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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

We have all heard that “communication is key” but what are the keys to good communication?
What makes communication break down in the first place? I remember hearing a radio talk show many years ago, a man was describing how he and his wife had two totally different views about how you take care of a sick person. He was down with a cold, and asked her for some orange juice, she came back with what he thought to be a thimble full, and his expectation of a big tumbler full was unfulfilled. The two  were raised differently, one with small glasses of O.J.  being left alone to sweat it out, the other being pampered with lots of juice, soup and attention. Case in point, communication is not just words, and it is also important to note that whatever it is, goes through a sort of prism of our own personal experiences, thought processes, and communication styles.

What goes out of our mouth, hits the ear of the hearer, goes through the filter of their point of reference, bents, insecurities, etc. and they take it the way they do according to that. Each person has their own filter.  What the difficult task is , is to be completely vulnerable in exposing our filters to the people around us, so they understand our communication styles. This of course includes our insecurities, anxieties, fears, opinions etc.  My husband grew up in a large, loud, Spanish speaking  family.  They all spoke over one another, and nobody took it with any offense.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where you didn’t communicate at all, and children were to “speak when spoken to” ” seen and not heard”.  No noise at the dinner table etc, so when I first experienced my husband loud talking, I thought he was angry with me, and broke down crying.  He and my children to this day speak with passion, a bit loud, but I understand this to be their style.  They on their part, speak to me with a softer tone, and try to be mindful of my need for a  less robust conversation.

How do we find the best way to speak to each other? I tried to think of the best communicator of all time, and  of Jesus, it is said: (John 1:1)” in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was GOD….and vs 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us” The very word of God, came to earth and became a man so that we would know how to live in this world amongst each other in a bond of love and in humility.

In the book of John, Christ used the term ‘ Verily, Verily I say unto you’… no less than 18 times. In one book!  When a word is spoken twice, it means listen carefully.  I think we have to take notice of this first off, as he knows our  propensity to listen with only half of our attention.  We need to be sure that the person is really taking a hard listen if we have an important thing to impart to them.  Don’t expect them to be listening intently to your heart felt outpourings if you don’t get their undivided attention first. Also notice, we may need to repeat ourselves.

Jesus spoke to the disciples, and crowds  in Parables ( stories which teach lessons ).  Jesus used things very familiar to the people around Him to paint mental pictures so that they would understand the things He was trying to impart to them.  Many times, we need to find a thing that our spouse, or child, friend etc. can relate to, and use that to paint a picture of how something may be affecting us, or maybe what we may need from them.  Whether it is using children’s toys or a husbands computer program, or car engine, golf game etc. There is a way to ‘story tell’ so that making a parallel using that imagery will help them connect with you.  Reading the Parables will help understand what I mean here.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, from what I have read about this, Jesus being a Rabbi, would have understood that  sacrifices and blessings were made with an application of salt. Salt was used to preserve, to purify, to bless, and to flavor.  When we communicate anything to one another, let us keep in mind, that we are called the salt of the Earth, which should heal one another, and purify, when one is in the wrong, salt will draw out the poison of sin ( in 2 Kings 19 Elisha threw salt into the poison well to heal it, and turn the water sweet)  apply the words of restoration to them in love = salt, Blessing = salt we should be blessing each other by actions, and words, every day, without fail. Jesus is our example, and He gives us all we need to carry out loving one another in this way… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

He has given us the key, He knows us- each one of us Intimately, our very  hairs are numbered, he knows our hearts,  our failings, and the things we have endured.  We can trust that He will give us the wisdom to use the keys He has given us to lovingly, communicate with one another.  As we desire to do what is in the best interest of the people we love, We can’t go wrong in seeking Him for guidance and wisdom in the process.

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‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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I have had this piece of old luggage  that I have carried with me my entire life.  At times I didn’t notice it too much, because I turned it into a backpack, but it grew larger and heavier as time went on.  As long as I had distractions, I would forget it was there, but like an elephant in the room, everyone noticed how it was destroying me, causing me to be more burdened, and thrown off balance from it’s weight. Eventually, I had completely lost my way.

That old backpack carried years of unforgiveness, bitterness, and pain from my past.  I thought I could just talk through things with those who wronged me, ( parents)  and we could get all the closure and forgiveness, and all would be well with my soul, but when they  didn’t respond to my gesture, but accused me of just wanting to hurt them by talking to them, shunned me for half a year, then called one day as if all is well,  thoughts of closure were left unfulfilled.

I started sensing some ‘strangeness’ when my adult children would be with me, they had become so concerned about this  “pack” on my back how was sucking the life out of me, they got together with dad and called for an intervention. He never said anything to me, he had a’ hands off wait and see what happens as I pray approach.’  As I explained to him, it is like the scripture which says, two are better than one, when one falls in a ditch, the other is there to lift him out. I had felt my husband knew I was in the ditch, but was sitting under a tree to see if I could find a way out on my own. Two of my children are more vocal and will call me out on things, and the breakthrough began.

