Category Archives: Deep Healing Series 2018

TGIF…and that’s a wrap <3

They say the Christian walk is a marathon not a sprint and if you have hung with me through this series, I am hearing a rousing AMEN!! coming through the atmosphere.

I have called you to go deeper still into the wounds and the healing.

It’s a common theme out there, I have noticed …must be a lot of hurting people who are desiring to heal well.

I just got a devotion in my email this past week that had this quote from Andy Stanley about grace and how it relates to our topic Deep Healing….

Grace.    

It’s what I crave most when my guilt is exposed. The very thing I’m hesitant to extend when I’m confronted with the guilt of others — especially when their guilt has robbed me of something I consider valuable.   Faithgateway.com    The Story of Grace    Andy Stanley             Feb. 6, 2017

It’s what we have been talking about, isn’t it?

Forgiveness..receiving mercy and grace…extending mercy and grace…the cycle that we work through as God heals us down in the depths of our pain and loss.

We can trust Him when we can’t trust others or even ourselves.

I want to close this series with a beautiful quote I got from A. W. Tozer’s book Tozer on the Almighty God.

He uses a quote from Rev. Dr. Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) who would cry out in “serious and painful trials”…

“Praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace”

Tozer expounds on these for the devotionals that cover October 14, 15 and 16 in this book.

He speaks of how the hammer is a useful tool, but the nail must view it as harsh and cruel.

Strike after strife falls upon the nail as forceful blows drive it deeper into the surface.

He describes the nail’s view of the hammer to be “…an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place.”

He acknowledges that while that is an apt description of the hammer….

“The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are the servants of the same workman. Let the nail remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear. The carpenter decides whose head shall be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating. That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future it will yield to the hammer without complaint.”

Harsh language, and it goes without saying…but I WILL say it…this is not saying if someone is being physically or emotionally abused they must submit to the abuser!

This is saying that life//other’s sinful choices/our own errors in judgment will bring about times when we feel beat up…defeated…crushed.

And our first inclination will be to curse the circumstances and fight back or give up or give in to our human natures and the world’s systems of dealing with pain.

But as children of the Most High God…there is a better way.

Part of our inheritance is the gift of being one of His own and entitles us to surrender to the Creator who made us and sustains us in the MIDST of it all.

Our loving Father  is well aware of the pain we are enduring and yes, could have stopped the source, but for some reason unknown to us…He has allowed it.

And to acknowledge this is to comply with the hammer because we know it is simply the servant of the Master…as are we <3

And so we lift up to Him our brokenness and our sorrows, our grief and our pain, our sense of loss and our loss of joy…to God, who is Sovereign over us, over them, over yesterday, today and tomorrow.

To ask Him to show us how to move toward healing…and to be obedient to His directions as we simultaneously kneel before Him, lean on Him and yield to Him.

It has been a special blessing for me to walk through some of my stuff with you these past few days.

You all make wonderful travel companions on the Journey…

Have a blessed weekend and I’ll see you on Monday <3

 

Well when you explain it like that, even I can get it <3

So did you meditate and ponder the Scripture from yesterday?

Here is is again…

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Or perhaps this version is more helpful…

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way –  never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structured life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.    2 Corinthians 10:3-6   The Message

Ok…now I just wish we really were sitting across from each other with plenty of hot coffee and time enough to really dig into this.

But we can’t so…

just grab your favorite beverage and imagine me waving my hands in the air instead of tapping out these words and here are few musings to start us off.

First look at the language describing how our thought lives can lead us astray:

arguments…high-minded things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God…strongholds….tools of the world…manipulation…marketing…warped philosophies…barriers erected against the truth of God…loose thoughts…loose emotions…loose impulses…obstructions

Next observe the expressions applied to their removal…

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So let’s take one of my examples from yesterday and work it through here.

For the sake of illustration I will set the stage with a scenario.

I find myself feeling particularly down around 3:00 in the afternoon as I stumble across a reminder that triggers a new wave of sadness. In an effort to shake it off, I do some mindless checking of email which leads me to a visit to Facebook and there I see some happy somebody celebrating some event that just enhances my sense of loss. I begin to ask God why I can’t be them and then immediately feel remorse because I realize all the wonderful things I do have and why can’t I just be happy…which leads me to think of several uber positive friends I have who somehow take life in stride so much better and no wonder God is blessing them and I don’t deserve anything good anyway and so … more tears…more guilt…

Ok…hopefully that is general enough that you can plug yourself in there.

Maybe it’s you are sitting at your desk at work and starting to assume what the powers that be think of your value.

Maybe you are sitting in a gym and your child has been riding the same bench you rode twenty some years ago and it’s getting old.

