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Category Archives: Emotions

Suicide, My Friend?

Suicide, my friend, you’re calling me again. So began a poem I wrote at 15. The escape of abuse and what sounded like an ultimate revenge on my abusers, was often on NotaDoermy mind. I think subconsciously I knew those thoughts came from the enemy, because I was always trying to escape them. The only safe place after school was the roof of the house, and I’d often slip through my second story window to sit out there and wonder if there was any other way.

 

It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be accepted, loved, treated with the tender care I saw other teens receive when I visited their homes. Daddy treated me with respect when we worked in the woods together, and when he was home – which was as little as possible. I couldn’t blame him. He was away again on a work trip when I finally tried it. I took lots of pills and went up to the room I shared with my sister. The middle of that memory is missing. I only recall getting sleepy, then screamed at, slapped, and pushed into a chair with my head held back. Warm butter poured down my throat and gagged me. It was a very effective purgative, and an immediate neutralizer of thoughts to try that again – at least until the dereliction of some ‘friends’ made me wish the attempt had been successful. I hated to go home to the mocking derision that I couldn’t even do that right. I felt like the darkness would last forever. Those words were a small thing, though, compared to the looks, whispers, and cold shoulder treatment of some of my classmates – that was the hardest part…Not being understood by most of my peers.

 

I couldn’t tell anyone why I did crazy things like spend half the night on the roof, because I’d get beaten again. Especially if Daddy was gone. Daddy only learned of the suicide attempt ten years later when he drove me to visit one of my sisters. We hugged her and she and I immediately began sharing our thankfulness to be away from home, and remembering various abuses and escapes, totally forgetting Daddy’s presence. He’d slipped into a chair in the corner, and not until hours later, when his chair scraped as he stood, did we remember that Daddy had drove me there. Turning in shocked acknowledgement, his tears told us what words had not. He hadn’t known.

 

I’d never seen a man cry, and this was not just any man, this was our hero. He dad001wept and begged our forgiveness, and once again called us girls his “Honey Bunnies” like he had before sickness and violence had overtaken our lives.

 

The tables had turned and we were now comforting him. What had we done! We’d only focused on the bad of our lives. Quickly we sat Daddy down and shared how our faith had grown through different people and circumstances, and amazingly, the same book – the allegory of Hinds Feet in High Places. I’d received a copy from a church friend, and my sister, from someone at the hospital. Like the main character, Much-Afraid, we were encouraged on the way by the Chief Shepherd, who came to our rescue, surprisingly accompanied by the companions Sorrow and Suffering.

 

The ironic theme of Much Afraid’s journey was being saved from the treatment of relatives named “Fearing.” Like her, we assured him, though Sorrow and Suffering tried to lead us down instead of up, the Shepherd made a covenant that He would never leave us, and we only had to trust His word.

 

Daddy knew we trusted his apologies that he had not meant we be harmed in any way and he joyfully listened to the story of Much Afraid. He nodded when we told how we feared that the Shepherd would make us go up to the high cliff alone, and smiled when we shared evidences that He never left us, and taught us to climb the heights.

 

Daddy had felt overwhelmed with grief as he heard us sharing through tears the struggles of our valleys, and the loss from carrying our loads of bitterness, but he was thrilled to learn how much the rest of our story matched the book, as we finished sharing the journey of Much-Afraid being transformed with a new name.

 

Years later Daddy had heart surgery, but in his pain and despair, remembered my story and called to tell me, that was what got him through. A few years later, I got to AShanksshare another story with Daddy that gave special meaning to the suicide attempt. Because of my experience, I was able to recognize the signs in a new co-worker. It was with much fear and trembling that I called and told a stranger Daddy’s story, and mine. That friend recognized his symptoms and agreed to join a family vacation and then see a doctor when they got home. When his daughter sent a note saying ‘we have our daddy back’ I felt like my nightmare life had purpose.

 

Suicide? You’re nobodies’ friend.   I am free of your taunting whispers. I’ve forgiven my abusers and I do not answer to you any more. You see, my name is no longer Much-Afraid. My sisters have a new name too, as do many others who joined us. The night is over. Your lies have been exposed. No night is forever.

 

Isaiah 62:2 – You’ll get a brand-new name
straight from the mouth of GOD.

