Category Archives: Relationships

Because sometimes people are kinda like the cable company

I have been working around the house today catching up on cleaning and chores.

As I worked, I prayed and I pondered about our next step in this series of Deep Healing and how to share enough and not too much and generally word it so you can apply it to your circumstances; yet honestly and transparently so that you know it’s from my heart based on  my own experiences.

One of my tasks for the to do list was to call the provider for our internet.

When we moved here we found out we have one choice for that and to put it mildly, they simply do not have a great reputation for service, support, pricing, communication…etc etc etc.

It is the company we left many years ago for those very reasons and evidently they continue to embrace this method of business practice.

Making a long story short, we have made multiple calls and been told a variety of different things. Even though we have clearly stated on every call what we got out of the conversation; and each time, the person on the other end affirmed that indeed we had…

nope.

Not happening that way after all.

And I can get as mad and offended as humanly possible and vent the unfairness to the next customer service rep I get, but basically he or she will cheerily apologize for my inconvenience and either do nothing or make matters worse.

Because the truth is.

The rep and the company Do. Not. Care.

And that’s the crux of the start of our series.

The kind of deep wounding we have been talking about is the kind that comes from someone who let us down, or bailed out on us, or sold us out and they really don’t care.

If they cared, there would be a measure of healing at the start of the pain.

We could understand if someone was bothered by the fact that their choices and actions completely changed the trajectory of our life.

But when we are wounded by someone who was supposed to be on our side and now that one has basically said with words or actions…to us or to someone we cherish…

Your pain because of my decisions does not matter.

You aren’t worth it to me to work this out.

See ya.

Even as I type that I feel the stab in my chest.

At those times our first response to God might be to tell Him how unfair all of this is.

How we, or our people, do not deserve to be so unloved and disregarded.

For me this step is a process that can take a while and comes with a mixed bag of emotions that can include anger, depression, despair, bitterness and a deep wounding to my spirit that makes me withdraw into myself.

On a constant loop.

I don’t want to talk to anyone human because to voice what has been done makes it real

Personally, I don’t think this is a bad response unless I turn to any kind of substance to numb pain or allow myself to simply wallow in this season with only my own thoughts and solutions.

To turn to God in this initial shock is the only way to begin the process of healing.

Because it is in these times that God meets the full vent of my emotional roller coaster and speaks words of TRUTH.

So here are some things that I have gained in this process…not all the things…and certainly they are based on my experiences and personality and wiring and faith journey…but I pray in sharing that you will perhaps gain a different perspective on your own pain or that of someone you care about.

<3 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, but fear the Lord and turn from evil and thus receive healing for your body and refreshment for your soul.   Proverbs 2:5-9     my paraphrase 

Sometimes/often it seems as if God, Himself is the one who bailed on me. Since I believe He is Sovereign and able to do anything…why couldn’t He make it work out or kept me from going into the situation to begin with. As I vent, I find that I have to acknowledge that I am holding some of those wild emotions towards the God I love and who died for me and I have to come to terms with it.

Oswald Chambers refers to these times as when God will appear like an unkind friend.

It is in these times that I find I am so thankful I drew a line in the sand of my life at some point and said….no matter what…You are good and You are kind. You are my God and I will trust You even if I NEVER understand what happened and why.

Burying myself in His Word instead of my grief reminds me of who He is and when the waves overtake me, it is by faith that I say what I know until I can feel it again.

<3   It was good for me to be afflicted that I might learn your decrees.  Psalm 119:71  NLT

After about the zillionth time that I tell God how we didn’t deserve to be treated like that, and I get absolutely no divine pat on the back and affirmation that, by golly, we are too darn good to experience pain…I start to get quiet.

In the silence I realize what I am actually saying to the God of the Universe who, by the way, sent His sinless Son to the Cross on my sorry behalf.

Then I start getting really quiet.

It’s an uncomfortable place as I start to recognize the sin of pride and entitlement that are rather pervasive in little ways that I had not noticed before.

A driver cuts me off and I feel a surge of rage because I was obeying traffic laws and this crazy guy just about clipped my bumper.

I get overlooked as I wait in line for an appointment or to pick up an order.

I have to come back tomorrow because the post office closed two minutes ago and my clock says it’s straight 4 PM

I have to return a box to the internet office because the girl that arranged our wireless charges assumed I wanted TV too..

You get the idea.