Maybe the house didn’t sell or the stocks dropped or the test results were positive or…whatever…and suddenly your head is filled with all manner of thoughts that are stacking themselves up against God and Truth and He is getting smaller and His plan for you is diminishing and the more He shrinks the bigger the lies grow.

And you don’t realize it but you have exalted your thoughts above your God.

I recently listened to a random sermon  as I was driving south to meet Sarah for lunch and antiquing a few weeks ago.

Only God would provide me with this wonderful picture as I was brewing this series in my mind.

Matt Cassidy, from Grace Covenant in Austin, Texas, gave a perfect illustration of this passage.

He said that we have a tendency to invite thoughts that are counter to God’s truth in to our homes. We basically welcome them in like an honored guest and offer them a cold drink and the best seat in the house.

When what we should be doing is to handcuff  them, put a restraining vest around them and tie them to a hard back chair.

Look again at what we are to do with those thoughts…aggressive, violent words.

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So don’t let just any thought occupy your mind today.

If you are feeling trapped by your emotions, look at your thought life.

Is it leading you toward Christ or away from Him?

Any thought that leads you away from what He says in His Word is a liar.

Lock. It. Up.

Philippians 4: 8-9 tells us how we can identify the things our minds should be camping on as we journey…

Is what I am thinking really the truth?

Is this thought noble?

Is it reputable and authentic? Is there fact to back it up, or just my embellished narrative?

Is it a gracious thought…towards me or towards others?

Is it beautiful? Is it worthy of my praise of God?

Is it the best thought I could be spending my energy developing?

If not…just imagine escorting it to that time-out chair in the corner reserved for misbehavior.

And if you think you don’t have that kind of imagination…you were the one that developed the thought to the point that it’s tearing your world apart. Think about it..

Take some duct tape and strap it down…and use a little across it’s boasting mouth for good measure.

And then take yourself to some truths you can sing or say out loud and let the peace of Christ RULE your heart and your mind.

God bless you today as you visualize thoughts you need to kick to the curb.

May the LORD bless us with wisdom and discernment to begin to grow up into right thinking about ourselves, our circumstances and others because we are thinking right about our God!

 

 

 

Corralling those wild thoughts <3

We have moved to Page 2 and Item #3 of my brainstorming notes.

Which means we are a few points away from the conclusion of this series.

I would say it has been a good one…at least for me…and I know for some of you as well.

You have been troopers as I stomped on your toes with my own bandaged feet and I love you for it.

So today we tackle that battle of the mind that rages on even the best of days but can really throw a damper on the healing process.

As I look at my notes and my to do list before I leave for work (via the post office with a hefty stack of assorted mail that needs to be metered and paid for) and the clock…I have made an executive decision to forego well-written paragraphs and just give you the bullet points from my legal pad for this section.

You in?

Good

I am writing from my experience because not everyone is like me (can we all just shout hallelujah and high-five Jesus for that???)

So again, if you don’t relate to my wiring, maybe it will help you understand someone who is a hypersensitive, over-thinking, neurotically analyzing of every detail person such as yours truly.

Oh…you stayed…great…well, here we go…

1. It is imperative to corral my emotions when something shakes me deeply. Since I am pretty much the worst poker face person, I don’t fake “fine” very well. I am never the person, even on the BEST.DAY.EVER who answers “How are you?” with ….wait for it…and enthusiastic

GRRRRREEEEEAAAAATTTTTTTT!!!!!

I’m one of those who actually tells you how I am, in a thousand words or less.

So when I am experiencing a season of deep sorrow, I find it helpful to remember that I don’t have to share the details of what is going on with every single person or even one single person.

I can just say I’m doing okay and if they press me further with that concerned look and dreaded “Are you sure?”, I am not fibbing when I say Yep…I’m sure.

Because by faith, I am doing OK.

I am upright and breathing and God is doing a work in me.

I am passing through the waters and He is holding me up so I don’t drown. I am passing through the fire and it’s hotter than hell, but my clothes are not even going to smell like smoke.

That’s Isaiah 43:2 if you don’t recognize it.

So yes, by God’s grace and mercy. I am OK.

2. I also absolutely MUST put the kibosh on comparison.

Looking around at what others have never ever helps with the work God is doing in M.E.

This also means steering clear of social media on my more fragile days.

And I will speak into this to others here…if seeing sweethearts happily declaring their love on Valentine’s Day sends you into depression or a barren womb means those lovely tributes to Mothers and Fathers mid-May/June burn hot tears on your face or your family is scattered to the four winds and the “This is Us” pics of happy Thanksgiving gatherings is a slap in the face…YOU are the one who controls checking Facebook and Instagram. 

3. And finally this one I mentioned yesterday, but thoughts of how this friend or that person would do this grieving and healing so much better than I am.