 

I had another post ready but was prompted to go find this and post it. Feel free to share if someone you know could be encouraged by it.  Just leave your email if you wish personal conversation or have questions. The book illustrations are covers of a few of the books by Yolanda Shanks, suicide survivor. If you or someone you love has faced suicide, these books will encourage you. http://yolandashanks.com/about-the-author/

I also highly recommend the allegory that tells the story of how Much Afraid got a new name Hinds Feet In High Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 05/19/2014 in Devotional, Emotions, Mind

 

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Who’s Your Enemy?

   Continuing Queen Esther’s story, we know that among Xerxes’ Persian  kingdom were third-generation Jews whose grandparents had not chosen to leave when they could.  Esthercrop

Xerxes was belatedly mourning for his banished queen, Vashti, and his young male servants suggested men be sent out to gather every young attractive woman in the kingdom (wonder if they volunteered). “And let the maiden who pleases the king reign instead of Vashti. “And the matter pleased the king, and he did so.”

Once again a kingdom-affecting decision depends only on what pleases the king (drunk or not) at any given moment.

Don’t you wonder if those capturing young virgins knew that some of the women were Jewish and considered to be the enemy of the crown? Or had Mordecai and his ancestors so assimilated with the Persians that they seemed no different? However much they did or did not practice their faith within their boundaries, you wonder if the Jews (or the palace advisors) knew who their enemies were.

Reading Esther 2:5-9 we see that Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, raised her. Intrigued by repeated words, I note that Mordecai had taken Esther…and later, Esther was taken by Persian authorities to the king’s palace. I wondered, are these two words the same? Far from it!

in His HandsThe word taken in verse seven (about Mordecai) is translated as brought, and nourished. Think of accepting a baby in your arms, and caring for it. In contrast verse eight’s word taken – (the action of the palace authority) meaning to tie, bind, or imprison.

This was not a sweet tale of Prince Charming fitting the glass slipper – this was kidnapping and captivity. Think of being “chosen” as Hitler’s next bride.

Many of us have been in captive situations-likely not as oppressive and life-changing as Esther’s, but overwhelming.

Though Esther may not have immediately known who the real enemy was, she had a communication with God that revealed who He was, and what right was. And what a difference that knowledge made.

Just knowing God’s perspective on what is right will help you recognize your immediate enemy—often disguised as was Xerxes’ enemy. His enemy? Trusting, following, making decisions based on…in other words, living by—emotion.

Emotion is used by God to confirm or respond to completed action, but emotion can also deceive. ‘Follow your heart’ is never advocated in God’s Word.  Instead we need to be able to recognize our enemy, and confess when we realize how we have been taken. Humbling ourselves before God enables a Biblical response rather than an emotional reaction.

The more intimately we know of who God is, the more we can recognize those who are not on God’s side.

Point 3. Be able to recognize the enemy, so you will know when you have been taken.

Esther must have felt overwhelmed. She was captive of a hidden enemy.  Is there any person or thing that demands your attention and allegiance before God or as God (comes first in your life)? Do you feel overwhelmed?  Who or what is the enemy holding you captive?

With Esther we learn to identify the enemy by being in God’s presence (God’s mirror reveals Xerxes’ and humanity’s) downfall – making decisions and living by emotion and ego. Thankfully, it also reveals God’s character, his trustworthiness and his great desire to take us to safety.

By drawing near to truth, He promises the enemy will be exposed and routed.

Then, and only then are we able to “do what’s right” and make godly decisions that will properly impact our lives and those around us.

 
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Posted by on 02/26/2014 in Devotional, Emotions

 

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Silver Boxes and Plagiarism from Hell

Plagiarism (from Webster’s Dictionary): the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person. In other words printing or speaking another person’s words as though they are your own. Before we go any further, let me assure you that

 “I use Grammarly to check for plagiarism because I want to be sure someone hasn’t already published any of my wisdom!”

Actually, Florence Littauer would be the one checking Grammarly with this post Silverboxesbecause she wrote and recorded the message of Silver Boxes – the power of rightly using our words.

Florence likens a response of encouragement to presenting the person a silver box (a prized gift). Thank you Florence for giving permission to quote!

Words, she teaches (according to scripture) can be double-edged.  For example:

Prov. 16:24          Pleasant words are a honeycomb,

         Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

OR

Prov. 16:27          A worthless man digs up evil,

While his words are as a scorching fire.

I think we have all experienced both sides of that coin.

