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I will not leave you as orphans…..

Father To The FatherlessI sat in my counselors office, head bent, eyes closed, waiting with a hopeful heart. We had spent some time talking and we were now inviting Jesus into my earliest memory of being and feeling alone.

“In my minds eye I saw myself as a little girl in a room peeking around a corner into another room. I wanted to be seen, yet fear kept me half hidden.

In my vision I saw myself as a little 4 year old girl with blonde curls and wearing a pretty plaid dress. In the other room I saw Jesus standing and smiling at me as I continued to peek around the corner of the wall.  He was inviting me to join him in the room, encouraging me to not be afraid, to come to him. With hesitation I made my way further into the room where Jesus had his hand extended and was asking me to take his hand.

His eyes were gentle and soft, and there was a strength about him that invited me to trust him.  I kept my hands folded in front of my mouth, it was as if even though I took the risk and came out from behind the wall my hands were my safety hiding part of my face.
As I began to relax Jesus commented on how beautiful my dress was and how pretty I looked. His eyes twinkled with joy and he began to twirl me around, dancing with me.  My little purple, green, yellow and pink plaid dress twirled as he spun me around. Before long I found myself giggling, enjoying his laughter and presence and these carefree moments where I could dance and feel free.

After He twirled me a few times He then sat on the floor grinning from ear to ear and encouraged me to sit with him.

Briefly I felt a prickle of fear, but his kind eyes soon removed any fear. And before long I was sitting with him listening to his voice of comfort telling me that He is always with me, He has always been with me. Maybe I haven’t seen him or felt him but He was always there…..and He would never leave me or hurt me. And I need never feel alone again.”Jesus

It was at this point in my vision I began to cry. Here was a man who didn’t ask something from me in return for his kindness. He didn’t earn my trust and then violate me. He didn’t abuse me. He didn’t demand anything. There was no ulterior motive in his invitation other than to love me and offer me his presence.

I felt safe, so safe….no longer alone. And I knew from this time on I could trust Jesus to stay with me.As my counselor prayed for me I would forever be changed as the Holy Spirit brought healing to the heart of the little girl who fought so hard to survive. The little girl who although was abandoned by all who were to love and protect her, was truly never alone, and would never be alone again.

I’m not sure if you know this or even believe it but in large part we are spiritual beings. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is a spiritual relationship.

Even if you and I are unaware, we have been given spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to see and hear Jesus. He tells us in His word that His sheep know His voice. This is a spiritual hearing.

We are invited to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. This is a spiritual seeing.

jesusIt has been said that much that binds our minds and thoughts, attacks our health and relationships, and harms our hearts, is spiritual.

The real enemy is not flesh and blood.

In our own life and in the lives of those we love, we need to understand there is a spiritual enemy attacking from a spiritual realm.

Not only as children but even as adults we can form beliefs and make decisions based upon facts we see with physical eyes or hear with our physical ears. But friends, there is a truth above the facts. Reality is what God sees, not what we see. God sees the whole picture and He desires to share that with you and I.

In my journey I have discovered that when I desire healing, when I desire to see what God sees, He will illuminate His written Word.
He will speak to my heart with His “still small voice” and illuminate hurts, wounds and lies which He wants to touch. Often in prayer God will show me a foothold that the enemy has gained in my life.

Sometimes He shows me that I need to forgive. Sometimes I need to repent for holding on to hurts or sins. And sometimes I need to come to Him with my ungodly beliefs and ask Him to show me His truth.

As God reveals, He heals!!

healer

 

No longer alone….

timeI love God’s timing! I love how He reveals truth when we are ready to hear it,  when we are ready to receive it and when we are at that place where we can invite the Holy Spirit to bring healing into our lives.

Yet, it doesn’t always come without a struggle beforehand. Sometimes it involves wading through the muddy waters of ungodly beliefs and lies lived for far too long. Such is what happened to me over the last couple of weeks.

I went to see my spiritual counselor because I have felt a stirring in my spirit that I needed someone to walk through some issues with me that have been coming to the surface regarding “resting in God” and what that looks like or even means.

I was a little surprised when two comments were said in our meeting that went in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated, but two statements stuck with me and I knew that God was shining His spotlight on them asking me to dig a little deeper.

My counselor made the observation that I have felt “alone” all of my life.

