Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘healing’

Wounded by Friends

Caring about others makes you vulnerable in many ways.  The hurts our friends receive hurt us too.  We rise to their defense.  Those are hurts that can accomplish good.  They make us love harder and share one anothers’ burdens. We grow in strength together.

There are other shared hurts that can be deadly.  Our friends’ weaknesses can partner with our own and pull us both into deeper troubles.

But there’s an even greater vulnerability of friendship.  Sometimes friends directly hurt us…they betray us, accuse us of wrong, deceive us or abandon us.  The one we stood by leaves us high and dry.  The one we defended attacks us.

Those wounds are deep.   Does it seem odd that the wisdom of Proverbs says it is good?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful.  Proverbs 27:6

All hurts have the potential to open our heart to new depths of Christ’s healing love.  Every wound has the possibility that Joseph declared in Genesis:  ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good…for the saving of many lives.’  When we take our wounds to the Healer, new legacies are born…eternal promises unfold.

One wound we all share is the grief when a loved one dies.  As I write this, my own heart aches at the loss of a precious 21 year old.  A young man with a gentle and kind heart who had a smile for everyone he met.  A young man who fell into the bondage of addiction; a young man whose life was stolen away.  He left behind many wounded, crying hearts. My hope-filled prayer is that his chains will open the way for many to experience the truth of his favorite song.

At first glance, the song is a cruel irony.  This young man loved Jesus, yet his chains were not broken.  Some might think Jesus was not a faithful friend or that the devil and drugs had more power.  Those are lies.  The devil is a defeated foe; an earthly life was taken, but seeds for eternal life were sown.  The unbroken chains of my young friend (whose own heart was broken by his own captivity) are piercing hearts that Jesus longs to heal.

Will we who know the Healer speak clearly about Jesus?

There is a desperate need in our world for loving, confident voices of hope.  In Psalm 51, David–the man after God’s own heart–cried out in sorrow over his own sin but confidence in God’s kindness, “…a broken heart you will not despise” he says to God.

David understood that the walk of faith is not based on sinless perfection or the right actions of others.  He also understood the pain of honest confession and the humility needed to receive God’s plan.  The kindness of God does not create a sugar-coated, life of ease on earth.

The kindness of God brings about purposes of eternal good–and untangling our sins often creates heartaches.  Faith does not always know ‘why’ but it understands heartache prepares ground for the good purposes of God!

God does what it takes to draw hearts to Him.  Horribly hard consequences came from the sin David wept over.  God forgave him but warned him a sword would slash through his family.  The consequences, though, didn’t wipe out the promises made to David decades before::

“…the LORD himself will establish a house for you…I will raise up your offspring…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father, he will be my son….My love will never be taken away from him…Your house and your kingdom will endure forever…”  2 Samuel 7:12-17

 

God is faithful to His promises; we can reap the rewards of David’s promises too.  Centuries after David died our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ entered his family.  At least a dozen times, Scriptures refers to Jesus as the Son of David.  God was faithful to His promise.  The Messiah, Immanuel – God with Us – breaks legacies of sin when broken hearts are brought to Him for healing.

Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and give us abundant life.  He died for our sins…and the hurts caused by sin.  We are never more unfaithful to Jesus than when we fail to receive healing for our wounds.

The wounds of life have purpose and beautiful potential when we place them in the loving hands of Jesus.

When we hold on the hurts, our voices are silenced.  We are like the addict, self-absorbed with meeting our own needs.  We never mean to hurt another.  We simply feel hopelessly trapped in our own hurt, clouded by our own questions.  The lies of the enemy loom so large that we can’t see Jesus.  We can’t give hope to others because we have not received it for our self!  The life Jesus died to give us is silenced.  We dishonor His work on our behalf; we are faithless friends.

Jesus shows us how to deal with unfaithful friends…with friends who use us, reject us, neglect us, abandon us.  Jesus died for friends like that.  He surrendered to the will of the Father; He lived out love to the end.  We are not separated from His love by the heartaches of life IF we give them to Him.  Then He plants His own life, and we become fields where hope blooms.

Do you have hard spots in your heart…spots that throb with anger, resentment and hurt…spots that have hurt so long numbness is all you feel?  Do you have habits you can’t break, relationships you can’t heal?  Let Jesus break your heart wide open.   He is the faithful friend who will heal every hurt.  Then receive the Living Word, let it take root and share it with the hurting world around you.  

Healing Relationships

Messy relationships are part of life and…

Loving others is our spiritual service as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1)!

Continuing with our focus that Relationships Matter,  let’s begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love so we can have healthy relationships!

The heart of man reflects a man…that is why it is critical to understand and utilize our emotions.  The pure in heart see God; if I am seeing ‘yuck,’ my heart needs some purifying!  God seeks relationship with all of us at all times.  He looks to who we were created to be, not who we are at the moment.  My relationships with others are a tool He uses to transform me because they expose my heart!

Living from emotions as if they were truth is a deadly practice.  Learn to listen to emotions not as ‘truth’ but as indicators of heart issues.  Emotions come before actions and words, but they follow thoughts.  We are not at the mercy of our thoughts; in fact, we are commanded to manage them.  Thoughts can be true or false; we are responsible to know the difference and choose Truth!  Freedom to choose responses instead of being enslaved to reactions requires digging through the dirt and building your life on Truth.  The work is worth it; here’s a tool that helped me!

Resentment, anger and rejection are common relationship issues.  Understanding the Truth Roots of each is a powerful shield against destructive reactions.

Resentment often flows from expectations that have not been met.  We establish a standard that we live by for ‘right actions’ and expect others to accept our definition.  Our standard may be ‘right’ but imposing our expectations on another is not right. Other times our expectations are unrealistic, sometimes faulty—and often even unspoken.  Regardless, our expectations are ours.  Any problem arising from our expectations means we need to take them  to the Lord.

Journaling helps me in this process.  If I find resentment blocking me from the presence of God, I immediately stop and ask for clarity on what I am resenting.  The Holy Spirit is a real presence who helps us!  (John 14:26)  Simply writing down my resentment often improves my perspective.  Other times I have to ask God to heal a hurt from a loved one.  The wounds of our friends are precious; we need not fear the pain.  Our Savior is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53) and our faithful healer.  Taking my resentments to God is part of His plan for purifying my heart.  His healing love is a priceless treasure.

Relationship struggles remind us that our hope is in God alone.  It is He who works in others, setting the expectations for them (as well as us).  It is He who grants us favor with others (or not!).  He orchestrates all!  We can trust His standards and His work in us and others.

Please note: expectations are not boundaries.  Boundaries are healthy and necessary in every relationship.  Asking something of another is part of every relationship.  What we ask will always be for the good of both participants in the relationship…and it will always be an ask not a demand.  Asking allows for a no that does not generate rejection or bullying.  The softness of our heart—and our reactions to wounds from another—should not be sharp or edgy when our ‘ask’ is refused.  Unconditional love has boundaries, but that love is not given based on whether the boundaries are honored or ignored.  The love remains despite the actions of the other.  

Anger develops from unmet expectations that grow into rights.  The perceived violation of those rights generate anger.  In anger, two pathways emerge: one masquerades as strength, the other as weakness.  Both are deceptive paths of destruction—personal and relational.  The path of pride produces presumption—arrogance and disrespect for others (and God).  The other path offers despair and hopelessness.  It cries victim and weakness…and often manifests as depression.

Rejection—both the feeling and the act—brings death to the relationship and decay to the individuals.  Separating from another person may give an illusion of relief but does nothing to resolve the underlying issues.  Resentment and anger continue developing roots in the soul.  They are the ‘bitter roots that defile many.’  Rejection is not the way of God; not His desire for us or others.  The roots of rejection must be eradicated; the love of God is the only power capable of victory!

To know the love of God

is to be filled with the

FULLNESS OF GOD!

Loving others requires that we first be loved by God.  All of life has the potential to guide us into greater knowledge of God, but all of life seeks to draw us away from Him too!  The choice is ours to make when we know Jesus Christ.  In the next entry, we will explore choices and living with intention!  Don’t miss out:   Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.

