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Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts

Monday, August 23, 2021

He Calls Me Out Upon the Waters – Finding Him in the Mystery - Purity 504


He Calls Me Out Upon the Waters – Finding Him in the Mystery                                                                                                                                                               

Purity 504 08/23/2021  Purity 504 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s epic shot of a solitary figure walking into the surf on one of the beaches of the Hamptons of Long Island under a blazing sun comes to us from a friend who spent the weekend there with friends and who has a history of bravely walking into the thick of things to help others. My friend’s bravery has been evidenced in their life history as they have not only served our country with military service but have also met the pain of loss to suicide by volunteering for , and leading, the cause of suicide prevention in their local community. So to see my friend enjoy the summer season and the company of friends fills my heart with joy.   

This scene reminds me of the Hillsong United song, “When Oceans Rise”, that begins:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown
Where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours
You are mine

As we are called into another work week and may have to clean up some damage done over the weekend, we really don’t know what challenges we will face in the “great unknown, where feet may fail”.

Last week, I visited with friends who were hosting some unexpected house guests, a couple who were old friends that were drawn to the capital district because one of their parent’s health deteriorated quickly and whose life was expiring.  While my friends and their guests are Christians and were meeting the inevitability of loss with their faith, the stress of the situation and the uncertainty were paying a toll on all the parties involved so our small group prayed for our friends to have strength, compassion, and guidance in the days ahead last week.

Little did we know at the time, but the night we prayed for the situation, the house guests’ beloved parent would be called into eternity. The house guests returned home, and my friends attended the funeral this past Friday.  

They stated that whole situation was hard, but they were glad that they had made their home available to their friends and were there to support them in their time of need. They also testified to the fact that everyone’s faith in Christ was a tremendous comfort and that our prayers for strength, compassion, and guidance were answered.  

Even though we may walk through tough times in life, when the oceans are deep, and waters of trials and tribulations rise, when we have a relationship with  God through faith in Jesus Christ, we will “find Him in the mystery” by calling on His name and keeping our eyes above the waves.  When our worlds are turned upside down by changing circumstances and loss, if we keep our eyes on the Lord, our faith will stand because He will never leave us or forsake us. He makes a way for us in this life and prepares a place for us beyond it.    

So keep your eyes above the waves and keep walking and talking with God. He calls us to walk towards Him through the waves of change in our lives, even on Mondays, and if we call upon His name. we will find Him in the mystery and feel the warmth and peace of His embrace, as we can confidently say to the Lord that: I am Yours, and You are mine.”


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Mark 12:30 (NKJV)
30  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus who informs us that we are to have an all-consuming love for the Lord. 

Forgive my silliness but as I wrote this I began to think about how we are to love the Lord and what that should like and as I contemplated it the word “devoted” came to mind as a description of the depth of feeling that we should have for the God who made us, gave us everything we have, and who loved us enough to show us the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to forgive us our sins and to provide us with mercy, grace, and a new and eternal life.   The word devoted triggered a memory of the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton John.   

That ballad from Grease, just spoke of the depth of feeling that a young woman had for her less than perfect beau who had temporarily “pushed her love aside” but was alas hopelessly devoted to him all the same.     

Unlike our human relationships, God is perfect and the depths of His goodness, wisdom, and love are limitless.  If we seek the Lord’s presence in our lives and seek to know Him more, all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength will become “hopelessly devoted” to Him. Our realization of His continual presence and His rule over the course of our lives will give us an idea of the great love He has for us even though we can be quite unlovable at times.  

While God is not pinning away for us like Olivia Newton John, He has been patient in waiting for us to accept His love and the new life He has for us.  

Some Christians come to God with great joy upon hearing the gospel, but as they still must walk through the troubles of this life and their prayers aren’t answered in the way that they wish, their hearts can grow cold toward God.  When that happens we lead a defeated life.

That’s why Christ reminds us that our first commandment is to love the Lord with such an intensity that we never forget what He has done for us, who He is, and the fact that He is actively working all things together for our good. 

That promise from Romans 8:28 is conditional. He works all things together for good only for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  As it turns out, today’s verse tells us that our purpose is to love Him.  

