Confusion Birthed From Abandonment

 Image result for tornado Sometimes I am in chaos. I call it confusion. It’s like free floating in a tornado during a lightning storm. It  must be akin to what I imagine primal chaos to be.

Impartial standards are grounding. So I return to the Bible, my impartial standard, and to the very beginning of it.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2 King James Version (KJV)

without form is connected to the concept of confusion. It is the “to be laid waste” part  of the definition that grabs my attention. (if you haven’t taken the opportunity to click on the link and read the definition, take some time now to do that. ) It was the action point “to be” not as describing an ongoing condition but as though some great momentous battle had occurred with ongoing results that riveted my gaze. There was a spot in space that was acted upon. The result of that action was desolation, waste.

Abandonment is an action that lays waste…facilitates a state of chaos… in the lives of children. Their resultant waste condition is a perpetual turmoil and tumult of thought processing, emotional disorientation, and vulnerability of heart in relationships whether those relationships are of supreme importance or a micro bit of insignificance.

I have written before about abandonment and the struggles I experience because of suffering abandonment in early childhood. Some, but not all, of these are: The Ghost in My Life, Lord of the Stir Point, #addiction and #family, Compassionately Challenged, Routine Brings a Harvest of Joy, Forgive Him?

At the risk of sounding obvious, childhood is a precious time of personality and coping development. These formative years are so important. They lay the foundation for our approach to people in later years. Recently, I discovered one insidious consequence of abandonment experienced in childhood: the repeated dealing with a personal chaos, a confusion of mind for no apparent reason and at seemingly random segments of time.

Part of the frustration with these episodes is the lack of gaining control over  them. Another is knowledge that we cannot survive the storm without help. Confusion draws us ever closer to the seductive power of lies from within and false comfort from without.  We look desperately around for someone to help but help is nowhere to be seen It is not caught up in the storm with us whirling about. For some of us the moment (s) of confusion come unexpectedly. Instead of a head on collision, we get T-boned from the side and end up like so much scrap metal wrapped around an uprooted tree.

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As I was reading through the Bible’s book of Esther, I saw that confusion hit the entire city in one afternoon totally by surprise. Why? The king was talked in to turning his back on (abandoning) a whole people … moms, dads, boys and girls, aged and infants… sold not merely as slaves, but sold to die. The story is here in Esther 3:14-15.

The result of  abandonment is a state of confusion. Think about that. In the book of Esther it was both a state of being and the communal state of an entire capitol city.

Confusion is worth thinking about. It has facets of meaning. Here is the Dictionary.com definition. I have highlighted the situations that those abandoned find familiar or deal with daily because of childhood imprinting.

Confusion

1. the act of confusing.

2. the state of being confused. (verb (used with object), confused, confusing.

3. to perplex or bewilder: 2. to make unclear or indistinct: 4.to fail to distinguish between; associate by mistake; confound

5. to disconcert or abash:

6. to combine without order;  jumble;  disorder:

7. Archaic. to bring to ruin or naught.

8. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos:

9. lack of clearness or distinctness:

10. perplexity; bewilderment:

11. embarrassment or abashment:

12. Psychiatry.  a  disturbed mental state; disorientation.

13. Archaic. defeat, overthrow, or ruin.

We find this confusion in Esther 3:13-15.  "...but the city of Shushan was perplexed [at the strange and alarming decree].

One minute the captives in Susa were going about their daily business, the next they were sold to utter annihilation. The result of this abandonment by one’s master is perplexity…confusion.

[H943 bûk BDB – to perplex, confuse, be confused Strong’s – To involve, to be entangled]

It is my experience that abandonment by a parent or a boss, or any person in authority whether the relationship is close or not– whether the abandonment is physical or emotional– gives birth to confusion of EF-5 storm damage.

 

Abandoned children are thrown into chaos. We are entangled in the inability to reason.  Our thoughts are jumbled. Our abilities to associate are often mistaken. We are embarrassed by communications that don’t come out as we intend.  Little decisions and big ones become gargantuan efforts to focus. We get discouraged when others seem to be doing so well and our own inner view sees only devastation.

Abandonment during childhood embeds this chaos into our daily lives. This inescapable personal flaw is just as epic in scope and just as difficult to process for us as it was for the Jews of Susa during Esther’s time. Just like them we must humble ourselves and beg the King of Kings — our only source of help —  for mercy and a powerful way forward that brings life.

Often the trust in God required to turn the tables on confusion also requires Esther’s attitude of “ If I perish, I perish” It is the abandonment of ones self and circumstances to the pleasure of the King’s choices. The great treasure of belonging to King Jesus is not only his matchless power but that our King is entirely trustworthy. He is loving and kind to all that He has made.

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Dog rescues a child from the garbage. click here for the story

Psalm 71

In You, O Lord, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion!

Deliver me in Your righteousness and cause me to escape; bow down Your ear to me and save me!

Be to me a rock of refuge in which to dwell, and a sheltering stronghold to which I may continually resort, which You have appointed to save me, for You are my Rock and my Fortress.

As I sought to understand confusion better I found these nuggets of truth:

Confusion is a lethal weapon in the LORD’s arsenal. Therse are a few of the outcomes from God’s use of confusion:

Why would he use such devastating tools? Take some time to read the stories linked to the words here and share what you learn in the comments below. 

When these weapons spring from seeds within the boundaries of our own psyche not of our own planting, the fatalities… the waste… increase exponentially.

We cannot catch confusion. It catches and traps us in the whirlwind.  We can, however recognize recurrent items zipping past us and do something about it.  If the LORD has taught you how to fight against recurrent confusion, please share your insights in the comments below.

The most effective course of action for me has been to call out for the mercy, the peace, and the love of God through King Jesus.

The primal place of waste in Genesis holds clues for recognizing and praying about confusion. 

[H8414 – tohhu – BDB formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness- formlessness of prmieval earth, empty space – that which is empty or unreal – wasteland, wilderness, solitary places – a place of chaos – vanity Strongs to lie waste, a desolation, a desert, a worthless thing, in vain, confusion, empty place, without form nothing, nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness]

If you feel like you are in a desert then you need the help of King Jesus. If you struggle with feelings of worthlessness, you need King Jesus. If your mind seems like it is empty, you need King Jesus. If your life seems like an endless wandering, you need King Jesus. If vain things and vanity of self plagues your persona, you need King Jesus. If you find patterns of solitary behaviors touching down inside of you wreaking havoc, you need King Jesus. If you exist in and prefer existing in places – internal or external — that have issues against reality, you need King Jesus.

If this  storm you experience is not of your making and abandonment has birthed your confusion, call out to the LORD of Creation and He will calm it time and time again.  YAY!!! Perhaps God uses confusion so that His glory may be made known to everyone with greater brilliance.

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Rescue Is Not Enough

Ships in distress need rescue. They crave it desperately.

The cross of Christ is a rescue but rescue is not enough. Jesus knew this to be true and wasn’t shy about setting the rescued straight. Real rescue is followed by real changes in living.

Recently my husband was reading the Bible to me. This was the passage:

John 5:1-14 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition 

5 Later on there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways).

In these lay a great number of sick folk—some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)—[a]waiting for the bubbling up of the water.

For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted.

There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years.

When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]

The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.

Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!

Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked. But that happened on the Sabbath.

10 So the Jews kept saying to the man who had been healed, It is the Sabbath, and you have no right to pick up your bed [it is not lawful].

11 He answered them, The [b]Man Who healed me and gave me back my strength, He Himself said to me, Pick up your bed and walk!

12 They asked him, Who is the Man Who told you, Pick up your bed and walk?

13 Now the invalid who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had quietly gone away [had passed on unnoticed], since there was a crowd in the place.

14 Afterward, when Jesus found him in the temple, He said to him, See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.

*

There is a lot in that piece of history to change my life but this stuck with me – Rescue is not enough.

Those rescued must continue on… learning to live differently than they had before…learning to realign their surroundings and relationships.

For this man, the healing process involved being OK with carrying things on the Sabbath when everyone he accepted instruction from drilled into him —  from birth — the exact opposite. He had to recognize true authority and desire true freedom. In the blink of an eye he turned his back on his embedded personal and community culture in order to move and live and breathe in the life God restored to him.

Because those who are rescued must continue on, the rescue the cross work of Jesus gifted to us is not enough. It is only a part of the whole work of Christ.

Now before you start calling me a heretic and run screaming for the hills, pay attention to what I’m saying and to what I’m not saying. Did the cross work of Christ cancel the written code? YES. …Make a public spectacle of opposition? YES. Is it the fulfillment of prophecy – YES. The totality of the Gospel? NO. The end of our Journey? NO!

Christ was born, suffered, died was buried, rose again, appeared to many, ascended into glory and will come again to fight against his enemies then rejoice with His family and His bride who go into the world to come.

Christian Sunday schools, and book stores obsess about sticks and nails this time of year.  We get hung up on the cross. Image result for crucifixion jewelry

We love to reiterate how Jesus died and that He died for each one of us. Those truths are very dear BUT how I wish we concentrated more on the open…and empty… tomb! The fellowship of His appearing and His transport out of here…the clouds. Those would be the icons of a better focus. A cube with as many jewels on it as the New Jerusalem, my future home,  would be a grand reminder of the good news of Jesus Christ. These are just as much a part of Jesus work for our complete healing as the cross is. Why not make efforts to contemplate our total reconciliation to God? The birth, suffering and death events in Jesus life, precious though they are, do not form the entire gospel.

Paul tries to explain the value of the parts to the Corinthian church:

12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that [a]some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, amounting to nothing], and your faith is also vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]. 15 We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Did you catch that last bit? The miserable and pitiful part? Did you catch that more people are raised than Jesus?

 

If Christ has not been raised, then our faith is WORTHLESS. It is POWERLESS. It is a DELUSION.

One might say one’s entire life is “shipwrecked.”

 

This is a good place to insert that grimacing emoji. Surprise! The love that will die for a friend or even for a sinner – great though it is – is NOT enough. …Enough for an invitation. Enough for an opportunity. Not enough to bring about real change.  It is only a worthless delusion. Image result for grimacing emoji

Careful now. We are heading into troubled waters.

Just like the man at the pool, real change happens for us when living begins; When we, the dead, are brought forth to live the truth of the whole gospel.  James says we SHOW the gospel of Jesus Christ by what we do. John the Baptist says we SHOW the reality of our rescue by changing what we do.  Abraham SHOWS us that we should be looking forward to much more than this life has to offer as do Moses and the prophets. John the Apostle invites us through a door into the Great Beyond with our blessed redeemer, Jesus.

Come let us reason together. Jesus taught this to the healed man when he went back to him and told him how to live a better life. After Jesus was raised from the dead He went back to teach His disciples and many more about life after death.

Jesus rescued us at the cross but rescue is not enough. Resurrection living follows crucifixion rescue “…or something worse may happen to you”.

LORD of the Stir Point

My life is filled with various stir points. You know them too, I’m sure.

Stir points are those times when stuff from the past you thought you’d dealt with… successfully… has been somehow activated and brought to the front of your mind to deal with once again. Stir points have dates and times. They are usually emotional and always uncomfortable.

Here is an example of one stir point: My mother thinks I need to have high end jewelry. Almost every visit she will give me things she wants to get rid of … “after all, they’re better than anything you have,”  Well. that’s what I hear her saying anyway. She gives me gifts like grandma’s pearls that my sister doesn’t want because they were redone with beads that shed their fake luster over her clothes. Another time she felt so guilty about my not having anything of “value” that she decided to gift me with her relational trash — a ring redone using gem stones from a series of cast aside lovers and husbands.

I still have these but I never wear them because the ring makes me feel yucky just looking at it and I restrung the pearls ditching the flaky beads for stones I enjoy. Ya know I don’t like flakes on my clothes either. Somehow these gifts always remind me of the negative sides of the original presentation. (I think maybe I should flip them into something else entirely.)

Other stir points can be holidays. Valentines day might be one of yours. Mother’s day is one of mine. Every mother’s day I deal with the emotional abandonment that is foundational to my relationship with my own mother although that one is getting better since the LORD and I had a talk about ostriches. Every September I deal with harvest as a grief issue because it was at this time of year that a series of funerals popped into my life and feelings surrounding the dearly departed were… ahem… dealt with … years ago as a matter of God’s bringing home a harvest of souls around me.

This last trip to Texas was a a stir point.

We were there to visit with my husband’s mother and various people from her side of the family. It is our custom when traveling to attend the congregation of our host or to find an assembly of believers with whom to celebrate God’s marvelous wonders. We went to church with Mom, her husband, my husband’s sister, her kids and the cousins. The service and the people were wonderful but I had a carnal moment. I was looking at ladies hands; in particular my eyes would focus on their diamonds.

Image result for diamond rings

Looking down at my hand I caught myself talking to the LORD…whining actually. But I don’t have diamonds on my hand. I feel so poor. Worthless…

It’s embarrassing. I had ring issues and God was listening.

My first band broke on a door knob. It was not wearable so it was replaced by another simple band. Then I decided that I was a silver girl and that ring was replaced by a silver band. My discontent ate energy.

So one day Steve took me to a pawn shop and I found a glorious set with diamonds set in silver that I really loved. I was almost going to give him the green light to get it. Then I read the inscription on the inside of the band. It said something about loving her forever. It was in a PAWN shop! Nope. This reminder of love gone wrong will NEVER be worn on MY hand. We went home.

I was cured. My simple yellow gold band will be here on my wedding finger forever. It has never been caught on anything. I can do anything without worrying about it. I can wear it every day. Simple gold rings are amazingly practical.

Image result for gold wedding bands for women

Seriously, I’d already dealt with all this diamond business. I was at peace with my simple gold band. I was at peace until I went to evening church one Sunday long before our Texas trip.

The guest speaker and his wife were motorcycle missionaries. They were sitting right in front of me and the light caught her rather large diamond wedding set bringing it swiftly to my attention.

Oh LORD, I sighed, If this lady from the biker culture can have a diamond set, why can’t I?! She probably isn’t rich. Why do I have to be poor and look poor? Everyone knows that the women here are more friendly to women with diamonds.

Into my juvenile complaint God spoke. Christine, YOU are the diamond.

Oh. OK. That makes perfect sense. Diamonds are carbon under pressure brought to light, cut and set. I can see my life of trial, abandonment, and belonging with all the challenges those things put in my path today in terms of my life as a diamond. Please help me to be a beautiful brilliant diamond for your glory Amen.

I went on my merry way with my plain gold band trying to be a good diamond. I hadn’t had these trouble making thoughts for a very long time…years… decades even. Then one recent Sunday morning they descended on me with tear squeezing force in a well cushioned country Baptist pew.

What were these women wearing? I wonder what their lives must be like? Do they have lots of friends because they have lots of diamonds?

That feeling of worthlessness because of jewelry choices is so repugnant its almost evil. I dismissed these thoughts but God was listening.

We went back to my mother-in-law’s for Sunday supper. After everyone had their fill of chicken spaghetti, dishes were cleared and the rest of the family had dispersed, I sat down quietly to resume knitting a pair of socks for my daughter.

All of a sudden Mom pops out of her recliner, “Come here, I have something for you.”
She brought me into her bedroom and went into her closet. She returned telling me a story while holding out to me a ring with gorgeous diamonds.

“These are Jack’s diamonds.” (her husband number two and father of the man I love) “I didn’t know what I should do with them. Should I give them back? Should I keep them? Well, I ended up having them set into a different ring. Joe and I were talking about this.” (current husband whom she loves). Mom looked down at her present wedding set adoringly. “He wants his daughter to get these when I die. I thought these,” She spoke to the band she was holding out to me, “should be Christine’s. You have been such a good wife to Steve.” Thoughtfully she placed the diamond ring on the ring finger of my right hand.

We said together, “It fits!!”

My own mother’s ring gift was a jewelry cleansing that made me feel trashy. The feeling this one gave surprised me. I knew my mother-in-law was symbolically getting rid of her old relationship but in spite of that it made me feel so special.

I wore it the rest of the day and my man didn’t notice until he went to hold my hand later that evening and it kinda got in the way. “What’s this?!”

“You can tell him later, ” Mom instructed. That was fine with me. I was proud to wear it but I had already made an agreement with myself that I would try not to do or say anything that would purposely draw attention to it.

Having these diamonds stirred up a lot more thoughts in my mind. How do people take care of these things? Should I have it insured? What if it breaks? What if it falls off? How do I clean it? Well, It’s not a design I would pick…. Boy do they sparkle!

These too are embarrassing thoughts and God was still listening. God took care of the design because that was chosen by some random jeweler. Several stones above a swirl of gold. As I looked down on it pondering why anyone would ever choose such a configuration, a quiet voice in my head spoke into my heart.

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Do you see the swirl?
Yes.
Yes. I see it. Even the diamonds are set as if they are twirling in a dance around the center stone.

Doesn’t that swirl look like the paddle wine is stirred with?
It does!

Haven’t I stirred you up?
Yes. You stirred these ring issues up again, and again. Ahh, I get it! This ring is “THE STIR POINT!”

Yes. That is how you shall remember my work in you. I have stirred up your memories. I have changed you by this stirring into a beautiful treasure. You are my diamond.
But now when I wear it – and I shall because I never want to take it off — How will I outshine this earth bound treasure? These diamonds are so distracting.

The sun outshines diamonds.
It does. So I can? Hmmm.

This is how you outshine a diamond

14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [[a]against God] and [b]questioning and doubting [among yourselves],
15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world,
16 Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose. Philippians 2:14-16 (AMPC)
Thank you Father for the stir points of life and this diamond stir point. I love you too.
Oh, by the way. The pastor spoke on spiritual maturity that Sunday in Texas. I was impressed that maturity takes practice that is every bit as difficult and as transforming as physical exercise. I’m convinced that not complaining or arguing about things in life is the Crossfit of spiritual fitness. It is not casual. It is intentional, team oriented, progressive and intimidating at first.  Come to think of it, diamonds are that way too; force upon force, buried, transformed, chiseled, refined, one element reflecting all the rest.

Go Team Jesus! I’ll pray for you. You pray for me. Deal?

Abiding Belief

Image result for suitcase drawingWhat do you carry with you? What do you keep when life’s events are finished?

What spirit abides with you on your journey and away from it?

The power of abiding belief.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (AMPC)

In 2016 a few excursions from regular life helped to cement in my mind and heart exactly what I believe in and if what I believe stays in my life for the long term.

In the Spring, I got a new job. We did rental move-out cleaning. Training was on an as needed basis. Every day I went to work the work itself was different; the job required different skills, different cleaners, different approaches, different techniques. Even the person we did the cleaning for changed. Would we be cleaning for a homeowner, a Realtor, or one of several different property management companies each with their own set of standards?


Nothing was ever the same except these things. It remained that if people were not messy I would not be working that day. To get clean there must first be a mess. It also remained that I still had only one boss; I must work as if I were reporting directly to the King of the Universe Himself.

22 Servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not only when their eyes are on you as pleasers of men, but in simplicity of purpose [with all your heart] because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.

23 Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,

24 Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah). Colossians 3:22-24 (AMPC)

Who I serve was no longer a matter of whose names were on the paycheck. Who I worked for became  — out of necessity —  a matter of believing in what God’s role in my life at the time was and a deeply held belief that obedience to His word trumped all other input. These beliefs enabled me to do a good job with a good attitude.

What you carry with you through changing circumstances is very important. It is called an abiding belief. It is a belief that lives in you like protons and electrons live in the surging forces of the Sun.

Last December I experienced abiding belief in a judicial setting. My first time ever to serve God and my community as a juror brought about a lot of pleading with God for wisdom as well as conversations with Him about daily circumstances.

The charge against the defendant: Attempted rape of a child in the first degree. The instruction from the defense: innocent until proven guilty. Instruction from the judge: Pay attention to everyone’s demeanor. My heart’s cry: Please God, don’t let me screw this up!

Prosecuting attorney:

“If at the end of today, tomorrow, next week, two years from now you still think you made the right decision, That is abiding belief. We are asking you to make a decision without all the facts. We are asking you to decide if this man is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt or if he is innocent. The choice is yours. …”

All sorts of persuasive speeches lobbied for my attention. Yet, this one thing remained; God is the true Judge

16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice there was wickedness, and that in the place of righteousness wickedness was there also.

17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time [appointed] for every matter and purpose and for every work. Ecclesiastes 3:16-17 (AMPC)

The defendant was found guilty by a unanimous decision among the jurors. A series of events over time and demeanor of the defendant were the major topics during deliberations. Yes, Months have gone by and I still think we made the right choice. I have abiding belief in that choice.

It was a wonder to watch God’s justice unfold. As I prayed, God brought Scripture to mind. As I prayed more, God’s Word was enacted right in front of me …several times with several Scriptures. When I left that final evening I was so stoked that being in a hurry to prepare Dad’s house for his homecoming didn’t fluster me a bit. 

Abiding belief creates joy. Who knew?

From that moment on my abiding belief that God orchestrates circumstances for His glory and purposes has carried itself over to affect my daily life.

These days I live out of my suitcase between two homes as my husband and I try to care the best we can for his aging Dad who is in need of 24/7 supervision. Being ready at a moments notice is a shock to my system. Feeling at home in someone else’s house is a huge change. Keeping my established habits fit the range of problematic. The each thing I keep around me in my own home comes into life’s ring to be challenged for its right to exist. I am now responsible for four bathrooms, two kitchens, five bedrooms, an individual dementia care plan and the care giving associated with it, two grocery and home maintenance shopping lists…. Well, you get the idea. Things that aid organization and anti-inflammatory living are suitcase essentials right along side the hair brush and comfy clothes.