Entitlement

Pride

“I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

That’s a hard one when you are in the midst of grief and sorrow at the hand of someone.

And if your toes hurt right now, just remember … mine have been stomped on mightily.

<3 He was despised and rejected…a man of sorrows acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care.   Isaiah 53:3    NLT

Here is the richest treasure, my friend.

When I go to the Cross, I realize that my own “righteousness” is non-existent.

Any good I thought I did that should have bought me insurance against pain is suddenly exposed for what it is. Maybe a nice effort…but my motives even on my best days are tainted with self.

In the midst of my sorrow and pain, when I finally acknowledge that the other party made a choice and it wasn’t for me and mine but for something or someone else…I acknowledge the rejection and realize..wow..this is just a small sample of what Christ felt.

As I am humbled…the sin of my own selfish ways revealed, I can move from the foot of the Cross to the arms of my Lord.

It is then that I begin take those tears and despair, the depression and anger, the pain and shame, the fear of how the future will play out now and the questions about the truth of the past now that it is darkened by my new normal and I can finally move right up to His own wounded side.

I hold up the shattered pieces of my own heart, and in prayer, the hearts of those I love and I begin to truly release them into that nail-scarred hand.

And I can cry with Him and rest in Him and lean on Him as I have never done before.

His suffering and my suffering blended now and this is the start of where He can work the deep healing I so desperately need.

It’s a journey, my friend…one we share with Him.

This is the hardest one I will post in this half of the series…most likely….maybe not…we shall see…<3

Go put some ice on those bruised toes…pray for what He might be saying to you…sit down next to your Savior and let Him minister to you….and I will see you back here on Monday.

 

 

 

 

Plunder from the pain <3

My reading in Exodus this week has landed me in the midst of God giving Moses a shopping list for a wide range of items to build the Tabernacle that includes…

oh…such things as…

fine threads and linen, gold and silver, olive oil and spices and crazy-expensive things like Frankincense …which if you are into essential oils…hello….$$$$$

And I marvel every time I read this in Exodus…

Where are these people going to find all of this stuff out in the middle of nowhere?

Yet the Israelite families have access to all of this and more amongst their possessions.

But wait.

Weren’t they slaves held in captivity in Egypt?

How did they manage to come up with more than enough of all of these luxurious commodities making bricks for Pharaoh?

Ahhh….the plunder.

If you remember by the time God’s plagues had wreaked enough havoc on the land of Egypt that everyone from the top down was saying L.E.A.V.E. … NOW!!

God brought favor on His people that as they were packing they asked the residents for all of these niceties and they gave them to the Israelites.

The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.   Exodus 12:36

We have been looking at those seasons where we walk in captivity to a grief and sorrow brought on by the ungodly or unjust ways of others.

That kind of heartache means we are not just going on without a person or a relationship or a purpose, but we have to deal with the loss of what we thought would be and the betrayal we feel about what we thought we had and the unfairness that none of this would have happened if someone else had chosen differently.

Honorably.

It can seem like we are gathering up the fragments of our life that are still intact as we head out into an unknown desert.

For me, these seasons of loss on someone else’s terms have been a process of turning to God through journaling my thoughts.

I find as I look through the pages of those seasons some raw, ugly, and yet beautiful times of honest outpouring.

Raw and ugly because I spare nothing when I go to my God.

He knows my thoughts before I even think them and so He is my safe place.

I can spill all of it out before Him and then when I have told Him, honestly, every thought and question; I still myself and listen.

This is a slow process.

You know…crossing deserts take a while.

It is dry and arid.

Uncomfortable.

But there are wells in the desert.

Deep ones.

And as I pour out and wait…pour out and wait…eventually….

He begins to reveal things in those times in His presence.

Things about the situation.

Things about the people.

Things about me.

As I listen and ponder what He impresses on my heart, I journal His thoughts and my thoughts.

Step by step some days, or camping out and just resting others, I begin to see a bigger view of my little story.

And then as the initial pain becomes something I can finally face with myself and with others in my daily life, I start looking back at those ink covered lines of a spiral notebook and guess what I find?

Plunder.

Yes, the enemy may have taken something from me but God has provided a treasure that can never be destroyed or taken.

Lessons gleaned in the wilderness that strengthen me and change me and mold me more into the image of His Son.

So to finish our series, I will share a few of those treasures with you…for His glory and for your healing.