How could one little word, “alone”, begin to unravel long held beliefs and pain.

alone

I realized that I have been using that word a lot lately~ especially more so in the last couple of years. My husband is a owner/operator truck driver. Not only does he drive but we own other trucks and hire drivers. Needless to say that as a driver he is gone a lot, plus in winter he is gone for a couple of months at a time as he works in the north on the ice roads.

And although I usually don’t mind being alone the last couple of years have been very difficult. And I wasn’t sure why….until now.

Alone, that is how I felt growing up. And although I was around people, I felt alone.

Having lost my mother at 6 months of age and my daddy then giving me to an aunt and uncle to raise, I was an infant who was abandoned and lost the connection with her biological parents and siblings. This does something to a child.

I was raised in a home of abuse but also a home where I had to fend for myself a lot of the times. It was a home where at a very young age I learned to survive. alone

Loneliness crept into my life at a very tender, vulnerable age. In later years after I was married another uncle mentioned to my husband that as a child he watched me and how for 7 years  I never smiled.  Instead, loneliness like a thick cloud of fog seemed to envelop me. I learned how to be alone….it was how I survived.

And until now I have been comfortable with being alone, after-all it’s how I survived the years of abuse and pain…being alone made me strong and safe.

When a child lives with secrets and is not allowed to express her heart, when they are not permitted to reveal hidden abuse or attacks, then a child learns to walk through life feeling alone. When we are not allowed to ask questions, or to need answers to our questions, it isn’t only our questions, needs and voice that becomes invisible but we become invisible.

When tears are cried silently because crying out loud would bring punishment a child soon learns to cover her pain and withdraw to that place of aloneness in order to feel safe.

Yet we all long for connection, that is how God created us. Even though I am surrounded by family, friends and co-workers, I still often feel alone.

And this is where Jesus wants to meet me….where He longs to meet us.

For so long I viewed getting away by myself, withdrawing from social media etc as a way to spend time with God in order to purge any feelings of loneliness- a time to put on the shelf my questions, concerns and doubts thinking that would bring me closer to God….and don’t get me wrong, getting away by ourselves and having some quiet, uninterrupted time with the Lord is good and needed.

But I am beginning to understand that my desire to spend time alone is not really about getting away from all the noise at all, but simply it is a deep desire to trust God with my aloneness.

To allow Him to be enough, to be more than enough….to know that I am never truly alone when the Jesus lives in my heart. alone

God has been redefining quiet in my life. He is uncovering desire in my heart where there has been so much building of walls, so much fear of the unknown, so much anxiety of needing to be strong, so much grieving of what was and what isn’t.

I am beginning to sense glimpses of the intimacy that Jesus desires to have with me. No longer do I need to feel like the orphan who is alone, instead Jesus is the companion who walks with me through the alone times, the brother who holds my hand when I feel lonely, the friend who carries me when I haven’t the strength to face another trial. I don’t have to be strong all the time in order to survive now.

I think for so long I viewed time alone, a time of rest, a time unplugged from social media as a means to run from the very things that I longed for, connection, a deep connection with Jesus.  Yes, I wanted Him to fix what felt broken, to fill the voids, the deep longings and needs I had, but I was also was afraid of what I would hear , fearing His answer. Trust was elusive sometimes. Would He be enough?

Yes, I was desperate for Jesus to show up, and He did….and does…. but I also didn’t fully understand what it meant for Him to “stay”.

As God continues to redefine quiet for me He is transforming my aloneness, as well as my loneliest and messiest times into something that is beautiful and intimate.

As author, Bonnie Gray states:

“Quiet isn’t that absence of stress. Quiet signifies intimate confidence in your importance to Jesus.”

And we are important to Him….He is enough….and we are never truly alone when we have Jesus. Alone-Yet-Not-Alone

And the second observation that was said while I was with my counselor I will share in the next post, stay tuned!!

No Longer Victims of Fear

Women, especially those have been sexually abused, oftentimes carry deep fears. Men can as well, it just looks different for men then it does for women.

While fear is normal and valuable because it can keep a person from dangerous situations and mobilize a person to flee when danger approaches, it can also be an enemy, wearing a person down, robbing one of health and keep us from enjoying positive relationships.

One area I have had to deal with specifically in my life is that of changing my expectations and not viewing everything through the lens of fear.

expect-great-things

People tend to both see and experience what they expect. How do you feel about that statement?

None of us entered life expecting to be abused, and although there are exceptions to the rule regarding the statement,  generally speaking, I think it is pretty accurate.

Let me use the following story to illustrate.

A King wanted to find out whether his kingdom contained more weeds or flowers. He called two men into his court. To the first he gave the assignment of cataloging all the weeks in his kingdom. The second man was given the assignment of cataloging all the flowers. They were given two months to complete their assignment.

At the end of the two months they returned to the king. The first said, “O mighty king, your kingdom is covered in weeds! It’s a horrible sight! You must do something about it. It’s sad to have so many weeds invading your kingdom.”

The second man said, “O mighty king, our kingdom is absolutely overrun with flowers of every kind and color. They are glorious. They make your kingdom fresh and alive. It is a joy to be part of your kingdom.”

Talk about two very different perspectives.

What we expect to see colors what we do see in life!! 

believe

Because I have been talking a lot lately about “words” I’d like to share something I have discovered over the years.

While it’s true that although words can be thrown at us carelessly and sometimes they can be hurled with the intent to injure, I can’t help but wonder how often we filter situations or words from others through our already gaping wounds….words from friends, family, co-workers, Christian brothers and sisters…..how often are words spoken and we assume they are insinuating something when it was really the farthest thing from their minds?

Yet their words can pierce deeply because we are hearing them through words and wounds long ago spoken that have left a fracture in our spirits and we tend to filter everything through that.

And so we react, we turn away, we put up a wall, we take offence, we write that person off, we withdraw deeper into ourselves instead of taking the wound or the assumption or the questions to Jesus. How often do we find the courage to go to the person and ask what they really meant, asking them to elaborate, or to risk telling them the effect their words had on us.

I am not saying this to heap more guilt or shame, I am not suggesting that it didn’t hurt, I am never denying the pain….but perhaps it is time to honestly look at our reactions through the lens of Jesus rather than our fears.

Please understand that I am not talking about words that are abusive, insulting , harmful or offensive, words used to control, wound or manipulate us. I am talking about our everyday relationships with friends, co-workers, those with whom we are in community.

Isaiah

 

In dealing with fear, changing my expectations has been a part of my healing process. I was hurt many times as a child, but there are flowers in the kingdom, I had to make the choice to look for them. I had to realize that my life was not totally ruined because of the weeds unless I decided to quit on myself.

 

Our fears are frequently tied to our pasts….maybe it’s time to look at the present for what it is.

 

Because if we live our lives expecting to be hurt, expecting to see weeds wherever we look, expecting others to always let us down, wrong us or think the worst of us….then our abuser wins again.

Remember…..today and tomorrow have no writing on them yet……. 

My hope is that your story will be about changing your expectations, about allowing God to birth something beautiful inside of you, that you will trust Him, and  that you will learn to love without fear.

writing

 

 

 

Keeping it Real

“What if our brokenness reveals more about God’s love for us than our efforts to cover it up?”Girl holding broken heart

These words have stuck with me the last few days.

This is not what I usually think about when it comes to my brokenness. I tend to think more about how I can bury it, get past it, avoiding pain at any cost.

Yet I am coming to realize there are only two ways I can keep my heart alive. I can deaden my heart through denial and addictions, which I hope will numb it. Or I can allow my suffering to expose the real me and lead me to having honest and truthful conversations with God.

The way out is through it…..

                                    God never wastes a hurt……

Two phrases I’m sure you have heard too….and if I am really honest I will admit that I really don’t like those two phrases. Can I trust God? Can I really move from fear to freedom? These words sound so easy don’t they? But actually choosing to trust, well that takes courage, risk and faith doesn’t it?

new heart

 

 

And yet, it is through our suffering and being real with God that we come through the other side a changed person; that the very thing you hate the most in your life is what God wants to use for good in your life. The very thing that brought you such pain is the very thing that God promises He will redeem, the very situation that brought a fracture He can use to grow us up.

 

 

 

Our pain can often reveal God’s purpose for us. Could it be that when you’ve gone through pain, God wants you to help others going through that same hurt.

He wants you to share it.
2 Corinthians 1, verses 4 and 6, “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things” (NLT).
Jesus died a cruel death on the cross. He didn’t deserve to die. Yet, He went through that pain for our benefit so that we can be saved, He did it to bring us freedom, healing and life. He came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.
But we tend to spend the majority of our lives running from the memories, the pain and the shame….but you know what?

Jesus is still back there my friends…….

        Waiting…..

               Speaking to you………..

                      Saying; I saw you then…….

                                I see you now………

                                         You are real……….

                                                          You are not alone……..

                                                                       You are not abandoned…………

                                                                                      You are not unwanted………..

                                                                       brokenness

Healing and peace isn’t found by forgetting…..it is found when we risk remembering our pain, shame, fears and our sorrow and being fully present with Jesus….it is found in being “real”.

You keep him in perfect peace (Shalom) whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Bonnie Gray in her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace says the following:
“Shalom peace from God is a putting back together. It is the movement to recover pieces of ourselves that have been abandoned, a putting back together of what we’ve left behind, to find Jesus with us in our memories.”

Healing…..

……is what we find in this journey with Jesus

……inviting Him back to those places of pain brings Shalom peace, freedom and healing

……we might feel so broken by the wounds but in the process of being real with Him we are actually regaining more of our soul.

Are you willing to be real?

 

Our scars make us know that our past was for real~Jane Austen

broken

.

Hope does not put us to shame.

“You are not wanted!!” Have you heard those words?

Whether flung carelessly or with intent, the impact those words had on your heart left an imprint.sad

No one wants to hear those words…..in our workplace, in our job interviews, in our relationships, in our community, or from someone we love deeply and trust.

No matter where the words come from they can influence our decisions and often drive us to be more, to do more, all in order to never hear those words again.
They can cause us to live our lives in fear. When we live fearing to never hear those words again we can find ourselves living as someone who strives to be loved and cherished, not for who we are but for what we can do or who we can become in order to accepted.

words hurt
And we fear failing….therefore we strive all the harder…..in our parenting, in our friendships that seem to always end up as one way relationships, in our giving more then our 100% in our work place, in seeking approval from those in authority…..why, because we fear not being enough….we fear failing….we fear stopping the roller coaster because our worth is based on what we can do and not who we are.

What would happen to us if we stopped doing and simply offered our authentic, plain selves?
What would happen if we allowed ourselves the grace to be simply who we are instead of offering ourselves to others from that place of wounding- letting the words of not being wanted, or good enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, or successful enough, or smart enough, or having what it takes define us….what then….

free or hiding

The power of words.
Words that have the power to wound us still….. often making us feel smaller then we already are feeling. Or maybe they make us feel coerced into getting over what we just can’t seem to get over. Words that make us feel more alone…..standing on the outside…..not feeling loved, understood or accepted.

Take a moment to look into the soul of that small child within you who felt the full power of words that wounded. The small child who felt crushed. Lonely. Abandoned. Forgotten. Beat Up. Broken. Humiliated. Take a moment to allow Jesus to speak His WORDS into that tender soul.
What might you hear Him say….

He sees you
He hears you
He knows you
He gathers you to Him
He holds you
He understands you
He is with you always
He is preparing a place for you, just for you
He knows you
He comforts you
He is that place of safety for you
He lifts your head
He looks into your eyes with a love that goes deeper and transcends all words and wounds
He wants you to be real, because He is real
He doesn’t give up on you
And He asks you to not give up on that small child either……

He asks you to risk, risk trusting Him…..trust Him when you find yourself wanting to be yourself yet you are afraid to be loved and known. He asks you let Him love the child within you….will you let Him?

god-whispers

Romans 5:5 (ESV)
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Little girl hiding….

come-to-me Isaiah 55: 1-2
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

Rest- an intimate movement to receive.

It has been said that spiritual rest is a journey of awakening our hearts to fully receive…..it’s easy to talk about rest, it sounds so easy doesn’t it?

But in all honesty rest, true, deep, soulful rest doesn’t come easy for me. Sure I have had peaceful moments, yet I really haven’t held onto them long enough to make rest my soul’s everyday home.

David in the Psalms talks about his need for deep, soulful rest:
You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)

In my innermost being, in those hidden places inside, rest has eluded me…. because in truth I have always worked so hard to rest.
Yet God desires that in our innermost places we find rest in Him, but I find it scary, because I prefer safety over intimacy.

