuse asked me how I could be so normal. (I know, I Footprnts insandknow, my family were surprised too that anyone could think I am normal).

 

But seriously, what he was saying was that evidence of the wound was not visible.   Later in life I had surgery for a ventral hernia. After the surgery I could not sleep on my right side from the pain. I was told that time would heal – give it a few weeks. After weeks I complained again and was told some patients take longer to heal, wait a few months. After months I was told that unfortunately if it wasn’t gone by now, it likely never would dissipate. The end of the story was discovering a sticky part of the repair mesh was applied facing internal organs, and scar tissue had entangled all surrounding tissue.

Physical therapy has reduced some of the tension and pain, and

Fullness of Life Educational Brochure

Fullness of Life Educational Brochure

though the scarring is not visible, the pulling, and pain will always be with me, and I’ve had to learn to live with it.

 

Those may seem to be odd comparisons, but part of my heart has been torn. I’ve talked to other parents whose experiences were 12 – 14 and over 20 years ago and they too all still feel their scar. They tell me the pulling, the pain, the evidence of the wound, do not lessen in time, but we do learn to live with it.

 

People keep asking how I am doing. I would love to remove that question from my world, and I finally figured out why. I don’t want to fake it and say fine, and I don’t want to think about an u-turnhonest answer and sob all over the questioner. I searched to see if other grieving people had trouble with that question. It’s amazing what you find when you search for grief-responding-to-how-are-you. One website (noted below) though not spiritually based, reminded me of two spiritual lessons:

 

1) Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others

 

Should be obvious, I know, but these past months I have thought more of our extended family members and myself than of the ‘others’ who ask me that question. I need to remind myself constantly that they would not ask if they did not care – OS02097they could choose to simply avoid me. I need to remember that some of them have lost a loved one too. While it is easier to just say thank you to those who offer comfort by saying things that don’t require a response, like “I am here for you. I am praying for you, or remember to take care of yourself… I need to respect the hearts of others who ask, and to say things like, “Some hours are better.” (because, honestly, I haven’t gotten to ‘days’ yet.)

 

2) 2Cor. 13:11 …, be comforted, … (a command, meaning encouraged in the original language). At first I thought that is not what people who mourn want – to be encouraged. To be commanded. It seems inappropriate, even. But the definition is supported, uplifted, and nurtured. And the command is to make the choice to accept even sometimes painful “spiritual therapy.”

 

So, despite the tugging on my heart-scars whether I try to move away from the wound or remember it, or maybe because of it, I am learning with my many sisters-in-grief to look outward and to say thank you for caring.

 

Our grandson, Ben, at our daughter Laurie’s memorial said “NoIMG_2801 matter how long I would have had her with me, it would not have been long enough.” And so, I am encouraged too, to look upward and say thank you for the testimony of love that the one lost is so deeply missed.

 

And thank you, dear ones for your comfort – your nurturing – your support.

 

 

 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2013/10/in-grief-responding-to-how-are-you.html

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Master

“It’s borderline malnutrition,” the doctor whispered to my husband. “It’s an addiction. Addictive behaviors to sugar and Doctorbrain-damaging excitotoxins—like binging, withdrawal, and craving—are all related to the same neurochemicals involved in heroin addiction.”

 

My subsequent confession of subterfuge, acting busy during meals so I didn’t have to eat anything else, ordering only whipped cream and hot fudge when out to eat with friends, and midnight sugar gluttony, was no laughing matter. My body was under the craving and control of chemicals. Fully and finally we understood that a god or false master (Baal) can have many forms.

 

Saint Augustine and the philosopher Pascal famously described mankind’s drive for satisfaction as a spiritual quest to fill a vacuum in our souls. The vacuum, they explained, was created by and for God and could only be filled with God. Unfortunately man has for centuries kept choosing to fill that void with anything and everything except God and His Word. Millions continue believing they control their craving, be it food, drink, physical experience, drug or anything else we come to believe we “must” have.

 

The Bible likens such behavior to enslavement. To become prison-bars-590x354enslaved to anything we must first submit to it. To be released of any ungodly control (anything that takes first place in our body, soul or spirit) we must also submit – to God.

 

God never leaves us to fight these battles on our own. He promises that when we submit to Him, He will give us the power and strength to resist the Devil (James 4:7), and only with that power, will the enemy finally give up control of our body and soul, and flee. That is the power that led me to sing, I don’t want to be bound to anything but you Jesus, I don’t want any chains on me, but the bonds of Your love.*

 

Each day I continue to submit any chains (habits, hurts, OS11109emotions, weaknesses, thoughts, desires) that bind me and keep me from fully experiencing the bonds of freedom in the love of Jesus Christ.

 

Let God give you that same freedom; bind your heart’s desires and longings to Him alone. He alone can satisfy.

1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

* From Joel Welkin’s song I Don’t Want To Be Bound – used by permission

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Endings!

Ok. It’s the New Year. The time of new beginnings, right? New Fireworks-starlighthealth habits, new goals, new plans and hopes. But also the reality of a changed family. The need to survive and to live out that ‘live-as-though-it-were-your-last-day proverb for the rest of your family and special relationships.

 

In the past I thought of this proverb only in relation to myself. What would I do different if it were my last day? Dance as if no one was looking? Eat less, read more? Work harder and relax harder? Spend more time with people

 

Now, I think what if I were to leave the house, and not come IMG_2624back – was the last thing I said or did going to bring pleasant memories? Or what if I were to go out the door and come back to one less family member? Is there going to be anything I wish I’d said or done to them, or perhaps more importantly, anything I’ll wish I had not said or done?

 

I know many might say wait a minute, we are still human. We are going to hurt and be hurt. That no one can live that way every day. But really, can’t we develop habits to CHOOSE to not let the wrong emotions rule? We don’t have to have a tragedy to choose to make this decision.

 

I’ve always been a last thing first kind of person. Before I have breakfast, I like to know what we will be having for dinner. As a matter of fact, I will often make that decision for tomorrow before I go to bed. (I just did – I took a chicken out of the freezer to thaw) So what other last things are there? I always feel better when I am cleaning and have the worst job out of the way. I write better (more relaxed anyway) when 14013I first outline the goal – and know what I want to accomplish at the end. If I am out delivering things, I will do the most outlying destination first (that way if I don’t finish, the remaining ones are closer to home). You got the picture. So – what is the last thing before I leave the house? I know my husband will be thinking about me and either the words I said or the way I left the house. Why not have it be something good?

 

It’s a little thing to do. But it is those little things, done consistently that often make the greatest impact.

 

I’ve just got a feeling that if we put into practice, day after day, an exit line that could be serious or short and sweet, 2084cute or code it will become automatic. (We do have a code – our granddaughter Aimee was the first to figure it out)

 

Happy New Year – Here’s to new ENDINGS!

Hosea 10:12     Sow righteousness,
reap love.

 

 

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments