It still does not feel real, but it is about the become very real. I met with my friend Ellen from church. She is very talented at graphic design. After reading a draft of my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma, she designed the book cover for me.
We will meet next Friday and hopefully publish it and my other book Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations.
My hope and prayer is for Jesus to work through my books to free people up and to draw people to him. As I shared yesterday in my post, Two Friends As Teens/Two Different Paths In Life, by God’s grace my life has meaning and purpose. That is more fully developed in my other upcoming book Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations.
I am so thankful for those who have prayed for me in this process. I am also thankful for input from my pastor and from my therapist.
What a difference Jesus makes in a life. I have a reminder of that often when I check my Facebook. One of my FB friends is someone I used to hang out and party with when I was a teen. We both had family problems growing up and were looking for escape. But out lives took very different paths.
My therapist one time said to me, “You did not become a statistic. People who go through what you did growing up often become drug addicts, alcoholics, in prison or dead. You are not only a survivor. You are a victor.”
I give all of the credit to Jesus and how he has worked in my life. He has given my life meaning and purpose. He has blessed me with sharing his love with people from all over the world. He has blessed me to be able to become a teacher and in part-time ministry.
When I see my friend from years ago post on FB, I am saddened by what his life has been and become. He still struggles with escaping through alcohol and has not changed much over the years. He has never had a career. He is stuck in the condition we were both in as teens,
When I see his posts, the phrase ‘there but by the grace of God go I’ comes to mind. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that my path in life has taken a different course. I am so thankful for the difference Jesus has made in my life and the path he has led me on.
We sang this in worship yesterday. I love this song so much. Jesus is the answer to so many woes in this life. I have witnessed Jesus change lives, bring hope where there was no hope, free lives from addiction and more.
I have experienced for myself what Jesus can do. He has freed me from the effects of trauma. He has lifted me out of the pit in life and given my life a whole new meaning and purpose reaching out to the nations in my city.
My hope and prayer for my upcoming books is that Jesus works through them to draw people to himself and free them.
Yesterday evening while having dinner with friends. one of my friends observed, :”that must have been scary last week when you were in the ER.” My response might surprise some. My response was, “yes it was but that is in the past now. It is not happening now.”
Staying present in the moment is not a new concept. Jesus spoke about it over two thousand years ago when he said in Matthew 6:34:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus was teaching to focus on today, on the present here and now. Yes we make plans, but we do not live in tomorrow nor do we live in yesterday.
Paul touched on not living in yesterday when he wrote in Philippians 3:13:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead
Don’t get me wrong. I struggle as much as anyone with the practice of beating myself up about the past and anxiety about something coming in the future like having to go to the doctor. My response to my friend’s insight surprised me as well. But that fear that was gripping me last Wednesday is not with me anymore. The problem that brought to the ER is not a problem for me today. It is in the past and it can stay there, 🙂
But what would God want us to remember from the past?
1 Chronicles 16:12 says:
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
Remember the things God has done for us. This helps us when we face current difficulties. It helps us to remember how God came through for us.
We leave the negative stuff behind, remember God working in our lives, focus on today, and have hope for tomorrow knowing that Jesus is always with us.
Can you guess where I am now? If you said the coffee shop, you would be correct. I made it out for a while after being cooped up for most of the week I am finally on the mend and have a it of energy. But I am so behind on my blog and fellow bloggers after a week of mostly only laying in bed. It is time to catch up.
This week will be warmer in my area. I know that others in my state like Alicia of forhispurpose.blog have a lot of snow that needs to melt away, but not in my city. It will be in the 50f/10c most of the week or a bit warmer. That amounts to a heat wave in these parts. Brenda of becominghistapestry.com is loving the winter weather in her area. How is winter in your area? I hesitate to ask because I know that Gary of garyfultz.com thrives on winter, ice fishing, etc. Then there is David of davidsadailydose.org who lives in southern climate and misses out on all of the fun. He is probably enjoying a picnic today. 🙂
Just giving shout outs to a few friends.
Back to my coffee outing. I must still be a bit spacey because guess who forgot to bring his wallet? Yes I did. I must have something like frequent flyer miles because the barista told me not to worry and let me have a cup with a refill free of charge saying that I am in here a lot.
I was thinking today about memories. We all have those memories we beat ourselves up with of past failures and sins. There are two verses that come to mind that I think should shape how we talk to ourselves.