So remind yourself of the wonders of God’s love for you and endeavor to make a practice of reaching out to God with your heart. You don’t have to worry about Him “pushing your love aside”. Our devotion for God is not hopeless. Your love is never wasted on God. He can receive it and He loves to pour out His love for you in return.  So obey Christ’s first commandment and love God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength.   


As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 12.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

When You Are Tempted to Criticize or Reject Others


Focus on Responsibilities

Satan will also tempt us to focus on our rights instead of our responsibilities. For example, a husband may chip at his wife because he thinks he has a right to expect her to be submissive. A wife may nag her husband because she expects him to be the spiritual leader. Parents harass their children because they think it is their right to demand obedience. Members raise a stink in the local church when they think their rights have been violated by pastors, boards, or other church members.

Anytime a nation, a group of people, or even individuals focus on their rights at the exclusion of their responsibilities, they are going down. No culture can withstand that kind of self-centered orientation. Husbands, having a submissive wife is not your right; but being a loving, caring husband is your responsibility. Headship is not a right to be demanded but an awesome responsibility to be fulfilled.

Similarly, wives, having a spiritual husband is not your right; but being a submissive, supportive wife is your responsibility. Parents, expecting your children to obey you is not your right; but disciplining your children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord is your responsibility. Being a member of the Body of Christ and of a local church is an incredible privilege, not a right. This privilege comes with the awesome responsibility to behave as God's children and become a lover of God and people. When we stand before Christ, He will not ask us if we received everything we had coming to us. He will reward us for how well we fulfilled our responsibilities.

Don't Play the Role of Conscience

I grew up having a good, moral background and going to church, but I wasn't a Christian. In those days I really enjoyed beer, especially on a hot day after mowing the lawn. When I received Christ as a young man, I joined a church that preached total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. I didn't drink enough to be a drunk, so I decided to scratch that rule and have my occasional beer. Two years later the Lord brought a sense of conviction about my beer drinking. Along with the conviction came the power to obey, so I gave it up.

Sometimes we are tempted to play the role of the Holy Spirit or the conscience in someone else's life in areas where the Scriptures are not crystal clear: "Christians don't drink or smoke"; "You should spend at least 30 minutes a day in prayer and Bible study"; "Buying lottery tickets is not good stewardship."

I am convinced the Holy Spirit knows exactly when to bring conviction in matters of conscience. It is part of the process of sanctification that He superintends. When we attempt to play the role of the Holy Spirit in someone else's life, we misdirect their battle with God onto ourselves; and we are unqualified for the task. In doing so, we often do little more than convey criticism and rejection.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, July 30, 2021

Suddenly Mourning – Draw Close to God - Purity 484


 Suddenly Mourning – Draw Close to God  

Purity 484 07/30/2021  Purity 484 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo come to us from our friend Shane Onufrock who enjoyed this sunset while on vacation at Ocracoke Island in North Carolina on Tuesday with his dog PJ.  I normally don’t share the names of my friends in my daily posts but in this case I make an exception.  Unfortunately, this is one of the last photos that Shane will take of PJ, as the Onufrock’s beloved four-footed family member was lost to a tragic accident on Wednesday.  Shane expressed how much the shock and pain of this loss has rocked his family with the simple lament “God this hurts so much.”  

I share my friend’s love of his dog and the pain of his loss in hopes that you will join me in praying for comfort and peace for Shane and his family in the wake of this tragic and devastating loss.  As a Christian, I know that God hears our prayers and I know that He can provided us with comfort, peace, and strength to walk through the dark valleys of life. 

I also know that in times of mourning, the best gifts we can give to those who are suffering is our presence and care. We should avoid philosophizing a meaning to the loss and instead just be present and available for our friends who are suffering by listening and offering to help in whatever way we can.  

The cup of suffering will pass to us all at one time or another and the best thing we can do is to foster a deep relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ and to develop caring friendships of substance that won’t cut and run when the going gets tough.  

Christ Himself knew the pain of loss and wept. God understands our pain and offers us the peace that goes beyond understanding and the strength to walk through to brighter days that are in the distance beyond the shadows of mourning.    

So, be kind to one another, show your appreciation to your friends, your family, and yes even to your pets.  The relationships we cherish in our lives and the love that we have are a gift from God and when walk with Him He can ease our pain when we suffer loss and give us hope for the days ahead and the eternal life that we will share with Him where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow, and no more death.

