Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Other Words---Healing a Broken Soul


“For most of this century we have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorders and delegated their treatment to trained specialists. Damaged psyches aren’t the problem. The problem is disconnected souls.”
by Larry CrabbConnecting:Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships

I have a lot of respect for Larry Crabb as a writer about psyche and relationships. And, I do see the point that he is making in this quote. Too often we jump on a bandwagon of the latest psychological fad and miss the underlying issues of where a person is hurting. Helping people find a connection between their deepest needs and the Creator who created those needs can indeed solve many of the issues out there.

Many of the issues. Not all.

And I feel compelled to say that we as the church are not always welcoming of people who truly have those diagnoses and truly need a trained professional's help in learning to cope with life. Of course, you might expect that kind of statement from me since I am a trained counselor. I am well aware that many of the people I've provided an ear and advice to over the years needed a relationship with Jesus more than they needed a relationship with me. But some of them needed a trained professional to help them see their way through.

Sometimes, even in the midst of our relationship with Jesus, we need professional help. I know that was true for me. I knew that the scars I needed to deal with were soul scars. And I first went to my church who could only give me the answer "just trust Jesus for that." And then I went to a Christian counselor, who could only say to me "just trust Jesus for that." It took a secular counselor who wasn't afraid to challenge "just trust Jesus" who helped me get to the source of the scarring, find a way through that pain and finally be able to "just trust Jesus."

It's true, many of the issues are soul brokenness. But we have to be willing to help people get to the broken place before we can expect them to heal. Sometimes it takes a professional to do that. I wish that more "counselors" in our churches could get past the fear of the messiness of what soul brokenness really looks like in order to help restore people. It is true that we need to "trust Jesus" but sometimes we need help in reaching that point.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Psalm 34:17-19

Father God as I come along people in my every day routine, help me to recognize the brokenness of the soul that causes them to behave the way they do. Help me to be an instrument of your healing and connection in their life. Amen.

This week's hostess is Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife. Come, visit, and be blessed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Other Words--Sharing Burdens


“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own. ”
~Abraham Lincoln~

It's been a rough week around here. One of the things leading to my blogging break didn't happen. It was supposed to be a weekend of celebration; but instead has been filled with frustration and disappointment. We're okay, but we are emotionally bruised by the battle that has been waged. Yet, in the middle of it all, we have had moments of forgetting how bad it looks.

How, you may wonder, do you forget when things just look hurtful? By keeping our perspective on the bigger picture and where God is working. And, by not allowing our pain to keep us from caring for others who are in pain. I will not engage in a political drama here, but we have a good friend who is an exec in a certain insurance company in the news. Our hearts break for him, especially since he had only arrived in this job a month before the media storm of problems. God has in the midst of our emotional roller coaster continually reminded us to pray for him and his family in the firestorm they are facing. Somehow what we face doesn't seem so large. At the same time other friends have been informed that their jobs are not secure. Again, prayer and loving support takes the focus off of us and onto God and his purpose in others' lives.

There's been a lot of heartache to share the past few weeks. Marriages breaking apart, job worries, health scares, parenting difficulties, and the list goes on. In these coming days we can expect even more heartaches to be visible. But we can share in those burdens. We can keep God's perspective on them. And in the process we will be less focused on our own. Focus on God instead of self. That is the main thing God desires.

Who do you need to reach out toward to share their burden? Do it. And, if someone reaches out to share yours, accept it. You may be helping them more than you know.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40

Our hostess this week is Susan at Forever His. Please visit the others who are writing on this quote and be blessed today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blogging Break

I'm taking a brief blogging break! There are many things happening at the church the next 15 days that we are integrally involved. I can't seem to put thoughts together outside of those events. I'll be back as I can!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday---14 March 2009


Welcome to another Stitchin' Post Saturday!

This week I finished Mystery Quilt 2!!! Yay! In a couple of weeks I can show pictures. I've also sent Mystery Quilt 1 to its new owner, so when it arrives I can show it.

Here are the current Works in Progress:


I've been working on this Neighbourhood Round Robin (NRR) on and off (mostly off) for a couple of years. I have almost finished my "England" block. Here is the current status picture. I think I'll finish it this week. The pattern called for grey shadows at the top of each panel, but the grey was just too dark and it did not do the house any justice. So yesterday was spent frogging (ripping out) all of the grey and replacing part of it with a dark cream and filling in the rest with ecru. Got about half of what was ripped out replaced.