I am learning, among other things, that what I put in that suitcase matters a great deal to me. It matters because I need it in both places and would suffer consequences if it were missing. I have to plan for its maintenance and refill.

What can I live without? What is necessary to have within reach at all times for my emotional and physical well being? Is the attachment I feel towards an item appropriate or way out of whack?

Sometimes I feel selfish about what I carry with me but those feelings really set me back. What I believe about what I carry must be strong enough to last through anything.

Many things have been defeated in the life ring but this one thing remains; Those that care for others must care for themselves. It is right in here as one of the greatest commandments.

28 Then one of the scribes came up and listened to them disputing with one another, and, noticing that Jesus answered them fitly and admirably, he asked Him, Which commandment is first and most important of all [[a]in its nature]?

29 Jesus answered, The first and principal one of all commands is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord;

30 And you shall love the Lord your God [b]out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your [c]life) and out of and with all your mind (with [d]your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. [e]This is the first and principal commandment.

31 The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

32 And the scribe said to Him, Excellently and fitly and admirably answered, Teacher! You have said truly that He is One, and there is no other but Him;

33 And to love Him out of and with all the heart and with all the understanding [with the [f]faculty of quick apprehension and intelligence and keenness of discernment] and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34 And when Jesus saw that he answered intelligently (discreetly and [g]having his wits about him), He said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. And after that no one ventured or dared to ask Him any further question. Mark 12:28-34 (AMPC)

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You see, Friend, what you carry with you is very important. It may be in a suitcase as you endeavor to multitask. It may be in your heart guiding your attitude on difficult work days. It may pronounce verdicts after serious considerations. Of the things we all carry, abiding belief – that thought, decision or creed that stays with you no matter where you go or how long you stay – is very, very important.

#Visitors

Promotion has always been an issue with me. I suppose I could have more visitors reading this blog. That’s what spammers are saying.

I suppose Dad could have more visitors at the hospital. That’s what the doctor is saying. She pretty much encouraged patient “harassment” because their goal is to keep him awake all day. I know visitors would keep him awake during the in-home-care phase also.

So have you given thought to harassing fellow believers with your visits? The Bible cautions us to keep alert during these troubling times. Visitors just might be the solution.

I know that during this time of family upheaval, I need to be reminded of God’s works, His answers to prayer, and His incredible love for me as well as His incredible love for others.

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Most days praise is not on my lips or in my mind because I am physically and mentally exhausted.

Visitors might just be the solution.

 

In the Hospital

Relationships can be filled with adventure.

As I sit here in a hospital room waiting for my father-in-law to get back from his echo test and his dementia puts a Do-Not-Resusitate order within our sphere of knowledge, new angles to the adventure of long term relationships present themselves to my totally attentive gaze.

Sometimes relationships need a hospital.

This day when I was super emotional and forgetting all about food, God used two  special people I hadn’t seen for a long time to visit, think about food and to offer me some. Initially, I intended to refuse the offer but a still small whisper that only I could hear instructed, “Let them help” so my hesitation turned into, “That would be lovely.” Isn’t it great how my Heavenly Father works good into my life!

Thanks, ladies. That burrito was just what I needed. Even though I haven’t had beans for about two years now, they didn’t seem to phase me. (That right there is a huge God-gift!) The amount of food was perfect to take me through the  rest of the day.

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 Sometimes relationships just need the crisis of illness to improve. Sometimes our connections are the patients in need of their own kind of  medical attention.

As I observed Dad and the hospital staff, similarities to our more intangible personhood emerged. Relationships in a brick and mortar hospital have a lot to say about relationships out side of these antiseptic, neutral colored halls.

Relationships in the hospital:

  • Two parties involved experience helplessness in varying degrees
  • One is considerably less able than the other to meet needs and facilitate healing
  • Knowledge of the truth is key to good decision making
  • Resisting help causes more harm than good
  • Help comes from more than one person
  • Help comes from more than one “tool”
  • People in hospitals – doctors, nurses, patients and families- tend not to communicate well. One person who is there with the patient ALL the time can help them connect needed information (Isaiah 46:3-4)
  • Relationships in hospitals are necessary but stressful

 

There are some relationships we take to the hospital expecting a full recovery. Others we allow to go through their usefulness cycle and die naturally like the deciduous leaves on trees. Still others we decide not to work on at all. Each choice is valid and comes with its own set of guidelines.

Relationships can go to hospitals. These will seldom ever look the same; Talks with friends, professional counseling with clergy, hiring a psychologist, or simple personal soul searching. But the best of help for relationship comes from the One who made us and knows us best… The LORD himself.

Dad will have to go to a skilled nursing facility next. From there we hope to take him back home and set up a care-giver situation. Right now, I am the link to them all.

Because I am here, giving my time and attention, I am learning how to take care of him. I am learning how he – in his new frame of mind- communicates. God knows all this but I have to learn it…patiently…with love.

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“Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God … 1 John 4:7,8

This adventure is going to be a relationship boot camp of sorts. Loving kindness is always an adventure.

Be encouraged. God himself walks with us in our relationships … in relationship hospitals and their multiple adventures.

The Ghost in My Life

In this personal journey of healing from and living with the scars of abandonment, especially when I was going through my dad’s things after he died, much time was invested with the cliché “skeleton (s)” in the closet of our family. While this was a valuable time, it resulted in little or no attention given to the breezy but influential ghost in my own life.

Ghosts seem so mysterious but Christ understands them completely.  With His help, I am investing a bit of time sorting out truth from fiction, apparition from power, within the confines of my own experience. I would be honored if you would join me in the investigation.