     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (NKJV)
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Today’s verse reminds Christians that we belong to God and that our lives are to be a living sacrifice to give Him glory.   

The preceding verses in this section of scripture remind us of the spiritual reality that we are temples of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and we are not to use our bodies for sexual sin.   

In light of our modern society’s liberal views on sex, the biblical guidelines for keeping all sexual activity in the approved confines of marriage has taken a major blow as even professing Christians are involved in sexual relationship or who regularly practice masturbation with no serious conviction or intention to stop their sexual sin.      

Those outside the faith generally agree that if the activity is consensual there is nothing wrong with sex or masturbation.  Christian’s who practice the same sexual activity outside of marriage hold similar views and either dismiss the word of God’s commands to flee sexual immorality or merely lean on the grace of God to cover their multitude of sins with a licentious attitude and the self-admonition that they are powerless to change and they believe sexual purity is impossible.  

However celibacy is possible.   Humorously, a Google search of “Is celibacy possible?” will reveal a good deal of negative articles that question whether celibacy is bad for your physical and mental health but if you scroll through a few of those you will find material that states that people do indeed practice celibacy and recommend it.  And I am actually one of them, although if the right Christian woman would come along I would make her my wife and that change pretty quick.

Listen, before coming to Christ, I had sex that wasn’t under a marriage covenant and masturbated.  No matter how thrilling and pleasurable those experiences were, there was always a measure of guilt and shame that followed, usually right after giving in to sexual temptation.   Why do we feel guilt and shame if we “can do whatever we want”? 

For all mankind, any guilt and shame that we feel in regard to sex outside of marriage is part of our make-up that beyond society’s standards and rules, which are slipping more and every day, God has given each of us a conscience that tells us in our hearts what is right and wrong.   However, we can deaden our conscience with repeated sin.  

For the Christian, we are spiritual made a live with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence upon salvation, so we usually feel a higher degree of sensitivity to sin because the Holy Spirit is convicting us to drive us to repentance because our sin is no longer compatible with who we are in Christ.  

However, even the Christian can “quench the Spirit” or “grieve the Holy Spirit” with repeated sin. 

From my own experience as a carnal Christian in the early years of my faith, I can tell you that we can be spiritually blinded to the severity or meaning of our sins and still be convinced that we have “surrendered all to God”.  

But the good news is that if we choose to seek the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will give us revelations of our spiritual state and draw us and empower us to repentance.   

Today’s verse reminds us that when we made Christ our Lord and Savior we belong to Him now. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. 

Today’s verse also makes it clear that we are to give our bodies & spirits to the Lord to glorify Him. 

How do we glorify the Lord with our bodies? 

We glorify Him by not giving our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness.

We glorify Him by turning from our sexual sins and any sins that involve the use of our bodies.

But hear me when I say this, you will struggle mightily to obey the “rules” of not sinning on your own.  

Our repentance comes through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

We not only have to believe that God set us free from sin and death when we became His, we also have to live according to that belief.  The best way to live according to our faith is by having a daily spiritual practice in which we draw close to God by reading His word, by maintaining a continuous conversation of prayer with God throughout the day, and by choosing to live according to God’s ways rather than the ways of the world.  

Our victory comes from knowing we are bought and paid for by God, that we are His children now, and by choosing to commune with the Lord to live the life that He has prepared for us.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 9.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Renewing the Mind

Do we have to remain victims of these mental strongholds for the rest of our lives? Absolutely not! If we have been trained wrong, can we be retrained? If we have learned to believe a lie, can we now choose to believe the truth? If we have programmed our computers wrong, can they be reprogrammed? Absolutely, but we have to want to renew our minds. How? Our lives are transformed as we renew our minds through the hearing of God's Word, Bible studies, personal discipleship and Christ-centered counseling (see Romans 12:2). Because some of these strongholds are thoughts raised against the knowledge of God (see 2 Cor. 10:5), learning to know God as a loving Father and yourself as His accepted child is a starting place.

More is going on in your mind than prior negative conditioning. You are not just up against the world system in which you were raised and the resultant flesh patterns you have chosen to adopt. You are also up against the devil who is scheming to fill your mind with thoughts that are opposed to God's plan for you.