We do not travel alone and I hope to encourage you as we journey onward together <3

 

 

How long is long enough?

We don’t know how long Samuel mourned.

The Bible doesn’t give us the exact length of time to grieve that God deemed to be enough.

It will be different for each of us, you know.

So don’t let someone tell you to get over it and move on.

Unless it’s God telling you.

Then…well… you should probably listen.

But only to Him.

Only in His timing.

Which is why grief and mourning are best handled in an outpouring and on-going way in His Presence through the process.

Because one day you will hear His voice.

Samuel did.

Now the LORD said to Samuel…”How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from ruling over Israel?

Fill your horn (with more anointing oil) and…

Go…

I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”       1 Samuel 16:1

You know how I read that?

Ok, Laura…

How long are you going to sit here and go over everything that went wrong and all the things you think you have been robbed of?

How many new memories are you going to mar because you can’t get out of the shadow left by the sorrow the old ones bring?

How long are you going to let this grief rob you of today’s joys and tomorrows blessing?

How long?

Because I’m ready to move on.

I have a plan…I have not been undone by this and I need you to get on board.

I made you…I know you are broken…I am fixing you…I am in control.

It’s time…

Let’s go.

You can feel it in your bones when God speaks to you this way.

Suddenly you remember what it was to have hope.

Though the ground is still hard and bleak, you can feel again.

You cry maybe, but it’s not the tears of brokenness…it’s the sweet beginning of healing unfolding.

There’s a difference.

But it takes time.

Healing  can be painful, but it is a pain that is birthing new life.

So take time.

Take time to grieve and mourn honestly and well so that when God asks…

Are you done? 

You can say, in faith…

Yes LORD…yes.

I am done and…

Yes, I am ready.

Where are going now and how will we do it?

Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.                                                 Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming.                                                                      Do you not see it?                                                                                                                                                        Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43: 18-19

 

 

Continuation of yesterday…and that big question…Lord, what happened here??

I am beginning to remember why I was hesitant to tackle this topic back in October.

It requires you all showing up each day and following the thread of the message…so if you just arrived today and none of this makes sense, we are in the midst of a small series found in the Categories section at the bottom of this page called Deep Healing 2018. If you click on that link it will take you to the rest of the posts on this subject.

And now for some thoughts based on our look at the demise of Saul’s Kingdom and the ripping apart of his relationship with Samuel.

As a necessary note, the accounts of the prophets and Kings of Israel have far more significance in the grand scheme of God’s plan than helping me deal with life hurts.

However…

1 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Bible is God-breathed and useful for correction, training and teaching…so with that in mind I invite you to meditate on applying the passages we covered here.

We are told only a few details about Samuel after he finishes what God told Saul to do, basically dethrones Saul and walks away from the man he had been called to anoint as King against his better judgment.

<3 Samuel went back home and never saw Saul again alive on planet earth

<3 Despite all of his disappointment in the man, he mourned for him

<3 The LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel

So we can fill in the blanks of all of that with our own stories.

And in that place we can ask some questions that perhaps Samuel asked.

And we can ask them over and over as many times as it takes until we get through to where we can start hearing God speak into the situation…or at least into our hearts.

I would imagine that Samuel may have asked repeatedly some things like….

Why did we do that?

Didn’t I say at the start that this was a bad idea?

Did I do something wrong?

Did I hear You incorrectly?

I can imagine that Samuel worked through the details of how it all transpired from the very start of the people asking for a King.

I wonder if he blamed the people, and God, and himself and most assuredly Saul.

I think that he might have beat himself up a time or two wondering if he had arrived sooner or worded the commands of God better that maybe Saul wouldn’t have messed up.

Perhaps he remembered some of Saul’s better characteristics and mannerisms and conversations that had been good and precious and had etched a place in his heart for this young man.

Maybe having failed at raising his own sons in a godly way to follow his footsteps, he had banked on this second chance to redeem the loss of those relationships and had come to think of Saul as a son.

Even as he well understood the flaws that had not only ruined God’s plan but broken his own heart, this old man mourned the loss of Saul.

And as I am familiar with some of those questions and going over of events and asking God where He was, and hashing over the “what-if’s” in a churning of the mind and spirit; I can also imagine that God met Him in each of those sessions.

For He has met me.

Sometimes He listens while I rant and sometimes He speaks a word of encouragement or a word of hope.