So there’s my big three areas of thought life that I have to reign in so God can get me back in the land of the living.

And the only way to do it is to take those spinning and spiraling thoughts under control.

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Like you I always find this passage encouraging but difficult to apply.

So let’s meditate on it a bit and meet back here tomorrow for some practical application.

Deal?

I hope so.

 

 

The long road that leads to the end of ourselves <3

The handful of comments I have received from this series – whether typed or spoken to me in passing – have got me swelled up with tears so often.

Satan likes to wield what’s known in the boxing world as a sucker punch.

And even when we are purposely wearing God’s armor, that blow can knock the wind out of us as it slams up against that shield of faith.

The armor is divine but the warrior wearing it is 100% human and we can reel and stagger when the enemy roars hard in our life.

But if, in the midst of recovery, we can gather enough breath to ask God this one prayer…

Lord, don’t waste an ounce of this season….

this is a prayer He delights to answer.

If you will fight the good fight through the ups and downs of your very human reactions and responses….through your fits and through your rants…through your breakdowns and your meltdowns…through the surrender and the temptation to retaliate…God will work in ways that not only bless you but make you a blessing to others.

But you sure don’t feel like it a lot of days.

Because as I stated yesterday and will declare til the day I am standing perfected BY HIM…before Him…

I am … you are … a WORK. IN. PROGRESS.

On the road to healing we will stumble many a time.

We will not always be gracious to the ones who have wounded us.

We will not always rejoice with our friends who are getting more while we mourn our less.

We will not always want to forgive and forget.

We will rehearse the wounding.

We will allow our minds to play out scenes that we feel should be happening if everyone had played fair.

We will struggle to find joy and contentment with what we do have because we can’t shake off what we don’t have.

And yes…we will then beat ourselves up for all of the above and we will look around at our friends and mentors and think how much better each of them would be handling this and we will sink into an even deeper level of recognizing our failures.

So we need to remember this other forgotten aspect of prayer.

Confession…recognizing before God what He has known all along…our humanity…our frailty…our tendency to think that we should be better than all of those things I just mentioned…and acknowledging that we really are not.

Repentance…saying it is not okay to be that way when we see it in ourselves…no longer excusing our bad behavior in the grief process by saying it’s just the way we are and God loves us anyway…reversing the things above, literally….

Lord, I want to be gracious towards those who have caused me pain, because YOU were gracious to me when I was apart from you

Lord, give me joy and gladness when my friends receive the blessings I have lost. Help me to be happy for them and to rejoice with them in true fellowship.

Lord, you have forgiven me much and cast my sin and iniquity into the ocean of forgetfulness and mercy. I choose to forgive and forget because of this grace you have extended to me.

Lord, help me to stop myself when I am tempted to go over the details of the whole event long after You have asked me to lay it down. Like someone pulling out old home movies and cherishing the good times and then mourning the bad, I repent of dwelling in what no longer is and I choose to live in the present. I will actively engage in today and trust you for tomorrow. You were always writing the future and You have not changed.

Lord, I will not use my vain imagination to compare myself to others and waste precious time today conjuring up images of how well they would be doing my journey. My friends and mentors are fellow travelers. By assuming they could carry my backpack better than I am, I am robbing myself and them of the camaraderie we should be sharing as we link arms and help each other along.

Forgiveness…by faith I am forgiven my gaffs and faltering steps as I progress through the season.

By faith, I find my prayer to be a cry for mercy…and in His answer, I am enveloped in peace.

I am reminded in closing of one of my favorite teachings from Beth Moore on the difference between Satan and Jesus and it is also a boxing reference.

She said once that Satan is like the boxer who targets his opponent in a place of wounding. He pounds relentlessly into the open cut under the eye. He shows no mercy and will repeatedly attack in the place of weakness.

Jesus takes a nail scarred hand to that same wound and He presses hard to stop the bleeding…to draw healing into the pain.

My friend…if we are beat up in our sorrow…it is not from God’s hand.

Oh…conviction hurts…but it leads to healing.

Guilt and condemnation are not from God.

I pray today in all areas of grief and loss and sorrow that you know the Hand of God holding you tightly throughout the process and that you will yield to His loving guidance.

Remember YOUR sucker punch, right back at the enemy of your soul, is the conviction and prayer that nothing of this season will be wasted but that all will be used one day to bring glory and honor and praise to the God who brought you through <3

 

Happy Monday <3

Hope you had a good weekend and whether you were rooting for the Patriots or the Eagles or Justin Timberlake or could care less that it was Super Bowl Sunday, can we all agree that the scene stealer of the whole event was that winning quarterback’s darling little one in her NFL denim jacket and Eagle green hair bow the size of a football perched under those headphones?

Come on.

You would have to have a heart of stone to not think that was just the most adorable trophy presentation ever.