In addition to previous thoughts that formed mental strongholds, we have the present-day responsibility to manage our thoughts according to 2 Cor. 10:5: "We are taking every thought [noema] captive to the obedience of Christ." Why do these thoughts need to be taken captive? Because they are contrary to God's ways and they may be the enemy's thoughts.

Notice how Paul uses the word "thoughts" (noema) in 2 Corinthians in relation to Satan's activity. In 2 Cor. 3:14; and 2 Cor. 4:4, Paul reveals that Satan is behind the spiritual hardness and blindness of unbelievers: "But their minds [noema] were hardened.†.†.†. The god of this world has blinded the minds [noema] of the unbelieving."

Paul also states that Satan is deceiving and dividing believers: "I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds [noema] should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). We are not ignorant of his [Satan's] schemes [noema]" (2 Cor. 2:11).

Satan's strategy is to introduce his thoughts and ideas into your mind and deceive you into believing they are yours. It happened to King David. Satan "moved David to number Israel" (1 Chron. 21:1), an act God had forbidden, and David acted on Satan's idea. Did Satan manifest himself to David and audibly say, "I want you to number Israel"? I doubt it. David was a godly man and he wouldn't have obeyed Satan. What if Satan slipped the idea into David's mind in first-person singular? What if the thought came to David as, "I need to know how large my army is; I think I'll count the troops"? These were David's thoughts; at least he thought they were, but that isn't what Scripture says.

If Satan can place a thought in your mind—and he can—it isn't much more of a trick for him to make you think it is your idea. If you knew it was Satan, you would reject the thought, wouldn't you? When he disguises his suggestions as your thoughts and ideas, however, you are more likely to accept them. That is his primary deception.

I doubt that Judas initially realized it was Satan's idea to betray Jesus, but Scripture clearly reveals it was. "And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him" (John 13:2). Judas probably thought he was prompting Jesus to deliver Israel from the Romans. The fact that Judas was a thief was what made him vulnerable to Satan.

Ananias and Sapphira might have thought it was their idea to withhold some of their offering while getting the strokes and attention from others who believed they had given everything. If they knew it was Satan's idea, they probably wouldn't have done it, but Scripture clearly reveals the source of their thoughts. "Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?'" (Acts 5:3).

One of our Talbot students brought Tina to me for counseling. Tina was experiencing tremendous emotional difficulty as the result of an incredible background. As a child and teenager, she had witnessed sacrificial and ritual abuse and had repeatedly been violated sexually by her father, her brother and her brother's friend. She watched as her little pet puppy dog was sacrificed as a burnt offering in satanic worship.

Her hope for escaping her background was to enter the field of psychology. She finished her master's degree and tried to enroll in a doctoral program, but her personal life was in shambles.

I shared with Tina that Jesus Christ could set her free if she would open her life to Him. "Would you like to make that decision for Christ?" I asked.

She shook her head. "I'll do it later."

Having heard Tina's story, I was suspicious of what was going on in her mind. "Tina, are you hearing opposing thoughts to what I have been saying? They could be threatening you or me."

"Yes," Tina answered, her face blanched with shock and amazement.

"You're being told a lie, Tina, and Satan is the father of lies." I shared with her further from God's Word, and within 10 minutes she gave her heart to Christ.

If Satan can get you to believe a lie, you can lose some element of control in your life. Suppose I was devious and persuaded you to believe a lie. Would believing that lie have some effect on your life? Suppose I started a rumor that your spouse was unfaithful; and you heard it. Would believing that lie affect how you felt about your husband and how you related to him? Therefore, if you fail to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, you may be allowing Satan to influence your life in a negative direction.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Purity 410: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 410 05/05/2021  Purity 410 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s early April excursion to Joshua Tree National Park in California which is hailed on Google Maps as a “Desert destination with geologic wonders”.  They reported hiking the Arch Rock Nature Trail at the time and I do believe that the geologic wonder captured here is the “Arch Rock” itself. If you zoom in you will see some hikers underneath the arch to give you an idea of how massive this geologic wonder is!

It’s Wednesday today and what can I say I love getting over “hump day” by sometimes showing some of the natural peaks and valleys that God has provided us to enjoy.   

