In Your Language

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Relationships make or break our health and perspective

This is a season for comfort food that masks family tension. For some reason, many people are not assuaged by the fact that they will be receiving a gift or two in exchange for an uncomfortable, emotionally charged family gathering. Some people can leave the occasion feeling healthier, others will feel less well as their stress is activated and triggers are pushed.

It doesn't matter how healthy we are, it matters less if we have ailing relationships. Who wants to live healthy into old age alone? It's known that people who are married live longer (if they don't kill each other *tongue in cheek*) and people get more life satisfaction by the company of pets than other humans. Isn't that a shame? I'm just disappointed at our lackluster effect on each other.

How about instead of trying to buy a gift that won't be regifted (not that I do that- LOL), we think of things we can do for our relationships to turn a new corner. Maybe tell that person that you are sorry for "x" and the loss of connection because of it. Maybe revive a relationship by letting someone off the hook and telling them you forgive them. Maybe pick one small thing between you two that you could resolve to fix between now and that gathering.

The gift of relationship is priceless. It helps babies develop and thrive. It helps our health. It helps combat mental illness. It can be supremely redeeming to one's self perception. You cannot serve another person if you are alone or do not know/ask what they need. God calls us to die to ourselves in the abstract sense because he died on the cross in the real sense. Our selflessness pales in comparison to the call to die physically. It is the first step to adopting a life of service. Service speaks value into the recipient. I think that is a good theme for this holiday- to value each other.

Another thing that has come to my mind is how the Enemy can put lies out there in the expanse of our minds that can trick us into perceiving wrongs that were not personal at all. But that's what he wants- for us to be divided and to be on his dark squad.  He will disguise human instinct for intentional wrongdoing. Anything he can obscure, he will especially to tear us apart from each other.

Then the enemy takes our pain, turns them into vows like "No one will ever tell me how much soda I can drink" and then anyone who threatens that vow is fair game.  Those vows are the triggers that take us back in time with unwitting company. Many times the anger of today is of past struggles and pain. The easiest way to diffuse anger is to de-personalize it and then treat it with the opposite spirit (of love/peace). For instance you need to insert this thought into your mind: "Knowing that you felt marginalized as a kid and your parents divorced, I can understand why you felt triggered by this event." And then act and say something that speaks toward that pain. Try responding with "Can I do anything for you? Should I just listen?" Once you tap into someone's pain (not think about yourself), it is easier to rebound from conflict and not feel significantly hurt.

There is much wisdom is seeking outside counsel or arbitration. Ken Sande has a ministry that does just that- he resolves conflicts of the legal kind. He has a book about resolving conflicts- we might have enough time to read through that book before we see our families. That would be a proactive measure to have a more enjoyable and less stressful holiday.

I do pray over your heart and your relationships. I ask that God soften your hearts toward each other. I ask that God reveal to you other people's pain and vulnerabilities and to recognize when people are hurting or trying to hurt you. I ask that we have a forgiving and joyful heart toward one another and value our differences. Thank the Lord for making us all unique and therefore not redundant and sincerely needed. I mostly thank God that he gave us his son on Earth, born around Christmas, to give us the excuse to see each other, to patch old hurts and to strengthen our relationships over good food. Let our inner value outshine any of the tangible gifts that we receive. We are fearfully and fallibly invaluable.

<Imagine me singing a Christmas Carol>  Prayers and Blessings to you~

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What I did for respect.

I didn't keep quiet because I thought I deserved it. I didn't keep quiet because I thought you were "right". I didn't keep quiet because nothing happened. I didn't keep quiet to deny my truth.

I kept quiet out of respect for you. Knowing how much you have done for me. Knowing how you are also a hurting person. Knowing I didn't want to add to your pain and embarrassment. Knowing who I am... I was able to stay quiet.

If your name was tarnished- it wasn't because of me. I gave you the opportunity to squash my reputation in exchange for sparing your own. That's how I wanted it. I had a lot of life to live, and you had limited time. I didn't want to negate all of those efforts to reassure you of my love and that my caring for you was genuine.

To love you and to care about you was to allow you to hurt me. But don't be misled- you never took away from who I was or what I am worth. I guess I just learned younger than you what true love is. Love is letting the world think of your loved one better than how you know them. Love is celebrating the person you pray for them to be. Love loves without manipulation with the faith that the right things will come to pass.

I did all of that for you... until the day you died. I never let our worlds overlap to keep your reputation unscathed. To prove to you- that you never lost out when you purchased my soul. You made a life investment and future dividends. I now see that you loved me too. You loved me the only way you knew how. Lord have mercy...