Here is a quilt top that I'm working on for a friend's new baby. I'm going to add some yellow "dots" to the white square centers to continue to the play of daisies. Then I just need to sandwich it and quilt it.

Thanks for looking! Please link to your latest stitching accomplishments so we can come and oooh and aaah.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--March 7, 2009


Time for another stitching update. Unfortunately I can't show what has taken up most of my time this week, since it is the mystery quilt that cannot be pictured until it is delivered. But suffice it to say the 5000 or so hand applique stitches are now done! The borders were added last night and today I will sandwich it and maybe even get the quilting done. It should be fairly simple machine quilting.

One thing I can show is this sweet little pillow I stitched up this week. Jewel will probably make use of it by the end of the week, so timing was of the essence. I still need to hand stitch the opening closed and add a handle, but that won't take long. ;-)

What are you working on? We'd love to see it. Sign in with your link so others can come oooh and aaah.

Stitchin' Post Saturday Participants

1. Miriam Pauline

2. Kristin/Dragondreamer\'s Lair

3. Margaret

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Monday, March 02, 2009

In Other Words---Just Obey


Welcome to Tuesday's In Other Words. I'm so excited to be hosting this week. I have discovered that I need to be very careful in the quotes I choose, because God will give me plenty of opportunities to practice what I write. And writing about obedience....well, you can probably guess how the last week has been. But it is all good when God is at work! Please make yourself at home. Mr. Linky should be working at the end of the post, so please link to your thoughts on this quote as well. And without futher adieu...

"God does not speak simply to be heard.
He speaks to be obeyed.
Obedience is the Alpha and Omega of discerning God’s voice.”

by Priscilla Shirer
Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, p. 174

A million times a day, it seems, I hear myself say "I don't like talking to myself." It is what I say to my children when they are clearly not listening to me. I know that they are not listening because they are doing their own thing and not acting at all on the words I say. They may be nodding their heads in agreement, but their actions demonstrate that they are not hearing. And as their parent, I want obedient listening not just nodding listening.

I wonder, how many times a day God tries to say to me "I don't like talking to myself." I wonder if he is able to see in my actions that there is a connection between what he says to me and what I do. I just wonder.

I suspect he sees this forty year old child much like I see my own children...self-absorbed and slow to obey at times. *sigh*

Scripture says to us that obedience demands immediate action. It is the first thing that God desires. It is the last thing he desires. It is everything in between. The Alpha and Omega. The A to Z(ed) of hearing. God wants to see our obedience.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. James 1:22-24 (The Message)

I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:7-9

He who obeys instructions guards his life,
but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.
Proverbs 19:6

Father God forgive me when I am slow to obey. Cleanse my heart of the selfish desires that cause me to nod agreeingly, but act independently. May I see that your call is to be obeyed immediately, instinctively and without argument. In Jesus' name...Amen.

Be blessed this week! Please visit the other participants and encourage them on this journey of obedience.

In "Other" Words Participants
1. micey
2. Loni
3. Tracy @ Thirsty for Him
4. Denise
5. Debbie @ Heart Choices
6. Karen Gillett
7. Manda @ LambsInHisArms
8. Chocolate and Coffee

Learn more about In "Other" Words here.

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March Goal Post


Here is the progress on February goals:

February Goals!
1. Finish Rosewood Manor Flag Sampler--finished on 26 February
2. Finish Mystery Quilt--finished on 15 February
3. Get 2/3 roof on thatched house stitched (currently 1/3)--completed roof and half of landscaping
4. Finish 2008 filing (otherwise known as re-find the office!)--about 2/3 complete
5. Get Jewel set up for piano lessons--started last week
6. Find an online class to learn more about my DSLR camera--found one, Thanks Iris!, but the class sold out on the first day and I didn't try to sign up until day 2. I'm on the mail list for the next class.

Now for March Goals:
1. Finish NRR thatched house section, road and begin Texas windmill
2. Finish Mystery Quilt II by March 15 (absolute deadline is 29th!)
3. Stitch house on Robin's NRR
4. Complete Kristin's All About Me RR if it arrives this month
5. Complete baby quilt for Emily Jane
6. Finish office clean up and organising
7. Prepare for Easter trip to States--preorder any items that need to be delivered to Dad's
8. Sign up at leisure club and take girls swimming at least one time a week outside of their normal lessons
9. Begin new Bible Study (No Other Gods) and continue to write mentoring material as able.

