More to say about thinking. October 17, 2021

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I can hear someone saying, if he was with you why wasn’t God with me when I was being traumatized?

He was, but there are a few things that make a difference.

I had elderly relatives who knew the situation, at least partially, and were talking to God about me every day. They were also loving on me and telling me about God every chance they had, which wasn’t often. I knew about him and knew to look for him in the room I’d run to in my mind. Escape from the horror.

On top of that, though my parents were running away from God he was still a topic in our home. Dad’s family was Roman Catholic and church attendance was an important and significant part of their family life. Before they were married Mom had to promise the kids would be raised Catholic.

Mom’s parents were Protestant and Grandpa was a pastor. There was angst in our home due to mom’s guilt over living a lifestyle that was heart breaking to her parents.

We never did go to church anywhere and the three of us kids were sent to public school.

I was always a super sensitive kid. Without God I probably would not have survived.

God is with all of us, always, but if we aren’t aware he exists we wouldn’t know to look for him.

God didn’t keep bad things from happening to me but I know he kept things from being much worse than they could have been.

After my third child was born Mom got back together with God. One day she shared with me about looking back over the days of her rebelliousness (oh yes, she was rebellious.) Even though she did whatever she wanted, God was still looking out for her. She could see many places in her life where he had rescued her.

As healthy parents, we never stop loving our kids (at least most of us don’t) no matter how how badly they behave.

God wants a big family and he is aware of every single child that is conceived. He loves them all. That’s mind blowing.

He’s been with you every single day, even if you don’t know it.

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I’ve been thinking October 17, 2021

I’ve had this post in mind for two days now but it was on forgiveness, a comment yesterday changed my trajectory.

The observation was that I love books but people?… not so much.

At first I agreed with that assessment. It’s true I do have deep trust issues and live a solitary life on a day to day basis.

This morning I woke up feeling an overwhelming love for people. This is not uncommon. I’ve experienced this most of my life.

This last while, I’ve been troubled, not able to identify how both could be true, trust and distrust. Especially when it came to men. My dad was abusive. I have two brothers, they were abused. I hated my dad but loved my brothers? Is that what’s behind it? It doesn’t seem to fit but if not that, then what?

Take for example, my neighbor: I’ve shared with her some of my story. She has first hand knowledge of my struggle with trust issues and triggers. I’ve accepted her event invitations and cancelled at the last minute because I knew men would be there and I couldn’t make myself go. And yet… if we were standing in her drive way with her husband and he cracked a joke I was relaxed enough to laugh. I could tell by her body language that she was not happy and was now doubting my story. Which is true? The uptight or the relaxed?

So, how can I love and not love at the same time?

This morning I’m reminded, a survival tool for the severally abused is compartmentalization.

When I’m conscious of me and what I’m feeling, and people get too close – triggers happen, I’m reacting and not liking it.

When I forget about me entirely and my focus is completely on the other person, I feel empathy and love. I’m open and relaxed.

Where does all of this come from?

This morning I’m recognizing, it’s coming from my inner circle, the place where only three humans have ever been, or should have been. It would be truer to say they should have been there but all three chose to live outside of it, emotionally unavailable to me. One of them chose to visit the inner circle occasionally but only physically and in an abusive way.

Now, when I struggle with relating to people as the focus is directed toward me, I’m realizing it’s the result of the trauma inflicted on me by three. That’s one compartment.

There is another compartment where God shows up in the inner circle. This was my place of refuge in traumatic times. God was always there and has continued to be there, emotionally available to me my whole life.

This is how I can love and not love at the same time.

Wherever possible, I choose to love with the love I’ve experienced with God in the second compartment.

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The original thought for this post was – How could I be forgiving?

That’s a big question and I still want to share my story. Soon, maybe.

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The kernel of a thought October 12, 2021

Just start talking. That’s what I have to do tonight. Once again I do not have a post in mind.

I’m going to keep it short because I need sleep to be able to function tomorrow. I know if I don’t use restraint this could easily end up being really long, leaving me with a very short night.

This whole subject has been on my mind for a long time but it’s complex and not necessarily easily understood, especially when spoken about briefly. I think it would take a book for me to say everything I need to say on this subject.

I don’t even know how to begin and it’s already been a half hour. I think slow, trying to get it right enough to make sense, and I write even slower.

I’ll try to express the kernel of it in a sentence or two and expand on it another time. Or even more likely, it will take many times to get it all out.

I love God deeply, and at the same time I feel loved by him. We have loved each other for a very long time.