In the end, I taught myself, as a child myself, how to sacrifice for my future children and my future family. I have no regrets. I wouldn't do it any other way. I was genuine. I was true. So as your birthday comes around the first time since your burial, I have a new found sense of peace. Out of my ashes, I see the person I always was and I never compromised in those ways. I learned how love is not a bandaid or an eraser- but a bridge where we can shoulder each other's secrets and pain.

Because of all that I can say- I love you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


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God is the foremost healer. But it is a fact that he works within and through us to do most of his will and work. God does not heal things where he is not welcomed or invited to heal. In the Bible, the sick first had to believe in Jesus and give credit to him (and God) for their healing to be complete. That being said, some people believe and want to be healed but are not sure how to ask for help. We can not take responsibility for people who are unwilling to become healed, but we should feel God's prodding to do what we can.

Something that is on my heart is how people chose to do nothing about something they can improve. Sometimes it's denial. Sometimes people simply don't have the perspective, or "sight" to see what is going on. But many people simply do nothing. They see struggling and yet do nothing to help. Perhaps they think they behold God's judgment and think that the hurting person doesn't deserve help.

With God, everyone deserves help despite what they have done. God believes that love is THE CURE and not "A CURE." Being a healer does not mean that you have to leave yourself exposed to damage. It takes discernment to know when to stand back from the healing role. There is wisdom in "hitting rock bottom." Healers don't need to go down with the ship. "Put your mask on (adults) before helping the children" is the common airline and sensible mantra.

I can't stand back and watch someone struggle alone. Like in step-parenting, if the step-parent needs support, biological parents (within reason) should do their best to create the bridge for the kids and the stepparent. There is no payoff to unnecessary family strife. Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).  There are very few relationships that profit from one sided benefit. And it's never just about the one conflict. The ripples reach into the future. I take partial responsibility for my daughter to learn respect for her step-parents. They are a provision of God. We shall not mock God's provision (like the Manna the Israelites had in the desert).

In the places you are most gifted, do what you can. Don't overestimate your "specialty." Many times, God will put you exactly where you should be to minister to the people he wants you to work with. Perhaps the exact struggles you are facing right now are the exact ones that he wants you to minister to others about in the future. God does not send you out into the world unprepared to do HIS work. Whether it's tomorrow's work, he will prepare you today exactly as much as you need to do well. Whether it's 10 years from now, he will prepare you for the years to come to be ready and in the vicinity of the people you are called to help.

There is no person so sodden that God cannot use. HE will find that one pure part of you and magnify it to his glory for you to do great things. With faith comes vision; to have eyes for the future and what you can do to bring some of the Kingdom of Heaven down to Earth. We don't deserve that which we have no desire to create. And yet, God still gives. I don't know anyone who can beat what God has to offer.

I have no explanation of why I don't feel depressed anymore. I don't remember the last time I felt depressed. There have been times that I've been sincerely troubled- in the midst of heavy things. But depression no longer penetrates my mind and spirit. The last time I was depressed was as a teenager. I can't explain why I don't gorge on food or drink to excess or consume lots of things that are not nourishing. I really don't struggle in those ways. And for that, I am truly blessed.

I feel God supplying my mind and spirit with the inspiration and thoughts that I need to do exactly what I am doing. My disinterest is perhaps also HIS disinterest for my life. I only reap where I am interested, focused, and activated. I ask for help. I show my vulnerability. I invoke God's power. And HE, always refreshes me and energizes me in the very same way every time I feel tired. The energy I get is not a generalized energy. It is a focused energy only for what I am purposed to do in this life. That's the only way I can understand it.

For me, when I love on and connect with my baby son- I KNOW it means something to my future generations and on that infinite time continuum. I dare to value things that I do not get paid for or are free. I'm not impervious to the world, but I do my best to stick to and return to my convictions in short cycles. It's the returns that make my spiritual commitment stronger.

I had a well meaning Facebook "friend" ask if I am part of a cult. And I understand that concern as many disastrous things have happened because of cults. But, in another sense, I am flattered that my messages are piercing through the soul-less static of our popular culture. When I'm singled out, the Lord stands behind me. So- I welcome that.

If you need to hear that you are loved- hear ME say it. If you need to hear that you are beautiful- hear ME say it. If you need to hear that your pain is significant and means something- hear ME say it. If you need to hear that you are NOT a lost cause- hear ME say it. I don't need to know the details. God says- we're all loved, beautiful, significant and one step from redemption!

My love to you all- atheists, agnostics and theists.

Orig. Posting: 12/5/13, updated 4//7/14

Here I am Again

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