Marriage Monday---Glory

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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Welcome to March everyone!! Being the first Monday of the month, it can only mean one thing....Marriage Monday. Today Jennifer at A Pair of Bartletts is hosting us at her place around the topic of "The Glory of Christian Marriage."

The freedictionary.com defines glory this way:
glo·ry (glôr, glr)
n. pl. glo·ries
1. Great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown.
2. Something conferring honor or renown.
3. A highly praiseworthy asset: Your wit is your crowning glory.
4. Adoration, praise, and thanksgiving offered in worship.
5. Majestic beauty and splendor; resplendence: The sun set in a blaze of glory.
6. The splendor and bliss of heaven; perfect happiness.
7. A height of achievement, enjoyment, or prosperity: ancient Rome in its greatest glory.8. A halo, nimbus, or aureole. Also called gloriole.

Great definition, but what does it have to do with marriage? I would contend, that actually all of this has to do with marriage. Marriage is one of the places where God displays His majesty and purpose for human relationships. God established marriage way back in the garden and has used marriages since that time to populate the earth, bring each other comfort, demonstrate His forgiveness (see Hosea), and bring joy. If you ever doubt that romantic love is glorifying to God, then you just need to read the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon depending on your tradition) to see a Biblical exposition on the glory of love.

But for my purposes, I'm going to focus on that third definition above, "a highly praiseworthy asset." We live in a culture that more and more is willing to throw away relationships. If it gets difficult, society tells us just get out. Marriage rates have dropped as people opt for "partnerships" that are easier to dissolve. In the past few months I've been shocked on a half dozen occassions as people who have been together forever have announced their engagement--I thought they were married, by a Christian friend who has announced her wedding--in 2010--but that they are going to live together until then, of friends who have separated after 12 years because they "now love someone else" (actually this has happened four times in five months, 12 years being the minimum years together). Marriage is fast becoming an endangered species. But the Bible contends, that it is a highly praised asset.

Although most of us participating in this meme by writing or coming to read the entries would agree that marriage is a highly praised asset, we often don't treat it as highly praised. We take the irritations of our marriages and make them the gossip fodder with our friends. We quietly bash how our husbands don't do enough around the house. We complain about the minutest of details. Is it any wonder that the world doesn't want to make such a commitment when all they hear is the negatives about that commitment? It only takes one person to turn that tide of negative talk. Over eighteen months ago my accountability and prayer partner and I agreed that we would not say critical things about our husbands in anyone's company. It began with us. We could ask for prayers of blessing and discernment but we could not ask anything in a "make him do what I want" way. We knew that there would be things that irritated us. Our catch-phrase text for prayers during that time was "pray for me to submit." We acknowledged that when little things were bothering us it was us that needed the prayer to change not our husbands. Instead we focused on praising how they provided for and loved their families. I can't speak totally for her, but I can say that focusing on the praiseworthy asset of marriage has improved my marriage greatly. It spilled over into other friends lives. In a setting if someone complained about their husband, my friend or I would say something positive about ours....and everyone followed suit. The negativity tide was turned. Marriage is a praiseworthy asset, so we should praise it!

This past week has been rocky in some relationships. The Accuser has attempted to have a field day destroying relationships and causing divisions. In the midst of it all I was feeling very much attacked. I texted German at work to let him know I needed to vent when he had a few minutes to listen to me. I knew that I just needed to let off steam in a safe, permitted manner. He rang me back within five minutes. He listened, he gave godly advice and I felt better. But he did more than that. He immediately closed things up at his office and came home in the middle of the day. He decided it was more important to be with me when I was upset than to sit at his desk. That act of support meant more to me than anything else he could have done. It was a clear example to me of the sacrificial love he has for me. On that day, God was glorified in our marriage in a very simple act. German still accomplished all of his work, but he did it from home where he knew he needed to be. I didn't even know I needed him at home until he walked through the door. That is why there is glory in marriage. It exemplifies the way God wants us to relate to one another. It is a cruciable of expressing sacrifical love and is a picture of what Christ is willing to do for us.

How is your marriage a praiseworthy asset? Have you told your spouse? Share with them your praise for being married to them. It will make their day....and it will make yours too. Praise is medicine for the soul!