Shortly before my mother passed away I witnessed her saying kind words (for the first time to my knowledge) to one of her fully-grown children. I doubt she fully understood the freedom from lifelong bitterness and hurt she released by, finally, saying good words.

I sometimes wonder if all harsh words are a form of plagiarism, tricking us (usually in openwide“righteous indignation”) to quote from the “father of lies” and unintentionally hurt or demean someone God placed in our lives to bless. When we speak those words, we foolishly attach our own name to them.  Plagiarism from hell. Ouch.

I know I have regretted speaking word-wounds, and wish I could go back and at least apologize and ask forgiveness.  I say at least because I wish I could change or erase those instances from my memory and theirs, but like the story goes, spewing out harsh words are like squeezing toothpaste out of the tube – impossible to restore.

Perhaps because I’ve inflicted pain, and experienced it deeply as well, is why building up others became a life passion.  I often ask God to help me recognize broken and fallow hearts where I am called to sow grace and mercy, and no, I don’t believe using words of encouragement, (sharing God’s character), is plagiarism, because they are used by permission! Phil. 2:1-4 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

I take this opportunity to encourage anyone who used harsh words against someone to whom you hold the power to uplift, and has not asked forgiveness to make it your goal to correct that this month.  I also encourage sharing words of life to those God has put in your circle, as much as you can. Speak, tweet, talk, write, or text, words of encouragement this month at least once a day.

Far more importantly than commerce and media’s goal to market love in the form of OS11070chocolate, diamonds, flowers, or anything else that money can buy, give the gift this month that truly can last forever. Give Silver Boxes –the gift of encouragement.

If you haven’t read the book or heard Florence Littauer share Silver Boxes, The Gift of Encouragement - you will want to. She is one of the most dynamic and humorous speakers I’ve heard in my lifetime. It would also make a wonderful gift.   You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Boxes-Florence-Littauer/dp/0785297324

And, yes, I DO use Grammerly!  Check it out here and make sure no one has been sharing your wisdom! www.grammarly.com/

 
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Posted by on 02/02/2014 in Emotions

 

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Walking through the Valley?

It all started with a Mayan proverb: When you face the sun, the shadows fall behind you.

 

It’s on a mug I bought on Pottery Highway in North Carolina.  The artist and I discussed how that truth is even more meaningful in light of the 23rd Psalm and turning to the ONE who said, “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12

Dave Fly1

It got me thinking about the difference in my attitude when I change my position.

 

If the shadows are looming before me, I am facing them – not the SON – the source of light.

When I change my position – turn my face – toward the LIGHT, the shadows fall behind me.

 

My commentary says in Palestine where the rain falls only at a certain time of year, the landscape is cut by many narrow valleys and stream-beds. Often water may be found below ground in such wadis during the dry months, unseen and untapped refreshment. There are perennial rivers that flow through wider valleys and plains and these rivers cut narrow gorges through the rock. These are the darkest valleys – between two high promontories.

 

Spiritual valleys, I’ve found also come between two mountaintops, are dark and frightening, and there is often little or no visible hope or sign of refreshment.  The Hebrew origination of the shadow of death is more than a shadow – even more than a death-like shadow.  It is deep darkness – a total eclipse or absence of light.

 

So I pictured myself walking through this dark valley – the sun blotted out, ironically, by my own self, turned from the light, my position totally blocking out any glimmers as I walk through the valley – away from the sun.  The picture in the 23rd Psalm is not of someone walking through a shadowy alley – or valley – cringing at the shadows.  It is beyond that darkness, and yet the next line is amazing.

 

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 

God is there in the darkness.  This sheep can feel the Shepherd’s presence.  I am being crowded into the right position to get through the valley and into a place of safety.  Crowded and guided with a rod that has previously been used to kill enemies – but I am not afraid of it. Micah 7:14 says He shepherds us with his rod or scepter, which represents royal authority.  Just as I found comfort watching my Shepherd slay the enemy that would devour me, I now find comfort in this reminder of his authority, not fear.  He also prods me with his staff – the stick he uses for support as he walks (with me, through the valley). I do not fear the staff either, it only makes me sense His support, and I lean against it in the darkness, comforted again at the signs of his nearness.

 

MountainTopI’ve changed my position again – inclining myself into his support and authority, as he guides me through the deep darkness of the valley, and up onto the mountain peaks where, with hindsfeet, I can climb the next mountain top to view His glory in the valley below. The glory I could not see in the darkness.

