Recovering from Life’s Trauma

Suffering from abuse causes devastation throughout our lifetime. We agonize over and grieve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual side-effects that putrefy our existence on every level. These issues can even cause complicated medical problems.

 

To hide our shame, we develop perfectionist practices to stay safe, and we have control issues in an attempt to prevent any further abuse. In order to feel normal and accepted, we dive into a codependent lifestyle, which robs us of our independence and autonomy.

 

We actually end up abusing our self further, because we are so busy serving others that we ignore and neglect our own needs. We look to others to meet our needs, but they are too busy or enveloped in their own life to help us.

 

If we attempt to share the secret of our abuse, most people, especially family, refuse to believe us. However, when we do share our secret – in spite of our fears of repercussions, we are no longer a victim, and our abuser loses his/her power over us.

 

Our subconscious mind will often invite physical illness as a way to eradicate the effects of our ordeal. Chemicals in our food, toiletries and environment also cause physical ailments; but at times, illness is a manifestation of the trauma and grief, which we carry from our past.

 

Stress, anxiety and perfectionism deplete our adrenal glands, which cause further physical, mental and emotional complications. Stopping this rat race enables us to prevent future physical, mental and emotional impediments.

 

It is important to realize that we are not damaged and flawed by our past. In Christ, we are a new creation. He takes our pain and our sins and nails them to Calvary’s cross. Now, we have new life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

Jesus’ completed work (Colossians 2:10) helps us to deny the past its control over our future. We start to count our blessings and feel gratitude for God’s provision in our spirit, body, and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions.

 

As we allow our self to actually feel our feelings, we can gain a new perspective on our past. Those events no longer define who we are (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20). Once we decide to break free from those chains of bondage, we can trust God’s Holy Spirit.

 

He gives us the victory over sin, sickness and destruction, which our former life forced on us. The key to full healing is to realize that we are no longer victims of our past. Jesus took our pain and sorrow, and nailed it on the cross with Him.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we know that You will take revenge on our perpetrators in Your own timing and way; and if we refuse to forgive them, we are only hurting our self. We do not want to live in poor health, because it only hinders our service to You. Therefore, we thank You for helping us to release our pain and trauma to You, and for allowing Jesus to set us free from the past (John 8:36), and to give us a promising future (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

As we garner the courage from You to face our past head on, we can admit that we were harmed and damaged. Then we can start on our healing journey to wholeness. Your love covers a multitude of sin that was forced on us by people who were supposed to protect us. Help us to forgive them, even though we can never excuse what they did to us, and to leave justice in Your capable hands.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we are drowning in grief from life’s trauma’s, it is better to allow our self to rise to the surface, rather than to panic and fight our way to the top; our healing is more available to us when we go ahead and accept the fact that even though we never received the admission of guilt from our abusers, God knows the truth and will bring retribution in His way and time.

 

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Spiritual Warfare in Our Relationships

Satan steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10). His purpose is to divide and conquer. If he can destroy marriages, he will also destroy the family and eventually the church. He declares war on the couple who realize that Jesus is our whole life and who attempt to serve God together (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

If he cannot stop us from serving God and contributing to the growth of God’s Kingdom, then he will use busyness, over-commitment at work or with our children’s activities, negative emotions, and even apathy to dissuade our spiritual focus and fervor.

 

If Satan can conquer a marriage, or our spiritual focus, he can destroy our testimony and use this poor example to dissuade others from coming to Christ. He divides us and conquers our influence in our world.

 

He will also stir up in us a dissatisfaction with our relationships with our spouse, our best friends and our church family. We end up critical, pharisaical, resentful, and eventually bitter (Matthew 23:4-12). We cannot find happiness, though we search for it.