This morning God brought to mind a memory of my father, my birth father.
I didn’t know what to do-my birth dad, along with my siblings, were visiting. I knew they had come to see me but as my father and my aunt and uncle sat at the table enjoying steaming mugs of coffee and my siblings enjoying my aunts baking, I stood off to the side. Uncertain. Tentative. Hesitant. Cautious. Timid.
Do I go and enter into their conversation, becoming a part of their family? I could see the longing and the sadness in my father’s eyes as he watched his daughter from a distance…..his little girl whom he longed to hold and cherish…..but I didn’t know what to do….and so I remained at a distance, watching.

I knew my “adopted” family-my aunt and uncle whom I called mom and dad- were torn as well….they were raising me as their daughter and yet they knew that this man before me was my birth father….and so I stood there torn, undecided, unsure of what to do……do I please them or do I please my father…..do I do what I want to do…..instead I did what came natural to me…..I ran, I hid….shielding myself from disappointment and from pain.
The little girl within me at such a young age felt so conflicted…..what began then has continued into my adulthood. The conflict between what I want and what I ought to do has conflicted within my innermost being….the deep place where God says He desires truth….the hidden part where He desires to bring freedom. little-girl-hiding

In hiding, the little girl found her place of rest…..because the unknown was too frightening, the pain was too great, the fear too daunting and the emotions too overwhelming……trust became ever increasingly difficult for me….all those feelings locked inside my heart that day. And every time my father came to visit after that day I would find myself torn once again. And I didn’t realize until now that those feelings froze inside me that day.

Some of the stories I have viewed as childhood memories are actually still “live events” hidden behind the wall in my heart….the wall that I thought was gone but some of it still remains.
As I looked back at the memory this morning asking God what He desires to speak into my heart from it….I hear Him whisper “come”. Such a simple word….and yet…..

Too often instead of trusting God, allowing my brokenness to bring me to Him, a battle ensues and I find myself running away from the things that break me….not willing to look at the parts of my life that are not at rest…..my appeasing, my fear of speaking truth, my caring too much of what people think, my desires to please people, my fear of letting people wrestle with their own pain knowing I can’t make it better, not being good enough, not being enough period……and just like I did as a young girl I feel trapped at times.
What should I do? What will happen if I do one thing or the other? What will happen to my father, what will happen to me?

A part of me that day wanted to run and jump into my father’s arms, nestling into that place of safety with the man who desperately wanted to love his little girl, to wipe away the tears that glistened in his eyes as he watched me from a distance as he longed to be my daddy….but we both felt awkward that day, both of us uncertain of our places, we both had hearts breaking for the other and ourselves…..and so we remained at a distance, neither of us willing to step into that sacred space, both reacting from our wounds and adding fresh wounds to our already fragmented hearts…..
spiritual-runaway-image

As I look back my mind goes to the “what if’s”…..what if neither of us cared about the world around us, what if neither of us cared about what was right or wrong but of relationship….what if we shook off the fear and embraced truth…. the “what if” lingers still….

I can’t go back, how I wish I could….how I wish my father had been a braver man, how I wish I hadn’t been a fearful child…..
But life doesn’t always turn out like the movies or a fairy tale does it….instead two people that day, one an adult and one a child, had their hearts split apart that day…..we both ran, it may have looked different for each of us, but we both ran….to our place of safety.

All this running is exhausting…..

Whenever I stop and face the silence I have to face the truth….I am suspicious of a restful life. My heart learned very early that it is safer to hide than to stay open long enough to receive…..divided between what I desire and what I fear.

If my aunt and uncle would have given me permission and freedom to fully receive from my father the heart of that little girl would not have been fragmented that day….but it didn’t turn out that way.

So where does that leave me today-it leads me to the place where God is inviting me to come, to stop my running, to allow Him to enfold me in His arms, to find soul rest~ that intimate place of rest where I’ve ever dared to believe is possible…..a place of comfort…..abundance……delight……of truth……
in his arms

Do you find it hard to rest? To receive? When do you find your soul at rest?

The Journey Begins…..

There I was, sitting on the floor with my face nuzzled into my big, black puppy’s neck, sobbing…..pain from somewhere deep within finding its way to the surface….