 

 

What is Cross-Life Coaching?

Growing up spiritually does not just ‘happen.’  The Apostle Paul said we must ‘work out what God has put in us.’  When I accepted Christ as Lord–as opposed to a ticket out of hell–I had trouble finding folks who could articulate the Way to do that.  They told me ‘read the Bible,’ ‘do this’ and ‘do that.’  They were not wrong, but I needed more. Living the ‘Cross-Life’ involves changing habits and attitudes.

I would have loved a Cross-Life Coach to move me forward in my journey in those early days.  And that is why I now offer Cross-Life Coaching to those who feel the same way.

I believe with all my heart that JESUS is the answer to every problem we face in life.  I also know that many good Christians struggle to figure out HOW He is the answer.

We get stuck on our own; we need more than words and insights.  We need another person to come along side us. Church fellowships, friends who share our faith beliefs and pastors are valuable resources.  Sometimes, though, those resources do not extend to the depth desired.

It is my personal joy to walk alongside many in the capacity of sister-in-Christ.  Coaching is more deliberate and intensive.  It establishes goals and digs deeply into the heart to enlarge the capacity for Christ-likeness.   Coaching involves ‘homework’ and ‘heartwork.’ It is a labor intensive prospect.

WHY would I use Cross-life Coaching?

Cross-life Coaching is all about achieving potential…about being all that God created you to be.    It is for the person who wants more from life!  It is for the person who sees what they do with life as their thank-you gift to God!

Cross-Life Coaching is designed for all who:

  • feel ‘stuck’ in a certain behavior pattern or situation.
  • believe there is more to living the Christian life than they currently enjoy.
  • want to identify and remove barriers to abundant living.
  • seek clarity on expectations, goals and life purpose.
  • long to live with their eyes focused on eternal impact.

WHAT kind of things will come up?

Cross-Life Coaching is personal.  The life of faith is lived out individually but abundant living involves some common areas:

  • Knowing God More
  • Developing as His Disciple
  • Healing from Hurts
  • Giving God Glory by Sharing Your Hope
Give me a hope, M.G. Kafkas

Give me a hope, M.G. Kafkas

How can I learn more?

Free from the Past!

‘Don’t cry over spilled milk,’ says the old adage.  ‘What’s done is done,’ we say.  Is it true?  Is there no hope in the past?  I believe Scripture tells us differently.

The lens of faith transforms the darkest images.

In Joel chapter 2, verse 21 we read “the LORD will do great things.”  Joel continues in verse 25 with:

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

There is nothing in our past that God has not allowed.  It may not have been what He longed for us to have…sin and its consequences are never His desire…but He allows anything that can draw us closer to Him.  The call of God is always “Where are you?” because the desire of God is always that we will choose to be where He is!  Time does not confine God.  He was, is and always will be.  Taking the time to find Him in the hurts of the past brings healing to the present.

Nothing that happens—past, present or future—is devoid of the presence of God.  When we purpose to look for Him in the difficult things of our lives, we find healing!  Fear traps us in the traumas of life…faith frees us.  God promises we are never alone.  He is always faithful to His promises.

Living in the hurts of the past effectively nullifies the work of the Cross in today.

When we allow Jesus to walk in the depths of our pain, He touches us with love that brings peace.  Many of us learn to isolate emotions, to pack them away because they terrify us; it feels as if the pain is a tidal wave that will drown us.  Jesus walks on water…He quiets storms.  Let him into those reservoirs of fear and He will transform them to rivers of living water for others.

In the Old Testament we read that curses last for three or four generations.  We see generational curses all around us:  legacies of shame, rebellion and violence.  Every individual has opportunity to take the inheritances of yuck and let Jesus transform them into generational blessings.  The curses are short-lived in comparison:  blessings pass on to thousands of generations.  Take the hard stuff you have endured to Jesus; let Him speak life into you that blessings might flow forth from you.