 

Don’t panic if you are in that dark place. You are not alone. Your Shepherd is with you.  Rest and incline yourself to him. Feel His rod and His staff guiding you, back into the light.

 

As Cory Ten Boom said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

 
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Posted by on 09/23/2013 in Devotional, Emotions, Mind

 

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Agape Love for Myself

Natural love for myself, constantly uses the “I” word – especially in disagreements.  Natural love for myself says IMG_3705it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.  Natural love made Eve make “I want” her priority to the detriment of all present and future relationships.

 

We now live in a fallen world, where the natural kind of love benefits no one. Agape love is the only kind of love that will produce true happiness because it is not centered on either self but on God.

 

OK I know how to naturally love myself (run, cover my face, crouch in protective stance if I anticipate attack, or worldly-wise speaking to buy and treat myself to anything that makes me feel or look good).  But how do I Biblically love myself and love my neighbor the same way?

 

 

The how goes back to the beginning of the first commandment – First – run to God.  When God accepts us He provides all we need for life and godliness.

 

There’s only one thing left to do:

 

3. Be a Risk-Taker – Let go and Let God!

 

1 John 4:16-19, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”

 

When I rely on anything but God’s love, I have been unable to truly love myself.  I do not, at those times, care for myself physically, mentally or spiritually.  I find none of the worldly advice works unless I’ve gone to God first. 1 Tim. 4:8  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  This verse used to bother me, especially when quoted by a Christian friend I looked up to in spiritual matters, who used it as an excuse to not take care of her physical self.

 

But when I do take the risk of pain, embarrassment, failure. . . when I admit I cannot in any way be a miracle – or anything else for that matter, to anyone else on my own…that is when the miracles start to happen!

 

I’ve had many amazing things happen when God told me to bless someone else, and now God is working on me, telling me to be a risk taker and to love myself as He loved me.

 

1 John 3:16 spells it out:  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Agape love toward self is NOT in conflict with I Corinthians 13, teaching that love is not selfish or narcissistic:

What does Agape love do?

  • Does not envy/self-protect (satisfied with God’s plan for me, take a risk for God’s glory, even if I might come out looking foolish)
  • Does not self-promote (remember to acknowledge what God has done, not look at what I did)
  • Does not self-inflate (realize I am not the force behind God’s moments, merely the vessel)
  • Does not self-glorify (do all to glorify God, not myself)
  • is not self seeking (God’s way, not my way)

Naturally we tend to protect and care for ourselves, but spiritually, just as parents teach their children through sacrificial example and relationship, our ability to love our neighbors as or above ourselves (and to truly love ourselves as a temple of the living God) is an amazing spiritual miracle.

Do you feel free to apply God’s Agape love toward yourself today?  I hope so – Jesus died for it, and you can rest on that.

 
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Posted by on 08/05/2013 in Devotional, Emotions, Mind, Spirit

 

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I am Chosen!

10018Pick me, Pick me! Whether I yelled out those words or whispered them silently, I knew I would not be picked for the baseball team, because I was not worthy.  I did not have the skills they sought. Pick me! Pick me! Though more sophisticated,  the same cry echoed inside years later as students voted for cheerleaders or prom court.  Even though I knew I had neither the talent or beauty, hope always coursed up – longing for acceptance.  Ironically when I – and others – later realized what gifts God had given me, I was startled to learn that acceptance often was temporary and related directly to what I could do for others with those gifts. The acceptance to share my talents gave me pleasure, but there was still the longing for someone to care about ME – whether I had gifts, talents, or none.

Discovery came in three stages. 

First God allowed me to meet Ken, an honest seeker who had the same longings as I.  We talked of marriage and agreed that we needed to find God – to have a foundation for our relationship and any children God would give us.  Respecting the authority of the Bible we determined to read it cover to cover as we searched for direction, and then to follow God’s directions.

kendee001Ken explained our plan to a fellow-worker at American Motors. He pointed us to the gospel of John, suggesting we underline all the words believe, since we wanted God to show us what to believe.  Ken did it right away. It was a revelation for him and he immediately made those words his own, believing that Jesus was indeed the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6).