My big puppy stoically allowed me to let it all out…finally turning to me when the tears were spent and gave me a big, sloppy lick on my face as if to say, I’m here and it’s going to be okay, we will play again when you are ready. I couldn’t help but smile…yes; I want to play again….
balance

An imbalanced life….that’s how I felt that day…..but it is risky to stop and investigate the whys and how did I get here? Why do I feel so stressed? No one wants to feel this way; no one wants to feel alone and desolate….

Desolate- now there is a word that you don’t want to identify yourself with. How can you find rest for your soul in a place such as this? But this was the place within me that I hid from, ran from even…..the places where stress, anxiety and fear overtake….robbing me of my moments….and yet, it is to a desolate place where Jesus went to meet with God. It’s the place he retreated too….it is where he found his quiet time.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely [desolate] places and prayed. Luke 15: 16”

In that moment of vulnerability with my head buried in the soft fur of my puppy, God showed me where He wanted to take me…..He was asking me to “follow” Him to this place of discovery~to “quit” being afraid of what others think! Ouch….do I want to go there…umm, no, but I know I should, I know I must, in order to find soul rest.

My need to be what other people wanted, needed and expected me to be was far too great to actually allow me to stand up for myself. How is it after all these years I can still find myself defined not by God’s love but by what others think of me?

QuitBeingAfraid600

And so….

follow Him….

I must…..

Psalm 27:7-10
The Message (MSG)
7-9 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
“Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
Don’t hide from me now!
9-10 You’ve always been right there for me;
don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.

Self-Contempt or Other-Contempt

Hope

A reader, Cindy, asked the question on this post (https://tearsinabottle.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/self-contempt-meets-surrender-and-grace/) regarding other-contempt and rather than try and answer it there I decided to write a separate post about it.

Thank you Cindy for your question on other- contempt….although I don’t have it all figured out, I have found that as Jesus continues to uncover and reveal those areas that I keep hidden and don’t want disclosed, as I bring them to Him, exposing the true nature of my heart and the wounds that still need His healing touch, He gently, in love, touches those raw places with His healing balm and brings truth, peace and restoration….. Your question was timely.

Like you Cindy, I too, understood self-contempt very well, but other-contempt is a bit harder to identify I think….perhaps because we don’t really want to take a good, hard look at ourselves. The reasons may be varied, but I wonder if it is because we are afraid we won’t like what we find and maybe even deeper because we fear rejection from our Heavenly Father….we are afraid of being exposed and struggle to trust that His heart for us is good.

It has been said that “contempt” is a form of hatred, whether it be self-contempt or other-contempt……as victims of abuse we know all too well that “shame” is intense and when it afflicts you, you feel exposed and naked.
But did you know that contempt is an emotion as powerful as hatred….contempt is strong enough to cover or numb your feelings of shame.
Contempt hardens the heart by causing us to view others (or ourselves) through a lens of hatred.

As Dan Allender says; “The lens anaesthetizes desire at the same time it negates disappointment. Contempt sneers at desire and sees it as foolish and futile. Cynicism and sarcasm mock the foibles of others in order to gain safety from involvement with frail humanity or an unpredictable God.”

Shame leaves us feeling exposed and unprotected, vulnerable, weak and powerless….shame leaves us wanting to protect and guard ourselves and hatred or contempt gives you the feeling of power so that you don’t have to feel anxious, needy or dependant.
Often we will show contempt for others by using resentment and/or anger to build walls so that others will not see our pain and shame if they get too close to us.
Contempt for others is an expression of shame that says “I hate you”…. it doesn’t matter whether or not we say it out loud to the other person, other-contempt will eventually manifest itself.
Too often when our shame is exposed to someone else, we become filled with rage….why, because we are terrified of being rejected on the basis of our revealed hearts, so we choose to act in ways that will destroy the relationship.

Contempt is a belittling of the person, of their words, actions or motives, either to their face or behind their backs. When we use all our effort to make the other person look small it is an attempt to make ourselves look significant, important, powerful and in control. Often this will show itself in the tone we use, in our eyes, and in the content of our conversation.

It has been said that the goal of contempt is to discredit and steal dignity so the victor can remain in control, unfazed by any different view of reality.
Here are some ways which other-contempt might look like in relationships, and there are additional ways we can show contempt for others, perhaps some even come to your mind as you are reading this…..

• Do I tend to blame others so that I don’t have to look at myself?
• Do I walk away from someone who may be speaking the truth to me, do I write them off!
• Do I allow others to walk all over me?
• Do I compare myself to others and then feel either inferior or superior?

