Validating Others

So many times in my friendships with refugees, Jesus has given me opportunities to listen as my refugee friends share part of their ordeal. As they share their trauma with me, it is time for me to listen not rush in as the fixer. It is also not time to minimize their experience by saying something like, “well you are here now.”

What they need is what every person needs, validation. By listening to them, it shows I care, which I do, and it validates their sense of personhood. It is my desire to treat my refugee and immigrant friends with dignity as fellow image bearers of the image of God.

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There are so many people struggling in life not only refugees or immigrants. How we respond when someone confides in us can go a long way to opening a door or closing it. It depends on how we respond, what we say, how we treat them. If we listen and validate them, it can foster friendship and create future opportunities, If we throw out cliches or minimize what they share, it will close that door perhaps slam it shut.

I saw this video clip from a show. I only watched the episode with this scene in it. I thought this scene was a powerful example of responding and validating a person who is struggling.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Renewing Our Minds- It’s Not Too Late

We can have a tendency as we get older to think we are too old to learn new things, are set in our ways, and believe the saying- ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

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I have been reading a book that has taught me a lot in just the first three chapters. It is a book I tend to read one chapter per week just to process it. It is called-The Soul Of Shame- by Curt Thompson MD. He is a Christian and a board certified Psychiatrist. In the book, he explains the science behind the brain.

One of the things he talks about is the neuroplasticity of the brain and how our brains can continue to rewire-my wording not his. 🙂

As I was reading, the verse in Romans 12:2 came to my mind:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lo and behold as I read on, he quoted that exact verse. This is what he said:

“It is fair to say that although Paul was not a neuroscientist, he refers here to what we now see through the lens of neuroplasiticity. Renewal of the mind, therefore, is not just an abstraction, It means real change in real bodies”

We can renew our minds even if we are in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s etc. Unless a form of dementia has set in, our brains can rewire. We can learn new things about ourselves in relation to God. I wish to again share my little sister in Jesus Alicia’s post about biblical affirmations in her blog- The post is 22 God Is For Me Affirmations.

Biblical affirmations can be a great start to renewing our minds. Reading our bibles, listening to good bible teaching, reading books, listening to worship music, counseling and quality friendships are other great ways to renew our minds.

I love what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16:

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

If we let God’s word richly dwell in us, in our relationships, we can begin to enjoy the abundant life Jesus spoke about.

Because God has given us the Holy Spirit, we have the power from God to change, to renew our minds. We are never too old.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Biblical Affirmations vs The Secret

It has been on my mind recently to write about the difference between Biblical Affirmations and things such as ‘manifesting’ and things like The Secret. Yesterday I read a wonderful post by my little sister in Jesus Alicia of, In her post yesterday she shared-22 Biblical Affirmations. She also shared about her journey of seeking healing in her life. The affirmations she shared are wonderful for all of us.

So how do Biblical Affirmations differ from The Secret or things like it? It all has to do with what they are based upon in the first place.

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Biblical Affirmations are based on the Word of God. They are based on what God has already told us such as if we believe in Jesus, we can say we are a child of God. Isaiah 55:11 says:

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

When we remind ourselves of what God has said by using Biblical Affirmations, we are basing them on God not ourselves. Therefore, they are eternally solid.

People who use The Secret or things similar are basing it on themselves putting something out into the universe to basically summon the universe into action on their behalf. It puts themselves at the center not God. I am not saying it won’t work at times. but we must be careful about who is behind it. We need to remember that Satan and his demons work through deception and want nothing more than to distract us from Jesus or to misdirect those who believe in Jesus. It causes the image in my mind of rubbing the bottle for the genie to grant wishes/

When we remind ourselves of Biblical Affirmation, we are basing them on God and what he has already revealed. When we pray in faith, we are basing that on God as well, but trusting him for the results. When we pray, we also remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

When we pray, we do so knowing that God already knows what we need, what our problems, are etc. We pray to our Father in heaven who loves us passionately, not to some impersonal universe. God is deeply relational and personally involved in our lives.

I would encourage every one to read Alicia’s post and remind themselves of the wonderful Biblical Affirmations she shared.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

May- Mental Health Awareness Month

There are lyrics from the song Carried Me With You that say:

You’re the soul who understands
The scars that made me who I am

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“The scars that made me who I am” are fitting lyrics for people dealing with Mental Health issues. Many people who struggle with anxiety, depression, past trauma, have scars from life that made them who they are today. What they need is a soul who understands not stigma.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The question really is whether we are willing to be a soul that understands and not judge.

If we stop to think about it, the brain is a physical part of the body. Therefore it is possible for there to be a physiological cause of mental health issues. More and more research is coming out showing that past trauma can affect the brain.

Let’s follow the example of Jesus who is our Sympathetic High Priest. Jesus said in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Jesus wants to give rest for those who suffer. What is our response?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Question for My Readers

I am working on two writing projects. One is about my life journey ranging from growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and mentally mother, head trauma, a health crisis, and how I came to know Jesus along the way, to where I am now. It is more of a testimony. The other is a bible study guide about living with trauma and how Jesus can help.

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So I am toying with the idea of combing the two into one with the bible study guide being the second part.

Please let me know your reaction. Separate books or combined?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Wants to Free Us from Shame

When Jesus died on cross, he died for our sins so we could be forgiven 100%. That alone is the best news.. There is more that perhaps we do not talk about enough. When Jesus died on the cross, he made the way for us to have a relationship with God. We can be reconciled with God 100%.

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But what about the effects of sins committed against us? What about the shame we might carry in our spirits because of past abuse, neglect, assault etc? Survivors of sins committed against us tend to live with shame.

Isaiah 53:4 says:

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Any suffering we have endured, Jesus took upon himself on the cross.

Isaiah 53:5 says:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus died for our sins and more than that so we can be made whole.

I love the principle behind Zephaniah 3:19:

At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame.

While that is a direct reference to Israel being brought back from exile, there is a principle to embrace. God will deal with those who have harmed us and will bring us to a place of honor.

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It is not easy to do and therapy and pastoral counseling can help. Releasing someone who has harmed us to God’s hands is a freeing experience for us. God does not want us living with shame because of what others have done to us. He wants to make us whole in him. He wants to give us a new identity as a daughter or son of God.

God wants us to step out of the shadows of shame in live in the light of his love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Trauma The Invisible Prison

Anyone who has experienced trauma, whatever the cause, can feel like they are living in an invisible prison trapped by the memories of the trauma. Others may not see the trauma a person lives with but for the one living with it, it is a constant companion no one wants. It is like being taken captive.

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The good news is that Jesus has come to set the captives free. His gentle touch can bring healing to our souls, minds, and spirits. He can do his work through people such as therapists, counselors, pastors and friends.

It is important to remember a few things First, it is okay to try different therapists to find one you feel you can connect with. Second, sharing with a friend choose someone you trust to keep what is shared confidential. Lastly, with a pastor share with one who has an understanding of the need for counseling.

Remember it is okay to need help and to ask for help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.