Of course this is also a desert photo and as flourishing as springtime can be, I realize the reality that some of us may be walking through a dry season of life as we experience moments of depression or anxiety due to the stagnant pace of life, unwelcomed changes, or due to traumatic losses.  Also, sometimes we could have made it through the dessert only realize that we have some scars that we ignored or didn’t tend to during our miraculous escape.  

May is mental health awareness month and recently I decided to do some selfcare and discovered a Christian divorce support group. Although I can bear testimony of God’s unbelievable mercy and guidance that brought me to the amazing views from my new home “down by the River”, I realized now that I have made it to the promised land it would be a good idea to maybe take a look at the things that I didn’t deal with as I was pushing towards my purpose of finding a new home and sanctuary for my family. 

I was nervous and apprehensive of course about going to a new place, meeting new people, and facing a part of my life that I am glad to have left behind but after settling in and meeting others that have faced similar heartaches and pain, I knew that it was a good idea. I think this group will not only be a good way to deal with the recent past but also give me guidance and strength to face the future.  The atmosphere of honesty and caring from people who have gone through, and are going through, similar trials was an immediate comfort and I realized that while I have persevered, I have more to learn about dealing with my divorce and may have something that I can contribute to someone else’s healing.  When you come into community to face a common problem, you can give and receive.

So whether you are currently in a dessert or have made it to the other side, I encourage you to learn from your experience and to reach out to help others who are facing similar trials. When you do, all parties benefit.   

And of course, just because this rocky desert scene may seem desolate when we are looking down in the dirt, if we look up we can see that there is an expansive blue sky above it that is stunningly beautiful.  When we look to the heavens, we instinctively know we are not alone.  

So wherever you are on your journey, connect with the Creator of all things and let Him know that you thank Him for His presence and for all the things He has provided in good times and bad. He can even provide us with others to lean on as we make our way out of the darkness.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Today’s verse comes from the mighty book of Romans, the book that caused the Protestant Reformation as Martin Luther discovered that the “just shall live by faith” in Romans 1:17, unlocking the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ that had been obscured and lost. Translating the Bible from the Latin to its original Greek made the gospel of grace clear as what was once rendered “penance” was correctly seen as repentance, meaning that salvation didn’t have to be bought or paid for by our hard work but was more rightly understood to be something that was granted to the believer for “changing His mind” and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Its from this contemplation of the amazing grace of God, to not demand our earning our salvation but freely giving it to us through Jesus Christ, that I would like to approach this verse.  

Paul’s long exposition on the amazing grace of God towards us leads us to this verse in Romans 12.   He beseeches us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.  In light of the mercies of God, Paul encourages us to give ourselves completely to God in an act of surrender that can only be considered reasonable.  

As Creator, He has provided everything we have ever had and everything that we are.    

As Redeemer, God has forgiven us everything we have ever done and is now welcoming us into His kingdom and the mysteries that lie beyond life and death.

Regardless of what happens in this world, He has given us life everlasting and promises to be with us always.  

Too often this verse gets skipped over because it may seem rather poetic, and it can seem to be accomplished with a simple affirmative response that is little more than mental ascent.  “You bet, Lord. I surrender. Now let’s get to verse 2 because I know I have to renew my mind”.  

But honestly, I think that the only way that we can truly work verse two, that instructs us to not be conformed to the world and to renew the mind, is to not gloss over verse 1 and to seriously present ourselves to God with the intention of being holy and acceptable to the Lord and surrendering ourselves to His service.   

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, God has given us everything. It is only our reasonable service to give Him all that we have to give and to walk in the way He calls us to go.  

I invite all to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue to share from Dr. H. Norman Wright’s “Experiencing Grief

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Wright’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

Chapter 25.
Trauma—the Deepest Wound

It's been said that it takes two years for the recovery a natural death. Untimely or sudden deaths, the age of the person, the violence of the death, how you heard about the death, or whether you saw it firsthand will intensify the length of recovery. If the death was traumatic for you, the recovery could extend for several years.