It’s killing me not to expand on this but I know I have to go.

In the meantime…

I love looking at the mountains, they remind me – our help comes from the creator, of heaven and earth. And what a creator he is.

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Until tomorrow.

Free and bargain books September 05, 2021

BookBub has a bargain suggestion. Researching this book I found I’ve read the series collection books 1-5 already. Looking into it further I found books 1 and 2 are either free or bargain as well as book 3. With that in mind I’ll list all three. It’s too bad the box set is full price now but these three are a good deal. Although 5 books for $10.00 is not bad either.

Wisdom to Know (Grant Us Grace Book 1)

A rebellious pastor’s daughter.A best friend who loves her faithfully from the sidelines.But is there sin that love can’t cover?

Kevin McGregor heard God tell him that Lydia Brown was the woman he would marry. But that was ten years ago. And watching her take every turn down the road away from him and her faith is slow torture.

Lydia Brown has taken just about every wrong turn she could find. When an abortion leaves her overwhelmed by guilt, she turns to drugs to escape her pain. Landing at rock bottom, Lydia is forced to reevaluate her choices.

In the depth of her downward spiral, Kevin desperately tries to convince himself – and God – that loving Lydia is a mistake. Will Lydia embrace a new start, including feelings for Kevin she’d never acknowledged until now? Or will the sins of her past keep them apart?

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Courage to Change (Grant Us Grace Book 2)

He’s a lawyer who’s determined never to love again. But his coworker refuses to get the memo.

When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife Brandi divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians should never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.

Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.

As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, both must reevaluate their convictions. But when Brandi discovers Phil’s new relationship, she decides that though she doesn’t want him, no one else can have him either. Can Phil and Allison’s love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives?

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Serenity to Accept (Grant Us Grace Book 3)

An emotionally scarred nurse falls for the handsome new doctor. But his deep love for Jesus is a bigger roadblock to love than either of them anticipated.

Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia.

After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him.

As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other. Serenity to Accept is the third book in the 5-book contemporary Christian romance Grant Us Grace series. Set in the greater Washington D.C. area, the Grant Us Grace books provide thought-provoking spiritual threads wrapped up in swoonworthy romance.

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After a bit of a refresher I can remember reading this series.

There is another suggestion I’m checking out. If it turns out to be something interesting I’ll share it in another post.

In the meantime…

Happy Reading

I love this awesome harmony. September 24, 2021

Mark Lowry is the author of Mary Did You Know , has had a long and popular singing career. He has an off-the-cuff let’s-sing show from his home “studio”, it’s on his YouTube channel and many other platforms. Tonight his special guests have just released a new project. The group’s name is SouthBound and the album is SouthBound.Live.

This in an impromptu concert and many people, including me, are loving it.

I enjoy this so much I must share. These energetic guys are singing many of the songs off their new project. I have to have this.

Mark has just hit a million subscribers on Facebook and he loves reminding us. Everyone of them love him too.

The upbeat songs in this concert touch hurting hearts in the most amazing way.

Enjoy.

I am enjoying for the second time tonight 🙂

This and that September 10, 2021

A little of this and a little of that, again tonight… just because I feel like it.

My daughter asked me to check through family pictures this afternoon, she was in need of photos taken with a particular family member. It needed a big chunk of time to find anything after this many years.

I did find a few that fit her needs. But that’s not all I found. There was one I’ve been thinking of lately that always makes me smile. I think it represents my personality fairly well.

I would never have dreamed of taking such a picture but my son-in-law thought it was a great idea. Since I was oblivious to what he was up too, I couldn’t even change to a more lady-like position.

Fine tuning the stove installation.

I have no idea, anymore, what precisely was going on but whatever it was I was the only one small enough to reach. Now that it’s been awhile, this is one of my favorite pictures. Yup, that’s me, climbing on things.

So, this brings me to another favorite picture and I think it kind of goes with my picture. We are like two peas in a pod when it comes to one or two things. That’s my assessment anyway.

We were looking for evidence of her visit a few months after I moved here to Manitoba, back in 2013. At least I was looking through photos. My daughter is already in British Columbia ready for the memorial service tomorrow and needing memories.

Mabel aka Granny, was amazing. Facebook, Face time, emails, messages, all that good stuff right up until the end. This was 85 years young at the time.

Checking Facebook with her morning cup of tea.
Making memories with three of her many great-grandsons
Trusty stylus in hand, emailing someone in the family.