As I often do, sharing the clarity of terms seems appropriate. What is a ghost?

Ghost — Strong’s number 4151 —  pneuma :- wind, breath; things that are commonly perceived as having no material substance; by extension, spirit, heart, mind, the immaterial part of the inner person that can respond to God; spirit being; evil spirit; ghost, God, the Holy spirit.

[from 4154 – pneō:-to blow (of wind) / from

1606 ekpneō:- to breath one’s last breath, die

1709 empneō:- to breathe,

2315 theopneustos:- God breathed, inspired by God, referring to a communication from deity,

4151 (see above),

4152 pneumatikōs:- spiritual, pertaining to the spirit,

4157 pnoē:- wind, breath,

5285 hypopneō:- to blow gently (of wind)

My ghost has a name. Control.

I can give up my ghost “control”. I can choose to employ the power of another Ghost “Control”. Notice the capitalization difference? This option happens as often as I have the ability and the inclination to choose. (That’s true of you too, by the way.)

Paul urges us to walk in the wind at all times … God’s Holy Breath, the capital “C” Control. Self control is a gift of the Holy Ghost. To be sure, walking in the same direction as the powerful breath of God sure beats walking in opposition to it. We have a choice. Wind walking can be scary and debilitating or it can be an energy charged blast.

So what happens if I ride on the wind? What does it look like to walk with,instead of against, the wind?

16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).  Galatians 5:16 (AMPC)

**

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.  Galatians 5:22-24 (AMPC)

**

25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit [a]we have our life in God, let us go forward [b]walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] Galatians 5:25 (AMPC) 

**

By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.

For this very reason, [a]adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in [b]exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),

And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),

And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [[c]full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [[d]spiritually] shortsighted,[e]seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins. 2 Peter 1:4-9  (AMPC)

That word “temperance” in verse six is another form of self-control. Looking at the word in the depth of its color… or should I say… in its spectrum of velocity…we can gain a better understanding of the strength available to us in our relationships.

Temperance 1466 enkrateia:- self control [from 1722 +2904 (en:-spatial – with among, logical – because of, Time – during, while) + (kratos:- power, strength, dominion/

from 

192 :Lack of self control, excess

193 Without self-control, incontinent,

1466, See above

1467, To have control of one’s self, contained.

1468 Disciplined, self-controlled,

2888 Powers of the world,

2900 Mighty, powerful,

2902 To arrest, seize into custody, to take, grab, hold on, obtain; to be kept from, held,

2903 most excellent, “Your Excellency”,

2908 & 2909 better, superior, greater,

3841 Almighty; this title for God translates the Hebrew 7372 “Lord of Hosts” (the heavenly armies), and Hebrew 8724, “Shaddai,” (probably) God the Mountain, powerful, immovable

So what I came away with from these definitions is that no matter where I am or who I’m with or what is being communicated, the LORD’s mighty power is the only power I need to help me. The strength and Majesty of the Mountain lives and moves me to conduct myself correctly. I especially like that 2902 word. Take hold. Grab onto Holy Ghost Control.

How might this work in relationship?

So my sister – older by 15 months – has difficulty treating me as an adult. Is it merely a quirk of birth order… this quest of hers to control something in my life… any least little thing? Of course not. It is a choice.

I could choose to wallow in anger and defiance employing several counter control measures. OR I could choose to call on the Name of the LORD, my Holy Ghost, to work and to witness through me to her.

Since I have opted to employ another Ghost, her control issues are no longer my problem and neither are my own control issues. I can blow them off in the name and power of the Holy Spirit. Living in the wind of the Holy Spirit, I can choose to communicate in such a way that both of us are clear about who controls me.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMPC)

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The Ghost in my life is precious and life-giving. Relationships are just better when you take time to pay attention to The Spirit.

#Addiction and #Family

The worst thing about #addiction is not a wasted life, nor the collateral damage inflicted upon those around addicts. To be sure, those things are absolutely horrible but they are not the worst. No, the worst thing about addiction is the inability to process a right relationship with God and pass on a chance to go from abandoned by family to belonging in His family.

Addiction of any kind messes with brain function. Since that is the case, no addiction is harmless.

I can remember a conversation with a friend of mine back when my children were very small. I was talking about the things that take time away from our children… necessary time they need from their parents. Her response cut through the noise in my brain to shock me into alternate thinking.

Christine”, she said, “It can be loosing yourself in a book too.”

Somehow I had become addicted to reading.

Yes. Books can be addictive, page turning, time consuming, relationship robbers.

Abandoning my children? …for a book? That was just not gonna happen. I wouldn’t let it.

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For a while I tried to manage my reading time to fill evening hours when the kids were in bed. What I found was that my body needed that sleep time too and a sleep deprived mommy is not a happy, loving mommy.

Coffee was no longer an apt solution either because it too was addictive and draining the net result of which was the softening of my baby’s tooth formation in utero, a leaching of calcium into my blood that was not rightly allocated and serious adrenal crash. Out of necessity, my book reading pretty much stopped even though my love of story still lived…somewhere…deep in my subconscious buried under mountains of laundry.

The pleasure of reading and the savor of caffeine were forced to take a back seat. This is how I fought for my children and expressed love to them though they had no idea what battles waged within my soul.

Here is an excerpt or two from an article in Harvard’s help guide that explains how the brain processes pleasure and what that means in terms of addictive issues. Take special notice of references to reward.

Pleasure principle

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex (see illustration). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center.

All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.