We need to be vigilant against jealousy and envy when it comes to relationships….God does not want us to compare ourselves with others….but it is a challenge, especially when we haven’t recognized other-contempt.

I believe it was Staci Eldredge who said: “staying in relationship with another person requires first that we stay in relationship with God. He is the only way we can navigate through jealousies, other-contempt, comparisons and hatred that rear their ugly heads or offences from others that prick our vulnerable hearts.”
Most of our healing and change of heart doesn’t always happen instantly, at the moment of our conversion….rather God invites us to walk it out…..He invites us into the process….our journey to get there takes place in our everyday lives…the often muddy, gritty, and stormy here and now. And it is in this place that Jesus comes.
God invites us to join him in the process whereby He heals our hearts, our inner world so He can transform our outer world.
Friends, Jesus loves you….yes, you….the you that has carried this heavy load of baggage….God does not turn His face away from us in our imperfections and weaknesses, neither does He turn His face away when we struggle with contempt for ourselves or others…and He is not surprised….right here, right now, you are loved and pursued and seen by the ONE who sees everything.
Let HOPE rise my friend….it is not too late, it is not too hard, you are not too much or not enough….God’s mercies are new every morning.
Beloved, there is mercy in His eyes even now!!

“Father God, I bring to you my heart that is bound up with other-contempt….it took me a long time to realize that my heart was hard and filled with this emotion…thank you for revealing this to me, whether through others who loved me enough to say the “hard words” or whether it was through your Holy Spirit, either way, thank you for exposing it to me….not to heap more condemnation on me (I know all too well how to do that), not to beat me up or make me feel more shame…but for uncovering this area of wounding so that I can bring it to you, to lay it at your feet, to confess it for what it is…sin against others, sin against you….we are called to love others as we love ourselves, but when we find it so hard to love ourselves it is nearly impossible to love others in a healthy, life giving way….Holy Spirit, bring to our minds those areas in our lives that need to be exposed to your truth….show us where we have wounded others and in doing so brought judgement upon ourselves…as we bring each situation and person to the cross, we ask that you forgive us….forgive us for envy, for jealousy, for critical spirits, and as we lay each person we feel contempt for at your feet we would ask that you replace the hatred and condemnation with truth, peace, love and healing….fill us Jesus with your Holy Spirit….heal those raw places that need your love, restore our relationships, bring peace and love to them…help us to walk in freedom and victory, seeing others through your eyes….seeing ourselves through your eyes….teach us what it means to love ourselves and in turn love others, in a healthy, life-giving way…trusting YOU at all times….
We pray these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ….the one who loves us with an everlasting love, the ONE who has promised He would never leave us or forsake us….In His name, AMEN!

I would love to hear from you, those who follow my blog- what your thoughts are regarding other-contempt….how has God revealed this area to you? How have you worked through it? Have you found healing from other-contempt?

Emmanuel~God with us!

God's lightI love Christmas! It is a season to celebrate but all too soon it ends and life goes on…..
I don’t know if you are like me but too often I go into the new year with resolutions and a resolve to do better, to improve myself and to make a difference. However, the road can become long, I grow tired and weary, and all my good intentions seem to fall by the wayside.

Life is a journey… perhaps it is just the anticipation of a new year but I find I get reflective and find myself asking; is God not bigger than the boxes I try to keep Him in…and life not larger than the labels I would paste on it.

I love it when the Holy Spirit gently whispers to my spirit that God is big, and although life is large if I look I will find surprises at every turn, unexpected mercy in times of need, unbridled grace when I surrender and the love of God at the end of every road.
He reminds me that a life of faith is not built on my own strength, but on the
strength and goodness of God.

This Christmas as I lit a solitary candle and took some time to rest in my heavenly Fathers presence, I realized that of all the awesome events in the story of Christ’s birth – the star, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men – the most remarkable is simply the fact that He came!

Emmanuel-God with us….long after the celebration is over, the Christmas tree is taken down and the decorations are put away may we remember that we are no longer alone, the Prince of Peace has come to tell us how much we are loved by the Father.

And as I bundled up on a crisp, winter evening and stepped outside to view the magnificence of the stars in a cloudless, night sky I was reminded that God is guiding all of us just as He did the wise men who sought the child….if we will take the time to listen and to follow.