It's important for all of us to understand trauma. It's the feeling, "I just can't seem to get over it." When you experience trauma, you feel as out of control as a rider bucked off a horse in a rodeo. A traumatic experience literally disrupts the functioning of your mind and inhibits your ability to reason. It overwhelms your coping ability. It's too much. Trauma shatters your beliefs and assumptions about life, challenges your belief that you have the ability to handle life, and tears apart your belief that the world is safe. Trauma leads to silence; you won't have the words to describe it. Trauma leads to isolation; no one seems to understand the experience you had. Trauma leads to feelings of hopelessness; you feel there was no way to stop what happened or the memories.

Signs of Trauma

One of the main indicators that trauma may be part of a person's life is reexperiencing the trauma. Thoughts and pictures of what occurred in the form of dreams, nightmares, or even flashbacks may take up residence in your life. Sometimes they slip into your mind like a video stuck on continuous replay. This sensitivity can become so extreme that an event can trigger a flashback and make you feel and act as if you were experiencing the original trauma all over again. Again and again trauma interrupts life. It stops the normal process of life by its constant intrusion.

In a flashback, it's as though you leave the present and travel back in time to the original event. It seems so real. You see it, hear it, and smell it. Sometimes a person begins to react as if he or she were there. Many times a person is hesitant to admit this to others for fear of their reaction. A flashback is like a cry of something that needs to come out and does so in the only way it knows how. When survivors can talk about the trauma, write about it, and bring it to God in an honest and real way through worship, there isn't as great a need for this memory to be so intrusive in nightmares, images, or flashbacks.

Some reexperience the trauma through dreams, nightmares, or insomnia. A person may shake, shout, or thrash about during the dream. Even though the dream may not be remembered, the terror and fear experienced may be. Sometimes a person reexperiences trauma not through memories or images but through painful and angry feelings that seem to come out of nowhere. These feelings occur because they were repressed at an earlier time. Now the emotions are simply crying out for release.

Another way people reexperience trauma is through numbing and avoidance. It's painful to reexperience trauma. For some, it's agonizing. They want it to go away and disappear forever; but it doesn't, so the body and the mind take over to protect against the pain. This is done by emotional numbing. When numbing occurs, it can create a diminished interest in all areas of life. Some may feel detached from others around them, even the ones they love the most. Often there is no emotional expression because they've shut down everything. They tend to reduce their involvement in life.

Another characteristic of trauma involves a person's increased alertness, usually referred to as hyperalertness or hyperarousal. The strong emotions one experiences—fear, anxiety, anger—affect his or her body, particularly adrenaline output. People who have experienced trauma have their own sets of triggers that can activate the memories of what they experienced. The effort to avoid these situations can make a person a prisoner as well as create difficulty in interpersonal relationships.

If you ended up being traumatized, it's not because of a defect in you. You are not abnormal. The event was, and you may want to talk to someone who is knowledgeable in this area.


Appendix

GRIEF

Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love, Raymond R. Mitsch and Lynn Brookside, Vine Books, 1993.

*Tear Soup, book and video, Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen.

*When Children Grieve, John James and Russell Friedman, HarperCollins, 2001.

HOLIDAY GRIEF

Journaling Your December Grief, Harold Ivan Smith, Beacon Hill, 2001.

SUDDEN DEATH

No Time for Goodbyes, Janice Harris Lord, Pathfinder Publishing, 1987.

LOSING A CHILD

*Holding On to Hope, Nancy Guthrie, Tyndale, 2002.

LOSING A PARENT

Losing a Parent, Fiona Marshall, Fisher Books, 2000.

Grieving the Death of a Mother, Harold Ivan Smith, Augsburg Press, 2003.

SUICIDE

*Survivors of Suicide, Rita Robinson, New Page, 2001.

Healing after the Suicide of a Loved One, Ann Smolen and John Guinn, A Fireside Book, 1993.

*Aftershock, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003.

HELPING OTHERS

*Helping Those That Hurt, H. Norman Wright, Bethany House, 2003.

*The New Guide to Crisis and Trauma Counseling, H. Norman Wright, Regal Books, 2003.

*Helping Others Recover from Loss and Grief, curriculum, H. Norman Wright, Christian Marriage Enrichment, 2001.

 

These books can be ordered from Christian Marriage Enrichment, 800-875-7560.


Experiencing Grief.

----------------------------more tomorrow-------------------------

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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