Even taking the same drug through different methods of administration can influence how likely it is to lead to addiction. Smoking a drug or injecting it intravenously, as opposed to swallowing it as a pill, for example, generally produces a faster, stronger dopamine signal and is more likely to lead to drug misuse.

Brain’s Reward Center

 

Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior.

Addictive drugs provide a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus lays down memories of this rapid sense of satisfaction, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to certain stimuli.

According to the current theory about addiction, dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward-related learning.

**

Having landed on this page because of a new interest in brain mapping and the effect of stroke on the elderly, my thoughts went in an entirely different direction. Conviction.  I am pretty well convinced that addiction plays a role in childhood abandonment and that I had carried this evil into the parenting of my own children. Silently at times as it operated in my day-to-day choices but also overtly as I tried to teach them the values of things and train them through various reward systems.

God spoke passages of Scripture into my mind that I had not previously associated with addiction. 

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.

And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. Genesis 6:5-6 (AMPC)

 

This talks about addiction because the intention of human thought was only evil continually. Addiction is defined as – a habitual craving despite adverse effects. Consider that addiction used to be associated with alcohol and hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Now, it is associated with much more:

  • sex
  • too much food
  • too little food
  • self concept
  • video gaming
  • bet oriented gaming
  • accumulation of resources
  • gaining power
  • _______________ insert your own habitual craving here

In the Genesis account, sex, violence, and self governance were the addictions of the day. Today, money, success and power seem to be the addictions of choice. To which God says,

13 No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or[a]anything in which you trust and on which you rely). Luke 16:13 (AMPC)

It appears that you cannot serve God and be devoted to an addictive substance, thing or behavior.

Here in Romans and Thessalonians, Paul describes the “series of changes” associated with addiction based living as well as its source.

  28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,

29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and  undutiful to parents.

31 [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.

32 Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (AMPC)

**

  11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,

12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning [a]as His firstfruits (first converts) for salvation through the sanctifying work of the [Holy] Spirit and [your] belief in (adherence to, trust in, and reliance on) the Truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (AMPC)

Addictions hijack the the brain’s reward process as it was made to function and deceives humanity into thinking that they have rebuilt the rewards system to their own best interests. Hidden within the man-made construct is the voracious, destructive power of addiction. What we accepted as good morphs into the most vile of evils and the person we knew ourselves to be disappears. It is a heartless way to live.

Addictions can render similar damage to brain tissues that strokes do in the areas of memory, motivation, and the reward process. While strokes silently kill brain tissue by cutting off blood supply overtly or covertly, addictions kill off brain function by the loud or silent choices we make based on the rewards we desire and the dopamine we get from them.

Rewards are important. They are useful in parenting successfully so we want our children to establish a good understanding of cause and effect; a love for effort and reward. The reward concept is also pivotal in our relationship to God.

Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Hebrews 11:5-6 (AMPC)

Listen, Friends. YOU MUST believe that God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. Proper functioning of the reward center in our brains is essential to living the life Jesus died and conquered death to give us … a life full of joy in God’s presence.

Harvard says recovery from addiction is possible. So does God. Let’s take a look at what each has to say.

“It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life. Understand that your problems usually are transient, and perhaps most importantly, acknowledge that life is not always supposed to be pleasurable.”

Adapted with permission from the Harvard Mental Health Letter and Overcoming Addiction: Paths toward recovery, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications.

And God says…

1. Cultivate diverse interests:

  Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].

Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Philippians 2:3-5 (AMPC)

**

11 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Give a portion to seven, yes, even [divide it] to eight, for you know not what evil may come upon the earth. //In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2,6(AMPC)

2.Understand that your problems are usually transient

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (AMPC)

3. Acknowledge that life is not always supposed to be pleasurable

 37 He who loves [and [a]takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; Matthew 10:37(AMPC)

**

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. Matthew 13:22 (AMPC)

**

10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[a]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [b]in divine strength). 2 Corinthians 12:10 (AMPC)

So let’s consider the rewards of the LORD and fight for better brain function. Here is one that addresses the issue of being abandoned:

  God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:6(AMPC)

 

I am forever grateful that my family’s addictions and the resulting abandonment that invaded my life and that of my own children’s lives is not the end of our story. Recovery IS possible.

God makes addiction recovery possible.

The best thing about addiction recovery is the ability to process a right relationship with God and the joy that sprouts from belonging to His family.

Got Storms? Consider the LORD.

 

Storms

Wind

Rain

Disturbance

Sudden

Violent

Forceful

Stirring

Commotion

Heavy

Damage

Storms

Verbal

Powerful

Positional

Attack

Advance without warning

Doubt

Mistrust

Betrayal

Criticism

Rage

Complaint

Assault

Subjugated

Helpless

Storms…

Waves Rage

The Rock

Stands

Firm

 

Our Rock

Most High

All Powerful

Provider

Rescuer

Redeemer

Savior

Healer

Works Wonders

 Wise

 

The Lord Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles.

107 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His loving kindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the [
a]south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a [b]desert region;
They did not find a way to [
c]an inhabited city.
They were hungry [d]and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
He led them also by a [e]straight way,
To go to [
f]an inhabited city.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
g]wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the [h]thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in [
i]misery and [j]chains,
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
And broke their bands apart.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
k]wonders to the sons of men!
16 For He has shattered gates of bronze
And cut bars of iron asunder.

17 Fools, because of [l]their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered 
them from their [m] destructions.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
n]wonders to the sons of men!
22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.

 

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His [
o]wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves [
p]of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in 
their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And [
q]were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.