Emmanuel- God with us. My prayer is that we will always remember that the presence and mercy of our Heavenly Father is with us at all times, that the light of Christ’s love surround us…May grace and gratitude overflow…and may the joy of Christmas live in your heart all year round.

The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give
you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Setting our hearts on pilgrimage-Part 2

If you read my one of my previous posts Setting our hearts on pilgrimage you will know that my husband and I took a trip to England in September. And if you read the post then you will know the significance of this trip for me, it was a journey to discover more of my roots.

My dad was a Canadian soldier in World War 2, and while there he met a young English woman. They got married while he was stationed there, and after a few months he was sent home, my mom followed shortly after.

Little did anyone know that she would die at the young age of 34, leaving behind a husband and 4 children. I was the youngest, just 6 months old, and for reasons I’ve never fully understood I was taken from my father and raised by my aunt and uncle.

I grew up not knowing my dad but I did know most of the relatives on his side of the family. But it was my mom’s side of the family that I never knew.

You know how we have the habit of saying, or at least I have said it to my husband, “you sound just like your mom” (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong)….or you look in the mirror one morning and say, “I am my mother” (at least my daughters have told me they’ve said that!!)…..well, I could never say that because I never knew my parents.

As a little girl I would often cry myself to sleep longing for my mom….even as a young girl I knew that someday I was going to go to England, the country of her birth. And so this past September my dream came true.

I knew my uncle, my mom’s brother, through letters, emails and phone calls….he did come to Canada 16 years ago for a short visit….but I still had lots of questions, as well as relatives there that I’d never met. I went not knowing if they would be like the Waltons or the Adams family…thankfully they were not like the latter!

I spent many hours with my uncle pouring over photos, asking questions and learning more about my mother and my heritage. I learned what kind of woman she had been, and I knew that even though I didn’t know her, I carried some of her traits. One afternoon while going through photos my uncle stopped and looked at me and said: “do you know that today would have been your mom’s birthday” coincidence? I don’t think so….

During our time in England we took a tour to the southern part known as the English Riviera, while there we took a boat across the bay to Dartmouth. While on the boat I looked back at the shore line and thought about my mom…how she must have felt leaving on a ship with other war brides headed for Canada. Looking back at her country did she wonder if she would ever see her homeland or her family again. Did she have any idea what the Canadian prairies during the harsh winter months were going to be like?

That day on the boat, lost in my thoughts, what I sensed in my spirit was that my mom was a woman of courage and strength. And this is the common thread that I have seen handed down through the generations, in the lives of my daughters and just like it took God’s courage and strength for me to face my painful and abusive childhood and find healing.

I don’t know why my mom had to die at such a young age, I have learned not to question my heavenly Father but to trust Him….and I have learned that it is all about the journey-and His presence can be found in every step.

As God writes the stories of our lives he uses our past to open up our future. God reveals himself to you, and to others, through the story He has written in your life.

God gave me two Scriptures when I became a Christian at age 22, one is Psalm 16: 6: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” And another Scripture, Joel 2:23-24 says: So I will restore the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust and the chewing locust. In this passage we find there are 4 different kinds of locusts, one takes the flower, one takes the stem, one takes the leaf, and one takes the root, so when they are done there is virtually nothing left. Yet, God’s promise to me was that He would take the heart of a bruised and battered child, who suffered in silence, and heal and restore her again.

These two verses have been such a source of strength and encouragement in some of my most challenging and darkest times.

God took a broken little child and restored her……He took a wounded young girl and offered her healing….and He took a woman, filled with shame and promised her life!!

The Lord doesn’t reclaim the years of the locust….He restores them! He restores them to demonstrate His grace, to bring praise to His name, and to reveal His power…..How can we not Thank HIM!!

Today, I can testify that He has indeed given me a delightful inheritance….and as Psalm 78:4 reminds me; “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and His power, and the wonders He has done.”

And I am thankful beyond words…..when I was on the plane watching England fade into the distance, the tears softly flowed….not tears of grief, but tears of deep gratitude, because God had answered the prayers of a little, abandoned girl so many years ago, and gave her the connection and family she’d always longed for

….no I never knew my mom or my dad, but I’ve known and tasted the goodness of my Lord, and to Him I am forever grateful!