Hebrews 8:12 says:
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
If God does not remember our sins against us, why beat ourselves up for past failures. Learn from them yes, but let the memories of them drag us down, NO.
Hebrews 6:10 says:
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
What God does remember are the work we do and love we show in his name towards others. This shows me what we should focus on-the here and now and living for Jesus letting God take care of those memories.
It feels good to be at my coffee shop and to have the tangible reminder about memory. Maybe it is a good thing that I forgot my wallet. 🙂
I watched a movie over the weekend, which was Violet starring Olivia Munn. In the movie she plays the part of a woman dealing with negative voices in her mind always tearing her down as a result of growing up with a verbally abusive mother. As someone who grew up in a family with two abusive parents, I could so relate to the character she played.
There are voices competing for our attention, our own inner voices, voices of others, and even the voice of the deceiver Satan. Darkness loves to jump on people to drag them further down.
Jesus talked about his voice and those who follow him. In John 10:3-65we read:
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
It is so important to learn to listen to his voice. His voice guides us and gives us life. In John 10:10 Jesus said:
:The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
There are voices that seek to destroy us like a death of a thousand cuts slowly and repeatedly over time. By contrast, Jesus’s motivation is to give us life to the full. He brings healing to our lives. He gives our lives new meaning and purpose.
We can learn to listen to Jesus’s voice by spending time reading the bible, listening to worship music, spending time in prayer, and having friends we trust who will speak truth into our lives. It can also help to meet with a therapist or a pastor to sort things out.
Choosing which voice to pay attention to is a continual battle, but well worth it if we choose the voice of our Savior Jesus who loves us.
In a conversation about trauma the other day, I was shown an illustration of balls in jars. The first set showed the balls getting smaller with the caption, “some think grief/trauma shrinks in size.” The second set showed the balls staying the same size and the jars getting bigger with the caption, “but we actually grow beyond and around the grief/trauma..”
I thought about the illustration and want to modify it.
After his resurrection the scars were still there on Jesus’s side, wrists, and feet. There was still evidence of the trauma he endured on our behalf when he died on the cross for us, but through his resurrection he had overcome the trauma of the cross. He overcame on our behalf too.
My modification to that illustration would come from a principle from Philippians chapter 3.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord
While Paul was directly addressing how his past earthly successes he considered to be nothing compared to having Jesus, there is a principle here- knowing Jesus surpasses everything.
In my life trauma has come in three forms, which my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma goes into. Those three areas of trauma did not disappear. What has happened though is that the more I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the less hold those three areas have over me and on me.
Yes the scars are there, but knowing Jesus, having a relationship with Jesus, has diminished the role those three areas of trauma have in my life like the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus says- the things of earth will grow dim.
Hey, there, my dear friends. Things are…as they are. Well and yet unwell in my heart all at the same time. Depression doesn’t take a day off, but managing the moments with my Father’s gentle hand. And finally, after months, a poem came to me. Yes, it’s about the one thing that dominates my being […]
Yesterday was World Mental Health Day to raise awareness about mental health. In honor of that, I would like to share a thought with you. Did you ever think about the fact that Jesus understands anguish?
The night before Jesus was crucified he went to the garden to pray. In Matthew 26::38 he said to his disciples:
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Luke 22:44 gives a little more insight to what Jesus was experiencing at the moment.
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Jesus knew he was about to be tortured and crucified, so he was filled with anguish.
When we come to Jesus in prayer, we are praying to someone who understands anguish, someone who understands emotional pain.
If we struggle with depression or anxiety, we can come to Jesus in prayer knowing he has experienced sorrow and anguish.
My pastor asked me three questions after reading my draft of my book Jesus Understands Trauma. They are not easy ones to answer, but I realized they need to be addressed. I had a bit of writers block until Sunday. A new friend I met at the coffee shop asked me how my book was coming Sunday afternoon. When she asked, it sparked my writing.
Yesterday in my session with my therapist Dezirae I shared about the questions my pastor asked. When I read the questions to her, she said, “I like your pastor.” We had a good discussion about the questions.
So my book that I hoped to publish in September will be published hopefully later this month. You might be wondering what those questions were, so here they are:
“why doesn’t God take trauma away and heal me right away? Why linger? – why does God allow trauma, pain, abuse to happen? – how should I think, relate to, forgive my abusers?”
I know my answers to the questions but it is writing them that takes time to process. Side note- I am so glad I can do it on a computer because it is so much easier. 🙂