 “Joy in the Journey” – Tools for Spiritual Growth helps those who wish to unpack the treasures God deposited in those tough times.  To be sure you hear about other new tools, sign up for Glory Glimpses, the newsletter for this site!

 

Lifemanship

It is my joy to share the excitement of our recent training on ‘Relationships.’  For three days, my daughter, Riesa and our friend Debbie invested our hearts and minds (and bodies) into understanding Relationship Principles that can be visibly demonstrated with horse and human interaction.  I am excited about the content and looking forward to building it into a discipleship model that helps Christians walk out Truths we believe.

In my delight, I wanted to share a teaser glimpse of Lifemanship and what you can expect to read more about in coming months.  As a curriculum/practice, Lifemanship weaves neuroscience, counseling theory, and equine science into the context of free will and building relationships.

Relationships are understood as the basis for whole and healthy living.  God, of course, is my role model for ‘doing life,’ so His way of doing relationship is the only one to emulate.  Lifemanship has captured that in a powerful way.  Every relationship is built on FREE WILL.  Both parties have to choose to be in relationship with one another.  Scripture is clear:  God invites us to connect with Him!

Another principle is that relationships involve give and take.  Committing to a relationship means committing to communication that shares and sticks with requests.  Lifemanship offers principles (tools) to make that happen.  One such principle is mutual benefit:  if something is good for me but not you–it is not good for our relationship!  The life of faith attests to this principle:  God never asks of us anything that is for less than our best…and it gives Him glory when we engage with Him.

Spirit Reins in Texas is a ministry that utilizes the curriculum in a powerful way.  I invite you to watch this little video…and as the Lord leads, please pray as we seek to understand more of this curriculum, practice its methodology and look for ways to share it with others!

Spirit Reins

Fresh Look at the Past is another page on this website that offers help today for those with relationships that hurt.

 

Can ‘good’ Christians get depressed?

The account of Elijah in I Kings 19 encourages anyone who has ever suffered with discouragement, despair and despondency.  The great prophet reveals to us that no one is exempt from depression. Followers of God—sincere followers of God—still err and still suffer.  Wrong attitudes, misplaced focus and mis-understandings deluge all of us!  May God give us insights as we examine some of this great man’s life. (Please note:  This is one story of depression.  While some work of the enemy is involved in every dis-ease, every story is unique.  This is not a pointing fingers, diagnosis piece on depression.  There is help; there is hope but there is no short-cut.)

His name is a great starting point:  Yahweh is my God.  Elijah lived at the time of history when Baal worship entered into the Nation of Israel.  Often pictured with a belt around his waist, the Truth of the identity of God (Ephesians 6) defines Elijah.  He courageously proclaimed the greatness of God with his words and way of life.  Fed by ravens during a prophesied drought, sustained by miraculous provision to a widow in Zarephath and confirmed by God with fire that devoured a water-logged sacrifice, Elijah knew the power of God.

But he also knew despair that left him begging to die.  What happened?

His crash into despair came after a major battle (and victory) against the prophets of Baal.  Despite the clear testimony of Truth in that battle (1 Kings 18:20-40), Elijah ran for his life at the threatening words of Jezebel, the evil Queen.  Leaving his personal servant, Elijah chose to flee alone.  Both actions are common to those battling depression:  running away and isolating oneself.

What happened? Clearly, Elijah turned his eyes from God and opened his ears to the lies of the enemy.  Fear entered his heart.  Fear is a foe we must recognize—and fight.  

Running leads us to the pit of despair.  We are created for fellowship.  Self-doubt  and self-pity then crushed Elijah’s spirit.  He began to beg God to let him die.  Here we see another common error that darkens our lives:

We forget that it has never been about our power or ability!

Our great and gracious God then revealed his tender care by sending an angel to bake food for Elijah.  Nowhere do we read of God telling Elijah to set out on this headlong rush into the desert:  the plan was all Elijah’s but God did not leave him alone.  He cared for him and nurtured growth in this great prophet even as he failed to trust the One he served.  When Elijah arrives at his self-determined destination of Mount Sinai, God asks Elijah a very important question:

 “What are you doing here?”