 

The devil also uses human pride to exaggerate in our mind the importance of our opinions and beliefs. We fail to try to see things from someone else’s perspective, and we insist on our own way. We end up acting in hurtful ways rather than exhibiting the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

The truth, however, is that we are not obligated to pay any attention to the devil’s deception. In fact, if we develop a deeper intimacy with Christ in us, His strength within us will enable us to resist the devil until He flees from us (James 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, the only hope we have against submitting to the perfect storm of deception and temptation that Satan weaves into our lives is to walk in Your Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). As we draw near to You, You will give us wisdom and discernment that will expose the devil’s plans, as well as the spiritual strength to resist him until he flees from us (James 4:7).

 

We know without a doubt that Christ in us is stronger than the devil and his demons (1 John 4:4). We have seen You defeat him in our life time and again, and we trust that as we walk in obedience to You, that You will continue to set us free from his influence and interference in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Satan is the master of deception; he convinced many angels to rebel against God, Adam and Eve to disobey the one commandment that God gave them, and he makes sin seem pleasant to us, once he wears down our devotion to God; however, if we draw near to God and resist the devil, he has to flee from us. – James 4:7

 

 

Finding Our Balance

I am enthralled lately about patience’s perfect work in us (James 1:4). I used to say, “Don’t pray for patience, your life will get inundated with trials of every sort.” However, I recently learned to embrace patience in the little things, and I have had fewer major issues with which to deal.

 

You know the little things I am talking about…they happen every day, all day. Take waiting, for instance. I despise waiting. My husband always gets everywhere early and is never, ever just on time or late. Waiting is a big part of my life. You too?

 

The doctor always over-schedules his appointments and we rarely if ever get to see him/her on time. Grocery lines, backed-up traffic, hospital surgery waiting rooms, meetings to start, counseling appointments to show up, our prayer to be answered, scheduled deliveries, etc. often make us wait.

 

I used to give-in to impatience, and fuss and fume inside; however, our Father God showed me a secret. Rather than allowing the frustration of waiting to overpower me…

 

I can lean into it and embrace it.

 

When I feel impatience taking over my soul, I simply say, “Okay, I am going to let patience have her perfecting work in me”; and then I relax. Leaning into and embracing waiting is the same concept as leaning into the wind on a stormy day.

 

If we fight the occasion of waiting, we exhaust our self, like we do when we fight the wind. If we simply lean into the wind, we find our balance and relax.

 

We always have the choice to control our thoughts and change them from negative to positive ones (Philippians 4:8). When we lean into the wait and allow patience to have her perfecting work in us, we feel calm pour over us, and a deep breath escapes our lungs as we relax.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for showing us that when we allow impatience to rule in our life, it makes us grouchy, spoils our witness, and hurts other people needlessly. The great fact about patience doing her perfect work in us is that we also have more love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Teach us to feel patience toward our foibles and idiosyncrasies, to accept other people just the way they are and to love them with Your agape love, to find Your joy in every situation as we trust only in You (James 1:2-3), and to enjoy the journey as Your Holy Spirit gives us the mind and nature of Jesus to replace our carnality. We can never thank You enough for Your love and grace.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we think life is finally manageable, trials strike and we tend to feel overwhelmed; but if we lean into the trial and relax, we can look forward to being whole, complete and in need of nothing as patience produces her enduring work in us. – James 1:3-4

Trusting in the Lord

Walking in the center of God’s will keeps us within His safe parameters for our life. We find joy and peace even when we encounter trials. When we change our focus, we step into God’s peace that has nothing to do with our circumstances (Philippians 4:7).

 

Regardless of the amount of time and effort that we put into our perfect plans, they tend to end up in frustrating chaos and broken hearts. It is only as we seek God for His plans for our day that He will determine our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

 

Our time and effort is much more productive when we walk according to the direction of God’s Holy Spirit. We may experience setbacks and roadblocks even then, but we know that Satan is attempting to hinder us, and God will get the ultimate glory.

 

We trust in Him with our whole heart, at all times, even when His directions make no sense to our human understanding. This mindset prevents worry, anxiety and fear. We know that nothing will snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28-30).