29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves [
r]of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
s]wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

33 He [t]changes rivers into a [u]wilderness
And springs of water into a thirsty ground;
34 A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He [v]changes a [w]wilderness into a pool of water
And a dry land into springs of water;
36 And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish [
x]an inhabited city,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
And [
y]gather a fruitful harvest.
38 Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly,
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39 When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt upon [z]princes
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
41 But He sets the needy [aa]securely on high away from affliction,
And makes 
his families like a flock.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the loving kindnesses of the Lord. Psalm 107 (NASB)

Compassionately Challenged

Compassion challenged? Me too.

One of the consequences of emotional abandonment during childhood is perpetually sorting out things like compassion. You know…that trait all of humanity is called upon to express during global catastrophe – hurricane damage, or famine,  for example- or national traditions like Thanksgiving ripe with donation campaigns, or whatever the latest do-gooder trend happens to be.

I have found that I care, I just don’t care like I’m expected to. Sorting out an intangible word like compassion can be difficult. The concept of being mindful of someone else’s needs requires huge amounts of attention and energy… energy I don’t always have available.

This is true for the abandoned person because compassion has not been modelled nor encouraged. Self preservation emotionally and sometimes physically has been the primary focus for a very long time.

Though compassion can be a learned skill set, even a practiced skill, the abandoned person who suffered this neglect in childhood will …this side of heaven…need repeat mentoring  and encouragement in the area of compassion. One day we wake up and discover that we want to employ compassionate actions ( like have children of our own) and we fumble miserably through our attempts to express compassion appropriately when left to our own devices.

Some well meaning person may call us out for apparent neglect of our community. Then BAM! Suddenly this compassion thing has a value we never knew existed and we have no clue how to accomplish what is required.

Because a new skill set has precious value, efforts are made to gain mastery and to continue on in this new adventure. To the now grown person previously abandoned – currently in healthy relationships or not- these efforts that seem like a “well, DUH!” situation to everyone else are in reality a huge and embarrassing , “I don’t get it.”

Every effort at compassion is fought for; fought for like the Revolutionary War. Little by little small skirmishes strategically converge and we pray to God for a battle victory and ground we can hold onto.

Though compassion is a big deal to me, it is not a big deal to God. Read that slowly. Compassion is not a big deal to God. Compassion is mentioned 41 times in all of Scripture. Charity a mere 28 times. Compare this with the word “mercy” that gets a whopping 276 mentions. So which concept do you think God wants to be sure we understand? If you said “mercy”, we are agreed.

When it comes to the word “compassion”, it’s like God said, “This is compassion. This is how you work it. Do it. I’m done talking about it.”

Wordpress banner compassCOMPASSION:

H2550-chamal:- to commiserate;by implication, to spare ( This is the same compassion the princess of Egypt had on Moses when she drew him up out if the water.)

H7355-  raw-kham  :- to fondle; by implication, to love, to have compassion on

H7356- Racham:- compassion in the plural; by extension, the womb ( as cherishing the unborn baby)

H7349- Racham:- full of compassion, merciful

Greek 4697- splagchnizomai:- to have the bowels yearn;  to have sympathy or pity

G1653- eleeo:- to be compassionate ( by word or deed, specifically by Divine grace)

G3356- metriopatheo -to be moderate in passion; gentle, to treat indulgently

G4834- sympathetic:- to feel sympathy for; to commiserate

G4835- sumpathes:-having a fellow feeling; mutually commiserate

So here’s a few things God’s word tells me about compassion that I can use in realigning my relationships from unhealthy to healthy:

  • The birth of the Hebrew Nation through Abraham and the promise of a homeland began with an abandoned child upon whom God poured out His compassion — Ezekiel 16:5 and the same is true of Moses in Exodus 2:6
  • Anger does not allow compassion — Deuteronomy 13:17
  • Loving (holding onto) what God condemns prevents Him from showing compassion to us — Deuteronomy
  • When you and your children return to God and obey Him with your whole heart THEN God will show His compassion to His people
  • Acts of compassion are evidence of God’s blessing — 1Samuel 23:21
  • Compassion is shown by outsiders (Captors) to God’s people by God’s answer to pleading prayers simply because those pleading belong to Him. –2 Chronicles 30:9
  • God’s compassion is motivated by covenant relationship — 2 Kings 13:23
  • God sends His Word to His people because He is compassionate — 2Chronicles 36:15-19
  • The result of compassion is the active remembrance of God’s wonders — Psalm 111:4
  • The “light” of the people of God in the darkness is composed of 1) grace, 2) compassion, & 3)righteousness — Psalm 112:4
  • Compassion is made up of 1) being slow to anger, 2) exercising great mercy — Psalm 145:8
  • A mother can forget compassion but God does not — Isaiah 49:15
  • The compassion of God brings people from the yucky places they are to the wonderful places they should be — Jeremiah 12:15
  • God can cause grief and yet have compassion — Lamentations 3:32
  • God’s compassion conquers our iniquities and casts our sins into the sea — Micah 7:19

These are amazing truths of the old Testament that are just as true today. Compassion is not as daunting as I thought. How can it be when , by definition, God does all the hard stuff?

Live blessed dear children of abandonment. God does not abandon children or the adults they grow up to be. His words and deeds prove that we are cherished beyond all the pain and struggles we experience.

Compassion challenged? Maybe. But God is not…ever. We are so blessed that we don’t have to be compassionate on our own. God helps us whenever we ask Him to be compassionate in word and deed according to His will, His covenant, and His Great mercy. Compassion challenged? Maybe. But God is not…ever.