I held out a few weeks longer, however, nursing my insecurities and knowing I was not worthy. On that July 4th, while watching the fireworks from the upstairs back porch, I thought of my little baby downstairs and pondered on the mothers who had given their sons that I might enjoy the freedoms of this country. To think they would willingly lay down their lives for people they did not know was a love I could not fathom, and God spoke to my heart at that time, reminding me that He also gave His Son for my eternal freedom and longed for me to accept his gift. I had no doubt Jesus knew me inside out – and bore the cross for me knowing I was not worthy!  What an intimate revelation of love!

The third stage came as I eagerly devoured God’s love letters to me.  The world had taught me that I was accepted and loved if I was skilled or pretty or had something to offer them.  Psalm 139 taught me that I was loved before I was created!    The Message reveals it well:

Psa. 139:13-16

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

I am chosen!

rainbow-cross1.jpg   Are you aware that you are chosen?  

 
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Posted by on 05/18/2013 in Devotional, Emotions

 

Wouldn’t you think I’d know better?

11 Million.

I recently read one of Andy Andrews’ books where he asks  “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”  He wonders and explains in the short book how Hitler got millions of people to go to their death with so little resistance. The answer – he pursued them, deceived them until they believed him, (interview link below) reminded me of this verse:

1Pet. 5:8 says: Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, IMG_2645seeking someone to devour.

 

Interestingly the Hebrew word for seeking, beqar means to conduct a search, to be in pursuit, and is also connected with the timing of a Lion’s hunt: before and after light – early morning and at night

 

Our two most vulnerable times.

Where does the lion find us in the early morning?  In a strong place, greeting the Lord with excitement for another day; leaning into him, and listening for directions for the new day or making our own plans?  Are we in fellowship… or too tired and dazed to realize we are in danger, wandering in solitary; vulnerable to be picked off?

 

Like Satan, lions are often credited with more power than they have. Lions are not very fast animals, and because most of their prey could run faster than them, lions utilize different hunting methods:

One – the lion finds something to hide in close to what the prey needs or wants – like brush or a big bush near water. Most of the day the lion actually sleeps waiting for “us” to come along, so we walk right into the trap not expecting a thing.  It ‘looks’ safe: what could go wrong?

The second type is where the lion stalks from hiding place to hiding place and jumps out at the surprised prey with a burst of speed. If the lion is seen as it sneaks from spot to spot it sits up and stare around innocently, like it just happened to be there and is intending no harm.  It would be hilarious if it didn’t sadly represent times when I’ve stupidly walked right on into Satan’s trap while the trap was fully visible)

Stupid, lazy or over-confident?

The lion’s prey seems to have remarkably short memories, walking into the same trap repeatedly, even within a very short time. (Ouch, this is getting personal)

While the prey is being so lackadaisical the lion, amazingly good at hiding, just takes it’s time waiting for dinner with incredible patience.  It worked before.  The prey walked into the trap and was devoured. The rest of their bunch run off, then stupidly within hours come right back to the same spot, apparently thinking it couldn’t happen twice!

Wouldn’t you think if it saw what happened to its brother, it would back off, turn away or run?  Nope.

Wouldn’t you think that when one of the deer wandered off from the group (like a lone-ranger away from the protective fellowship of the church), and got snatched up by the lion, the other deer would learn?  Nope.  They repeatedly stray from the family cluster that could save them.

Wouldn’t you expect that the prey would know they can run 4 times as fast as the lion and therefore make sure to be alert and run soon as they spot a lion? Nope. They have more fear of what cannot be seen, then what can. When a lion does appear they all watch it, thinking they are safe because they can see it – way over there.

They freeze for a minute, and watch the lion either lay down or walk off and they edge closer because they do not “see” or understand the danger right in front of them.

Lastly,

Wouldn’t you think that I would be different than the prey, knowing I also am being sought after by a roaring lion, understanding now how he hunts, how he acts so innocent while waiting for me to let down my guard?

Wouldn’t you think I would never return to the place (or thing) where I or a brother or sister almost got devoured?

Wouldn’t you think I would stay close to the master, to watch and learn, and not wander off with a cocky do it my way attitude?

Wouldn’t you think I’d be sure to stay in hiding, close to the master, during those vulnerable hours when I know the lion likes to whisper to tired minds, to distract and depress my spirit from drawing near to the master to learn about the secrets of escape?

First thing in the morning

Last thing at night

 

Psa. 46:1           God is a safe place to hide,

ready to help when we need him.

 

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

 

*Michael Hyatt interviews Andy Andrews about 11 Million

 
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Posted by on 01/29/2013 in Devotional, Emotions, Spirit

 
 
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