Right down to her tiny little hand grabbing that microphone.

She could have cared less who won any game in the world…she just had her eyes on her daddy.

Which brings us nicely to our next topic on prayer during times of Deep Healing.

(See what I did there?)

PC/Rachel Maxwell <3

On Friday we talked about the role of prayer for ourselves and others who are hurting during a time of deep wounding in our own lives.

Today we turn even farther outward to the next deep level we are called to as Christ-followers.

Because it is not enough to pray for ourselves and for others wounded in the fallout or affected by our pain in some way.

No.

As followers of Christ, we look to Scripture as our guide and it is here we find an established pattern calling us to pray for the one who caused our heartache.

And just as we prayed for the circle around us, we must pray for the circle around that one.

Because no matter how much we feel we were wronged, the offender has a posse just like we do who will stand by that person and support him or her.

Let’s face it.

Seeing the one who hurt us feeling the love of people we thought were our friends is truly salt in an open wound.

And that burning can ramp up our pain, but remember…one of the properties of salt is that it helps heal wounds.

Which is why I believe that God commands us to pray for those who are hurting us.

It’s like the added aggravation to our pain can become a stimulus to remind us to pray for those who brought it on.

Or as I like to call it…one-upping the devil.

Let’s look at a few passages of Scripture to set the tone.

In Numbers 12, Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses because of his marriage to an Ethiopian woman. Miriam must have been the instigator because the Lord punishes her by turning her leprous.

Moses, wrongly accused by his siblings, is justified before God in this.

Yet he is the one who cries out in verse 13 for the Lord to heal her.

Or Job, who had three good friends who came and sat with him in his grief and sorrow and then decided to play God with their judgment and advice.

They raked over him pretty harshly and in the end convinced Job to speak up to God about how He had handled the whole situation.

After a lengthy interrogation from God to Job about who should be passing judgment on who..

(or whom or…help me sophomore class English teacher, wherever you are)…

Job acknowledges the Sovereignty of God, which is of course the correct answer…

so God turns to the three and expresses His anger with them and then tells them that Job will pray for them and they will be forgiven.

Then we have our own Lord and Savior who prayed for forgiveness for those who hung Him on the Cross…

as He hung on the Cross…

every word painfully exhaled…

Father, forgive them.

Breathing out the very lesson He had taught throughout His ministry and recorded in Matthew 5:43-48…

But I say to you….love your enemies…pray for those who mistreat you…God sends the same sun and rain on each of you…so be like your Father and pray for them as you would a friend. (my paraphrase)

So here is what I do in applying God’s Word in obedience.

When the stabs come through reminders that the one who inflicted pain is going along with life seemingly untouched by the fall out, and in this day of blessed social media we can tell by the “likes” and “comments” affirming them who is comfortable in that one’s camp, so to speak…

I attempt to use that sharp pain to prompt me to pray for any and all of them.

And let me emphasize here…I don’t do it quickly or well or easily.

But I try very hard to discipline myself to say things like this (in the most sincere and least snarky way possible in each moment):

<3 Lord, they do not owe me anything. By forgiving them, they are free and so am I.

<3 Lord, even though this hurts me and I have no affection or love or respect for these, I know that YOU love them. You love them as much as you love me. So give me your love for them.

<3 I try to list all the blessings I would desire for me and mine, and then ask for those to come to that one and theirs.

Please hear me, this is a process.

An extremely humbling, awkward and painful process.

And, most assuredly, t’s not my first response in the early stages of betrayal, but the Lord faithfully works me toward it as I keep my heart open before Him in honest prayers and tears.

Well, this is a fun start to the week, right?

But I can tell you that this prayer initiative has huge dividends down the path of your journey.

I have seen the two-fold blessing of it being answered because I have lived a fair amount of years now and gone through a lot of seasons.

The first blessing is when some evil does befall the one who wronged you and your heart fills with compassion and genuine sorrow for him or her.

Let me tell you…THAT is far sweeter than any false victory the devil would pawn off as revenge.

Don’t let worldly wisdom convince you that to see someone get what was coming to them will bring you Joy.

It is an ugly win and one that will sour in your mouth and further serve to harden your precious heart that Jesus has given His life to heal.

The second is even more a miraculous work of God and that is the day the one who wounded  you is blessed with the very thing you thought was stolen and you can celebrate in your heart for this.

On that day, you will shake your head in amazement and know that you know that it is the LORD who transformed your sorrow into a Christ-like heart.

Then you truly will know that Christ alone has healed your heart, mind, body and spirit and made you whole again.

That nothing was taken from you that He did not give back a hundred-fold.

It’s a process dear friends, and one we don’t do perfectly, but we are led through it all by the One who perfects us.

Praise His Name forever <3