 

Hiding under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91:1-2), allows us to enjoy the safety of resting in Him. We do everything, even down to the tiny particulars of life, for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we do not know what to do in any situation, we wait on the Lord.

 

We do not force the issue or make a decision without God’s complete peace ruling in our heart (James 1:5-6; Colossians 3:15). God is not in a hurry, so we can take our time and make sure that we hear from Him. God teaches us and shows us the way under His watchful care (Psalm 32:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we do not want to waste our time by pursuing our own goals (Proverbs 28:6) – building our paneled homes, while Your House lies in disrepair (Haggai 1:4). Help us to focus on Your will and not on our own plans. As we delight in You, You will give us Your desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). We can never thank You enough for answering our prayers.

 

You heal our diseases, provide us with Your presence in our life, and keep us safely sheltered under Your wings. You work out even the most horrific circumstances for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), and we can trust in Your benevolence and justice not only for us, but for generations of our descendants as we serve You wholeheartedly with our life (Exodus 20:6).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we trust in the Lord (Psalm 20:7), He …

Never forsakes us (Psalm 9:10),

Showers us with His unfailing love (Psalm 13:5),

Remains as our God (Psalm 31:14),

Calms all of our fears (Psalm 56:3),

Blesses us beyond comparison (Psalm 84:12),

Makes our paths level and straight (Proverbs 3:6),

Gives us courage as His own children (Isaiah 43:1),

Delivers us from troubles (Daniel 6:23),

Comforts our heart (John 14:1), and

Fills us with joy and hope by the power of His Spirit (Romans 15:13).

 

A Good Marriage – Growing Together

The busyness, stress, expectations, demands, and requirements from every direction in life often rob us of intimacy in our marriage. We take each other for granted, making little effort to communicate and have fun together, and the relationship suffers.

 

Nourishing each other is as important as keeping our car tuned up, our garden watered, and our porch free of ice. If we do not tend to these matters, someone gets hurt; but when we realize our mistake, we can make the effort to draw back toward each other.

 

Togetherness is vitally important: Watching a special movie or an important football game together, eating together at the table without the TV and conversing about the day and our concerns and triumphs, taking a stroll through the neighborhood, sitting on the porch to watch the sunset, grocery shopping, ministering in the same ministry, sharing a date night, riding bikes, enjoying leisurely vacations, finding a show on TV that we will both enjoy, etc.

 

Committing to our marriage covenant and to sharing our life with one another helps to strengthen our connection. We prefer one another in areas in which we differ, taking turns to make the plans and sharing these moments together.

 

The most important commitment, however, is our passion for the Kingdom of God and being continually led by His Spirit. As a couple, we can read the same books and talk about what inspires us, discuss interesting Bible verses that we read in our devotion time, minister together in our community, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to hear Your Spirit’s direction before we marry anyone. We know that this is not a guarantee that we will not end up being divorced, but You will see us through any tragedy and meet all of our needs. If we look to our spouse to fulfill us, we end up disillusioned and disappointed.

 

Teach us not to allow busyness to rob us of our intimacy, and to make plans to have fun together as we grow together in our union and love for each other. Remind us to seek You and Your Kingdom together and to share in each other’s life. As we make You our first priority, we learn to make our spouse our second priority, and we allow everything else to fit in place behind these two vital relationships.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we share in each other’s interests, we double our exposure to potential enjoyment as we cement our love for one another, because starting all over again in another relationship disposes of our shared history, disrupts the lives of our whole family, has the potential to ruin us financially, robs us of our roots, and opens the door for more unhappiness with this new person.

 

 

God’s Principles – Physical Health

The Word of God is full of advice on how to live a healthy life -mentally, emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually (3 John 1:2). If we ferret them out of the chapters and verses, we find amazing truth by which to live our life (Proverbs 4:22).

 

When we are sick, God’s Word advises us to ask the church leadership to anoint us with oil and to pray for us. It takes humility and courage to walk down that aisle and request prayer, but the prayer of faith brings true results in forgiveness and healing (James 5:14-15).

