Wellness Wednesday- Jesus Understands Scars

When we think of scars. we tend to think of physical scars. I have many of those. But there are also psychological and emotional scars. Jesus understands scars. He suffered for us and still has those scars. He also faced rejection and betrayal. I would like to share the following from an old post of mine from three years ago when I first got going with blogging.

12 scars on my body tell stories of my life. Some are from surgeries like the  scar from an appendectomy when I was 21. Some are small like the small scar next to my left eye from a freak accident while setting up an outdoor activity for kids at church. The tiny scars from arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder in 1990. The scar on my stomach when I was attacked by a dog when I was 12 is symbolic of the upheaval in my youth. The two inch scar on my left hand from a surgery to repair damage when I had a hand injury in 1996 represents my health struggles of the 1990s.

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Scars represent our wounds that have healed. Some heal over correctly but some wounds that ‘heal’ over leave places that will never be the same and sometimes not work well.

But what of the scars from wounds no one can see? The scars from being abused. Scars left from struggling with addiction. Scars left from being victimized. Scars from broken relationships. Some wounds go so deep into our souls that we wonder if they will ever scar over the way physical wounds do when they heal.

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One day Jesus told Thomas to reach out and touch His scars from the nails that pierced his wrists and the scar from the soldiers spear that pierced his side. His scars are still there to show us His love. Having all power, he could have stopped his crucifixion, but His love for us made Him lay down His life for us.

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He says to all of us, “Look at the scars on my wrists and feet. Look at the scar in my side. My scars are for your scars.”

His scars are there because he wants to bring healing to our souls and spirits. His scarred wrists reach out to us saying, “Come to me all who are weary and find rest for your souls”

One day I reached back to his hands extended. I reached back to find rest and healing from my past as the son of an alcoholic father and mother with mental illness. Rest, oh yes rest, from the anger, confusion, doubt caused by my own sinful reactions to life.

The hands on his scarred wrists long to hold our hand and walk in this life with us. Jesus is reaching out to you. Will we take the hand offered in love and friendship offering healing for our souls?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- I’m Not Alone by Riley Clemmons

I thought my worth was lost but my worth was not lost on you

If we ever wonder if God thinks we are worthwhile, we only need to stop and think about Jesus. Jesus on the cross was God reaching out to show how much he loves us.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Out of all creation, we are what he values most. No matter what pit we are in, depression, divorce, family problems, health problems, financial problems, memories of past trauma or abuse, we are worth so much to God that he sent Jesus.

God loves you. That means you are worth so much to God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Hold Onto Me by Lauren Daigle-Live

I shared this song a few months ago, but after watching this Live version, I want to share it again. I love this song. No matter how dark our valleys in life are, Jesus holds onto us.

Jesus has promised that he will never leave us. Jesus ALWAYS keeps his promises.

There may be times we feel Jesus has left us, but he has not. He is always with us, near us, watching over us. If we feel he has left us, it is because we are focused on our circumstances. Circumstances can be troubling, but they do not change the fact that Jesus never leaves us. No matter how dire our situation is, he is with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Jesus Understands Inner Turmoil

Being in turmoil emotionally can be caused by many life experiences such as the death of a loved one, family problems, loss of a job, living with anxiety just to name a few.

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When I pray, it is comforting to know that Jesus understands. He understands because he lived in this life and experienced the ups and downs of this life. Inner turmoil, emotional turmoil. is something Jesus understands.

The night Jesus was arrested before he was crucified, he knew what was going to happen, He knew the plan. He was in a garden praying. He asked the Father if there could be another way, but said not my will but your will be done. His inner turmoil was such that before he prayed he told his disciples in Matthew 26:

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

His prayer was so intense emotionally that we see in Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When we are distressed and are not sure how to pray or what to pray, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands inner turmoil and take comfort even more in knowing he can help. We read in Hebrews 4:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need

Jesus understands and wants us to come to him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Understand Family Problems- John Chapter 7

Sibling rivalry can cause problems in family relationships. Jealousy can set in if one sibling gets more attention or has more talent in an area. Now imagine having Jesus as your older half brother. Jesus had half brothers and sisters who were born after he was. Can you imagine being compared to Jesus?

To understand the first part of John 7 we need to look at Mark 3. In Mark 3:20-21 we read:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

His own family, his mother-Mary, and his half brothers went to take charge of Jesus thinking he was crazy. They did not believe Jesus to be Messiah. Even Mary who had been visited by the angel Gabriel was in on the attempt to “take charge” of Jesus.

Then we read in Mark 3:31-34:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus did not respond to his mother or half brothers. He corrected the thinking of the people by saying those who do the will of God are his family. I imagine that stung a little for his family.

We don’t have much of a record of Jesus’ half brothers or sisters as far as whether they came to faith other than James. We know Mary did because she was in the upper room with the disciples at Pentecost.

So in John 7:3-4 when his brothers said:

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

It was entirely disingenuous because we also read in verse 5:

 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus ended up going after his half brothers did without telling them.

This is an encouraging passage for those of us with family problems. Jesus understands dealing with family problems. His own half brothers did not believe in him, mocked him in this passage, tried to take control of him in Mark chapter 3.

Jesus understands and provides relationships and friendships with fellow believers. They can become our chosen family. I shared about chosen family a few months ago- Chosen Family.

If you have family problems, Jesus understands.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Chosen Family

Today I am starting a new series Wellness Wednesday. My hope is to share about various issues regarding wellness whether physical health or mental health. The posts will be more along the lines of encouragement rather than advice. My first topic is Chosen Family.

Family issues are something I have experienced myself having grown up in a family with an alcoholic father and a mother who had mental health issues she never sought help for. What do we do when our biological family has severe problems or even just some problems? What do we do if the situation is toxic? I would always encourage someone to seek counseling of course.