It is a question God asks each of us when we wander from trusting Him. It’s not that God doesn’t know where we are; He wants us to recognize it.  Confident he is totally right and filled with faith (he just vanquished the false prophets, didn’t he?), Elijah speaks from the same place we often live:  blindness to his own self-centered perspective.

I worked hard for you.  They have been bad.  I fought for you.  I am alone and in danger.” 

God did not defend His own honor; He did not chastise Elijah. God simply told Elijah to go stand on the mountain.  

Waiting for God is part of the recovery process!  

Elijah obeyed and witnessed the battering wind, the shaking of an earthquake and the devastation of fire.  When all those passed, the presence of the LORD came in the quiet.  Elijah stepped out of his hiding place but not out of his stubbornness.  The holy presence of God left him unmoved from his place of self-pity and pride. Recovery (and repentance) take time.  God is merciful:  he gives us time to figure things out!

The life of faith is not without error and failings…nor is it without mercy & grace!

God did not demand an apology or upbraid Elijah for his struggle. It is in our weakness that God’s strength is perfected.  God is not surprised by our failures; He has us covered!  God simply gave Elijah the instruction, “Go.”  Just as ‘wait’ is part of the recovery process, so is ‘go.’  Pressing forward from the hard times helps us get back to seeing God with clearer focus.

God was not done with Elijah.  He is not done with us!  

Elijah still had work to do.  It was challenging work; work that would bring battering winds and earth-shaking events to the ones who were rebelling against God.  Work that would bring the still small voice of God to those who were listening.

“Go back the way you came,” he told Elijah.

As Elijah obeyed, he found Elisha, the one he was to mentor and guide to greatness.  Together, they nurtured many in the school of prophets.  At the end of his earthly walk, God whisked Elijah away in a chariot of fire.  Despair and failure are part of this life.  We don’t need to run in fear.  Walk back, face the things that blinded you to the Truth of God and then go on with life.  Ask God to lead you to the help you need in the process.  Don’t try to go it alone!  We are made for each other.  There is work to be done and glory to receive!

 

 

 

The Great Barrier to Peace

One of the most difficult things in life is forgiving those who hurt us–or the ones we love.  Forgiveness is never for the offender, though.  Forgiveness frees us!  I am excited to share another ‘taste’ of the spiritual journaling book.

Working through Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to LIVE the Gospel in the most tangible way possible.  Practicing forgiveness is an immense privilege!  In it, we share the fellowship of Christ’s suffering:

Matthew 6:9-15 (v 12) _______________ says to forgive.

Mark 11:25 …so that Your Father in heaven may _________________.

Matthew 18:21-35  Forgiveness sets _________________.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Prevents ______________ from gaining a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Measure of the _____________ I have received.

Romans 8:28 All of life is Father-filtered.  All works for the _________!

Now even with all those encouragements, forgiveness is hard!  One technique which helps is learning to separate the person from the sin.  Jesus did it.  On the Cross–as He suffered and faced the horrifying time of separation from the Father, he said:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  

The soldiers knew they were crucifying him, but they didn’t understand the fullness of their acts.  The same is true for those who hurt us (and those we hurt).  Mercy triumphs!

The details matter in forgiving.  Blanket statements will not suffice; be specific in forgiving:

“I forgive ______________ for ________________.”

Face the emotion(s) knowing there is nothing Jesus cannot heal.  A friend uses a rhyme that helps me in times of deep hurt:  “I will feel it because Jesus will heal it.”  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and ask Jesus to come to it, through it and take it away.  Jesus is unchanging and His presence still heals.

When you have soaked in the beauty of Christ’s presence, you will see the past in a new light.  What had been hurt becomes a spot sweetened by the presence of God.  

Alongside that aspect is this: time and maturity offers a different perspective.  Sometimes a fresh perspective eliminates what had been a wound.  In either scenario, awareness of the presence of God brings light to darkness.  

Allowing the past to have a hold on you negates the work of the Cross.  There is nothing Jesus has not atoned for…the price has been paid.  

 

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