This is my favorite picture of her. The pose says it all.

My next favorite thing in this picture is the stuffed snowman on the hearth. It’s a wind up music box. It plays “Cold as Ice” while it swings around. Makes me laugh every time. I have no idea why I think it’s so funny but after a dozen years I still think it’s hilarious.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love my mother-in-law like a mother/friend. I’ve been separated from her step-son for 17 years and in spite of it all, she understands and the two of us are still close. She has room in her heart for all of us and I appreciate it more than I can tell. Not everyone can love without choosing sides. Actually, the whole family is good at loving this way. I feel truly blessed.

♥♥♥♥♥

Rest in Peace Mabel. You are a special lady and we all love you.

I can be at peace with her passing because I know I will see her again. Sooner than I might wish, the way time flies by.

My last email to her ended with the chorus from an old Rusty Goodman song about heaven.

Look for me, for I will be there too
I realize, when you arrive, there’ll be so much to view
After you’ve been there ten thousand years, a million, maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too

As promised: This Present Darkness

In my story prompt post this morning I promised to say more about a book mentioned in that piece.

The prompt was angels and I shared a book read many years ago – and never forgotten – where angels, both good and evil, were doing battle in the heavenlies.

Just to make things a little clearer as we go along, I do believe in angels.

This Present Darkness

Amazon quote:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

After the film in her camera is mysteriously destroyed at a small-town festival, reporter Bernice Kreuger knows she’s found something worth covering up. She brings the investigation to her boss, Marshall Hogan. Along with the local pastor of a struggling church, Hank Busch, they find something much bigger than they expected—a demonic plot to enslave their town and, eventually, the world.

The tiny college town of Ashton becomes the unlikely battleground in a cosmic clash between good and evil. Unseen by the human protagonists, armies of angels and demons wage war against one another in the spiritual realm for the souls of the people of Ashton. Up against supernatural forces, the future of the town seems bleak – but the power of prayer might be able to influence the outcome of the fight.

This fast-paced thriller birthed an entirely new genre, setting the standard for spiritual suspense. It has since sold over 2 million copies worldwide, sparking a renewed interest in the concept of spiritual warfare.

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I do believe in God, and his angels- both good and evil. I think a book like this helps us, in a small way, to understand we are not alone in this world. And someone bigger than us is in charge.

I find it comforting that God is a living, relational being, and if we put time and effort into getting to know him he will become as close to us as our very best friend.

One more comforting thing: he has the heart of a father. He never forgets; not even one of his children. That means every single person on the face of the earth, whether we acknowledge him or not.

This whole thought of the fatherhood of God is a discussion for another day but think about it – no matter how good or bad the behavior of a child, does a parent ever forget and stop loving them?

I’ve noticed the answer to that question is no. In an interview, I’ve heard a broken-hearted mother say of her bomber son… but he’s my son, I still love him.

God loving us has nothing whatever to do with our belief.

I’m a mom, I know about these things. … my kids are my kids no matter what.

I’m grateful that God loves us, and he commands his angels to watch out for us whether we love him back or not.

If we resist his love, that can make protecting us a challenge for him. (think of a rebellious toddler and you will know exactly what I mean here.) Any way, another discussion for another day.

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I wasn’t planning on any of this but maybe someone’s heart needed to hear it.

Happy book Reading.

Story prompt – Angel

This story prompt is courtesy of Sunday Scribblings

Be an angel and bring me a coffee, will ya.

Thanks, you’re an angel.

It looks like angel is a word we use flippantly, much like the word love. In most cases the way we use it doesn’t really mean anything of any significance.

Wouldn’t we be shocked if there actually was such a thing as an angel?

Some of us must think they are real. There are movies, TV shows, sermons preached, and even books written about angels. With a little research into the ways they are portrayed I can tell I’m behind the times. I didn’t know there was a spin off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer called Angel. I wasn’t into a lot of TV back then and it looks like I was missing out.

There were other angel shows and movies I did notice, though, (Touched by an Angel, Twice in a Lifetime, Angels in the Outfield to name a few) and I have to say I enjoyed them immensely.

Then there are books, maybe movies too, where there are angels of both stripes, both good and evil, doing battle in heavenly places. This Present Darkness: A Novel by Frank Peretti is one of them.

Speaking of evil and angels, there is one story I’ve never been able to forget.

It happened in a primitive foreign country many years ago. A team of nurses and their helpers were accosted one night. They heard the war cry of a band of men who wanted to rob, torture, and kill them. They were terrified. Inexplicably, the band of men stopped, looked, and fled. They were faced with a circle of giants standing guard around the nurse’s compound.