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How do we balance what the bible says about honor your father and your mother with a situation like what I grew up in?

Jesus shed light on this when his own earthly family tried to interfere with his ministry in Mark chapter 3.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Imagine the scenario. Jesus our creator who came to earth to be our Savior experienced his mother and his half brothers coming to “take charge of him” thinking he was crazy.

When someone told him his mother and half brothers were outside, Jesus’ response was:

Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus shared that those who do God’s will are his family. This sheds light on something for me that has been helpful. Look to those who are part of God’s family when biological family is a problem.

What do I mean by that? How does this look in my life?

When my biological parents were alive, I did try to share with them, prayed for them, and remembered things like their birthdays. But I did not look to them for guidance, encouragement, or reinforcement.

Important Note- if you have been a victim of any kind of abuse please seek counseling and guidance. If being around those who abused you is harmful, please seek counseling.

When I was younger, I sought out people older than me in church who I respected for those important aspects of life. Now I am older, but I still think of my close friends at church as my chosen family.

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Chosen family are those people who we know truly have our best interest in mind, who we can healthy relationships with, and who can encourage us in our lives and faith. Friends can come and go in our lives, but there are some who I have stayed friends with for almost 30 years.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Light in the Darkness- John 1

Have you ever walked down a dimly lit or a dark street at night? It can be a bit scary. In the night there are more crimes committed. It is also easy to stumble and hurt ones self walking in the dark. If we have a light, it makes it so much safer.

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Jesus came into the world that he created. He came to be a light in the darkness of this world. This world is in spiritual darkness. There are various kinds of dangers in the darkness of this world, addiction, abuse, failed relationships, illness, etc.

Jesus came into the world he created to be a light for us, to show us God. In John 1:4 we read:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 

Jesus is the source of life since he is the creator. He came here out of love to reclaim his most precious creation-human beings. We are the most precious part of creation to him. He is the light for all humans.

In John 1:5 we read:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus still shines his light in this world for us. Interesting to me is the word for overcome in Greek- katalmbano using English letters for you- gives a meaning of acquire, grasp, lay hold of. It is a word full of meaning. The darkness has not overcome it, lay hold of it, so it has not and will not conquer the light of Jesus. The darkness has not grasped the light or understood.

Think about how startling it is when all of the sudden someone turns on a light. Our eyes close a bit as we adjust to the light. If we are sleeping and someone suddenly turns on a light to wake us up, we are confused for a bit.

Those in darkness are confused about Jesus. The darkness that has a hold of them cannot overcome the light of Jesus.

Jesus wants us to be children of the light and reach out to those in the darkness. He wants us to shine his light in this world.

If anyone feels trapped by addiction, relationship/family troubles, depression, or anything else, Jesus holds out his hand to you to help you.

Let us who follow Jesus take our light out to a troubled world. Seek out those in need of the hope only Jesus can give.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Freedom from Victimhood

Surviving abuse involves at times an ongoing process of forgiving. By forgiving I mean releasing them to God to be free of victimhood not forgetting. But when the memories come back, what do we do with them. It took time but I have gotten to the point of praying as soon as they come back.

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So this is a raw post but one I felt the Lord leading me to share. As a child, my home was a nightmare at times with a mentally ill mother who played mind games and an alcoholic father. That should be enough said without going into details.

Fast forward to when I was in my early 30s. I began to feel tired and had trouble making it through the day. It continued to get worse as my health declined with my first bout with chronic illness. That first bout was so severe that I was close to multiple organ failure until one day I said something to my doctor that rang a bell for him. He tested me and found I had a dead thyroid.

I spent a over a year recovering from that. When I saw my mother, which was rare, I told her I had a dead thyroid. She asked me what my TSH test number was. I told her. She gleefully and proudly told me hers and walked away. That was when I found out what I had was genetic.

When I told my father after that, he said, “your mother never told you?”

Had I known about the genetic predisposition, I would have asked to be tested every year and could have avoided the nightmare of three years of declining health, over a year recovering, and the process after that of getting my life back together.

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The mind games of my mother and the negligence of my father continued into my adulthood. They have both passed away. Yesterday the memory of that time came back. So I prayed over it. I said to God that I hoped my mother had made her peace with him and thanked him that my father had.

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By doing so, I stepped away from being trapped in victimhood. Jesus wants to set us free. He said so himself. Jesus who is the truth said in John 8:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The truth is that Jesus loves each of us and values us so much that he left heaven to be born as a human baby, so he could grow to be a man and die on the cross for us.

The truth is that God wants us in his family.

There are so many more wonderful truths in the bible to learn. It starts with coming to know Jesus. Then he begins the process of setting us free.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Oh My- Mr Rogers Movie- A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

When I was a child, we watched Mr. Rogers in school every day. For me it was a special time of the school day when I was in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade. When we did not have school, we watched his show at home.

Last night at the end of a day dealing with a chronic illness flare up, and not having energy for much else, I watched the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Hulu. Before I started watching, I thought it would be nice to zone out on a sappy movie.

What I did not expect was a major part of the movie to involve a man and his estranged father with the father on his death bed.

Why is that significant?

I grew up with an alcoholic father. Jesus gave me the opportunity to express forgiveness to my father 14 months before he died and to share Jesus with him and pray with him as he accept Jesus as his Savior.

The months that followed, I was his pastor. Each time I would visit, he would point to the bible in my hand as a gesture to ask me the read it to him. Then he would put his hand up for me to hold and pray with him.

So memory lane while watching the movie was not just about my childhood watching the show, it was also about remembering my father coming to know Jesus.

I do suggest the movie by the way.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.