And sometimes He just holds me as a child and lets me cry as He presses a nail-scarred hand against my heart to stop the bleeding.

I love that we are also told the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

Oh, I don’t think God slapped His forehead and sighed…

Whoops…well, I sure didn’t see that coming…

But it gives me insight that people do make choices – that while God is Sovereign and what He purposes to do, He will do…we have some responsibility to work it out down here.

That God CAN ordain a relationship, but that a human can mess up God’s best plan and God is moved by the pain it causes.

By our choices we can be part of the story, or cut off.

Which means that even someone who hides on the day of his coronation had the potential to be the kind of king God would raise up to lead His people.

If only…

and it is sad when the one who God tapped on the shoulder to fulfill a calling in our own lives abdicates through disobedience.

It hurts.

And we mourn.

And God is with us in that.

So we mourn honestly.

And we grieve completely and openly.

But always, always…in fellowship with the God who loves us…loves that one who wounded us…died for all of us…that we might live in Him <3

That’s a bit more to chew on today…and I hope you will come back tomorrow.

Blessings on your tender hearts as you apply God’s Word to your “if only” <3

When God ordains the relationship that breaks our hearts <3

Oh dear friend, in order to get to the place where we can begin to understand what Samuel can teach us about healing from the pain of betrayal, disobedience and ungodly choices made by others, we really need to finish the background story that leads to his relationship with King Saul.

You can read for yourself the account in 1 Samuel 2-15 or enjoy my Cliff notes version below….or really….both would be good <3

Picking up where we left off yesterday, Samuel grew up under the care of Eli the priest and his two sons.

These two sons were not godly men and Eli knew what they were doing;  yet he did not correct or stop them.

The Lord saw all that they were doing so he stopped dealing with Eli and began to speak personally to young Samuel.

This little fellow was awakened from sleep one night and having never heard God speak to him, he assumed Eli was calling him.

Back and forth he went to see what the old man wanted until finally Eli realized that it was God calling to this apprentice who had been dropped at his door by Hannah years earlier.

Samuel follows Eli’s instructions and when he hears his name called again, he dutifully answers…

“Speak, for Your servant hears.”  1 Samuel 3:9

What he hears is rather upsetting and dire news for Eli and his sons, but the old priest still holds deep respect for God and His Word  and he presses Samuel to tell him of the words the Lord spoke reassuring the boy that whatever God has said he will not hold against Samuel.

Eli accepts the prophetic word of God because he knows…God is God.

And so, we are told, Samuel grew up and the LORD was with him and Samuel spoke the prophecies of God and they were each one fulfilled.

Samuel, in the constant company of the LORD, traveled around Israel dispensing God’s guidance and judgment and direction to the people, returning once a year to his home.

He apparently spends little time bringing up his own children well because as he nears retirement and turns the business of judging the nation over to his sons, the people say…

Thanks, but no thanks.

So the elders of Israel gather in force and come to Samuel to ask him for a King to reign over their nation.

Samuel is less than thrilled and prays to God about the whole situation.

And God once again speaks to Samuel…

Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me.               1 Samuel 8:7

God tells him to fulfill their request but to also warn them of all that having a King will mean to them and to their children.

And Samuel did all of these things and then God brings about a strange set of circumstances that involves a wandering herd of donkeys, a young Saul going in search of them and a divine appointment that takes him to Samuel’s front door.

God has already prepared Samuel with the news that this donkey-seeking shepherd is the chosen first King of Israel and so proceeds the even more interesting account of the on-the-go anointing followed by a shy and reluctant Saul playing hide and go seek at his coronation.

And so God opens wide a door of relationship for the older man Samuel and the young King Saul.

As we continue to read the unfolding story, Saul makes at least two very bad decisions where he blatantly disobeys God and God’s clear instructions administered through Samuel’s words.

The first is an unlawful sacrifice held by Saul instead of waiting on God’s timing and the second is disregarding the command to destroy every living thing in an evil nation that God gave Israel victory over.

He multiplies these sins by lying, justifying and denying any wrong doing.

And at the end of Chapter 15 we are left with these heart wrenching words that ring the death toll on the relationship that Samuel had obediently cultivated because of the Word of the Lord to him regarding Saul.

Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.             1 Samuel 15: 34 – 35

This God-ordained relationship has come to a screeching, wrenching halt and Samuel is left to ask…WHAT just happened here????