It sounds hard to believe but I’ve heard stories similar to this more than once through the decades. Different time, different place, same story. I love to think that someone bigger than me could send his angel armies to protect me in drastic circumstances.

Again, we bandy about the idea of a guardian angel as liberally as we do the terms angel and love.

What if we really do have a guardian angel watching out for us?

If it is true, just think what life could have been like without them, without someone catching us all those times we should have crashed and burned.

I can think of a few times I should have crashed and burned but didn’t and I’m grateful beyond words.

There is a verse in the Bible …

Psalm 91 verse 11, it says “He shall give His angels charge over you. To keep you in all your ways

I believe and I’m grateful for my guardian angel.

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I couldn’t have planned it better. One of my daily emails had a book suggestion with a reference to angels. This saved me from having to find a picture for this post. I was having trouble finding one to do justice to my guardian angel. I will use this book cover to dress up the post instead.

I’m not sure how the angel angle works out in the Dead Man’s Journey story, not having read beyond the first few pages, but as the character in the opening paragraphs prepares to go for a run he senses an angel presence. Guardian angel.

On further thought: there is another book where I know for sure angels, both good and evil, are part of the story. Frank Peretti has written many books involving heavenly beings and this is one of them. This Present Darkness.

I’ll use a separate post to share more about this book.

They say the veil is thin between this world and the next. I believe that is true. We are not alone on our journey. God and his angels are looking out for us, more than we realize.

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I hope you like the books.

A helpful resource – professional counselling in book form

The level of professional counselling we need is sometimes not easily found. That was the case for me a decade or two ago and this book was a life saver. It was written as a joint effort by the Minirth/Meir group, both of them psychiatrists, joined by a third person, a psychologist.

The book starts off talking about codependency. That’s not the way I remember it from my first reading. It’s funny how that goes. The parts I remember are the ones explaining what happened to me, how it has affected me, and the broken way I do life as a result. Understanding opened many life changing doors in my thinking.

Of all of the many books I’ve read this one was the most comprehensive and impacting. It was written to be a counselor to those without access to one. It covers the subject well enough to be a textbook written in layman’s terms.

I’ve shared this book here before but feel inspired to share it again.

I was speaking with a long time friend today, catching up on our lives and families. Stuff happens in our families and sometimes there is brokenness left undiscovered for decades.

I’ve been thinking about our conversation for most of the day and tonight remembered about this book that could be helpful in their situation. So, this is for my friend, to share as she sees fit.

It’s for you too (as reader) if this would be helpful in your life.

One more comment. I remember interpreting the title and certain phrases in the synopsis in a negative way.

Reality was nothing like my expectations. Supportive, kind, understanding, helpful; these are all words I would use to describe the experience. And, validation.

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Love Is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships

Amazon quote:

Let go of unhealthy relationships with the book that more than 850K people have trusted.

Best-selling doctors, Hemfelt, Minirth, and Meier, walk you through their ten proven stages to recovery from codependency that results from external circumstances.

Humans are susceptible to codependency because of our sinful tendency to use defense mechanisms to fool ourselves. In codependent relationships, deceitful games are played, and important Christian principles are often taken out of context and abused.

God wants us to have healthy relationships with a balance between being dependent and independent. The doctors describe how the most effective means of overcoming codependent relationships is to establish or deepen a relationship with Christ Himself.

They describe the causes of codependency, pointing out the factors that perpetuate it, and lead readers through their ten stages of recovery.

Continue a deeper study with the Love Is a Choice workbook, available separately.

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Read this prayerfully with a surrendered heart and mind. I say this because our defense mechanisms can have us locked up so tight that helpful thoughts cannot penetrate the armor we have going on. Work on wanting to know. Work on believing there is hope, and that you are worth so much more than what you’ve been told.

So much wisdom, so much empathy

This is a deeply touching interview filled with wisdom, understanding and empathy. And hope. So much hope. I have to share.

I hope you find it as comforting as I did. In these difficult days we need to hear voices filled with wisdom and hope.

Rick Warren has experienced unbelievable pain. Toward the end of the video he shares what it was like to live through it. He puts heavy emphasis on living through it.

This interview is posted by a gifted podcaster Carey Nieuwhof. He knows how to ask questions that will mine the depths and bring out the best in his guests. Always a blessing to the listener.

May you feel as blessed as I do right now.