 

It has been said that in ancient time, when a sheep repeatedly wandered away from the flock, the shepherd broke the wayward one’s leg, put it on his own shoulders, and carried it back to the safety of the flock.

 

Sometimes, God has to do this to us too. In order to protect us from harm, trials and destruction, He often wounds us, but does not break us; He injures us, but heals us with those same hands (Job 5:18).

 

When we abide in the Kingdom of God, healing takes place (Luke 10:9). If we wait on the Lord, our Great Physician gives us wisdom by His Spirit about what we can do to facilitate the healing process, as He teaches us to alter our lifestyle to encourage health.

As the Lord, our healer, God protects us from the diseases rampant in this life as we diligently listen to His voice, obey His directives, and keep His commandments and laws (Exodus 15:26). He brings glory to Himself and joy and peace to us by these miraculous healings (John 9:2).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we know that physical healing is not guaranteed in Jesus’ atoning work on Calvary’s cross; yet, You often heal people of their diseases. However, at times, we bring the illness on our self. We ignore conventional wisdom on what to eat and drink, how to incorporate exercise into our busy day, and how to avoid or to cleanse our life of environmental toxins that pervade our country.

 

We know that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1), and that You delight in the death of Your Saints (Psalm 116:15). As humans we view death as a devastating ending of our life; but as authentic Christians, You guarantee us eternal life both now and throughout eternity. We look forward to worshiping You forever, and we bless Your Holy name.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus healed many sick people during His lifetime (Matthew 12:13-15, 14:14, 14:36), and He is still in the healing business today; some say that if we die, it is because we were not healed; however, when we pass through death, we receive our ultimate healing as we enter our true eternal life and are healed forever.

Mindfulness in the Moment

Many people are so mindful about meeting everyone else’s needs that they ignore their own needs. This behavior diminishes our physical health, ruins our soul’s condition by entertaining resentment and/or anger and eventually bitterness, and taints our spiritual discernment.

 

Due to these intense negative feelings, we slip into compulsive, neurotic behavior without even being aware of why we are acting this way. We end up unloading all of that negative emotion on the people we care about the most.

 

If not arrested, this negative spiral will turn into a tornado of thoughts that feed attitudes, which fuel behavior in ways that make no sense to us at all. These thoughts are usually halfway concocted from our personal insecurities, and the other half come from Satan’s lies.

 

We form bad habits to protect our soul from hurt, afraid to trust anyone too much, skeptical and cynical of other people. Experts tell us that habits can be changed within a three week period.

 

We make a concentrated effort to do the opposite of what we have always done. We are mindful now of our own needs in each moment of the day. When we trip up and resort to our prior behavior, then we admit our mistake, apologize and try again.

 

Caring for our own needs, rather than expecting someone else to meet them, will save us from destroying our relationships and our own health. We can start by doing one kind action for our self each day; then we increase the amount of our self-care from there.

 

When we experience the multitude of ways that God starts to meet our needs, from the moment we make the commitment not to put unnecessary expectations on others, we will feel a deep sense of joy from His obvious love and care for us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we often have discouragement from Satan when we purpose in our heart to change our negative behavior to more constructive conduct. Remind us that in our times of vulnerability, we can pray, journal or talk to a confidante about our true feelings. Help us to realize that it is not fair or righteous to expect others to meet our needs, and we can trust that You want what is best for us.

 

Sometimes, what is best will make us sad, until we come to see that You meant it for our good (Genesis 50:20). We trust You, and praise You for Your involvement in our personal, individual life. Remind us to trust in Your goodness and to believe that You have our best interest in Your plans. You never leave or forsake us, and we give You all of the glory and praise for who we are, what we have and where we are going.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-care is such a foreign topic in Christian circles, because God’s Word encourages us to die to our self and to put others first; both of these facts are true, but they do not negate our need to meet our own legitimate needs as well, rather than expecting others to do so. – John 5:17