After conversations with one of my sons, I started to realize how much I needed more accountability and started bravely getting back involved in the women’s ministry.  I jokingly say all the time, “there are two types of women in the world… toxic, and non toxic”.  I grew up with the second type, and I think I have had a fear of women ever since.  The new subject of study?  Humility. Have I been blessed so far?  Well, I have met all the non-toxic, full of loving Balm of Gilead types!

After a long talk with my only daughter, who is ready to have her first child, I got view into some things God wanted to expose, deal with, and so it began.  I had a long talk with hubby that night, and as I prayed both as I fell to sleep and  when I woke up, God showed me a few MAJOR things.

I asked the Lord to please help me get over these things,  I don’t want to be crippled by them!  He gave me a scripture Matt 18:22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  In forgiveness, did it matter if we had talked it through? No. Just forgive… ALL of it!  Once and for all!  O.K.  I will with your help,  The Bitterness- lay it aside!   Eph 4:1  Yes, Lord, I will. This burden has been my constant companion for so many years, you will have to be my strength, but I am ready, your love has lifted this burden, and I am so new in you today.

I went straight to my computer to check Morning and Evening on line, C.H. Spurgeon. I was so blessed by it, I felt sure God changed the message to fit my need!

“I will help thee, saith the Lord.”—Isaiah 41:14.

HIS morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.'”
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

Just as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress was not even close to completing his journey when his burden fell from his back, I too have a long way to go.250px-pilgrims_progress_22I will be writing so much more as He is doing His work in me!

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When I awoke this morning, I had a scripture going through my mind; “Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

That passage in Matthew has always been one of my favorite life verses, getting me through many times of hardship, and sorrow.  When I think about how difficult things get when I try to face the challenges on my own, it mystifies me why I even try to tackle them alone in the first place.  When He says to take my yoke upon you, my yoke is easy… He is asking us to share our burdens with Him, let Him carry the weight of them for us. Yes, we will be there seeing the action first hand, we don’t get a “pass” to get out of the difficult times, but He is there along side, attached to us, by choice, saying “I’ve got this, you just walk next to me”.

While I was looking up yokes on-line to understand this before writing, I happened upon a youtube video of some Amish folks ploughing a field with two  yoked oxen.  The oxen were given small feed baskets of hay  to eat as they ploughed. It was so peaceful, no hardship for the oxen at all, only for the farmer ( smile ).  I thought about how fitting the above scripture was in that scene.  Jesus was familiar with these scenes, they were seasonal occurrences for Him.  The yoke is something we don’t relate to, so this passage goes under- appreciated. He is saying He wants to be a fellow laborer in all or endeavors. Don’t miss that.  There are some things he asks US to do though, as well.

1. Come unto Me.   2. Take my yoke upon you   3. Learn of Me.

First we need to be willing to come to Him without excuses, buts , justifications, or hesitation… just come to Him, acknowledging that He is the only one who has the answers, even if you’re not sure about that, what have you got to lose?  He takes us as we are, we don’t need to clean up our act, or give up things before we come to Him, just be real. He takes care of all that.  There is nothing so wretched that He cannot forgive, His Grace is sufficient to forgive  the most heinous sin. He is the one who justifies us, meaning: ” just ‘s if I’d ” (never done wrong).
Romans 3:21-24 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Take my yoke upon you, it is easy, my burden is light… There is a real lesson here, if He is the strong one, and you are yoked to Him, you would imagine your part would be to just sail along for the ride!  When my husband and I go kayaking, he does the lions share of the paddling.  I can always tell when he stops, as the weight of my stroke increases tremendously.  How very important it is for us to be in tandem with our Lord, staying firmly fixed on him. Letting Him be the one who carries our burdens, so our faces can reflect His glory, peace and rest, juxtaposed to the gnarled brow of hardship and angst.

Learn of me ; for I am meek and humble of heart.  What is it to be meek?  To have infinite resources at your command, but a complete, 100%  lack of self interest. All the power, complete control and humility for the sake of others. Can you imagine today’s philanthropist, if they had these qualities, it would be a wonderful thing, but each one has to blow the biggest horn, and contact as many press agencies as possible so we all know how great they are! That is NOT meekness by the way.  One example of meekness I love is in the garden of Gethsemane,  Jesus is praying His last prayer in the Garden before he is arrested… Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

Luke 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Luke 22:47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Luke 22:49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

Luke 22:50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

Luke 22:51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

Jesus in the middle of this chaotic scene, being arrested by a great  torch carrying mob, cared about the one man, a servant.  He healed his ear in the midst of his own betrayal, arrest, and soon to be crucifixion.  That is what I believe to be the definition of meek. He says if we learn of Him we will find rest for your souls. It makes perfect sense to me, as I have looked at this all morning, I have truly been at rest, he’s got this.  My financial struggles are nothing to Him, My physical ailments are a breeze when I am anchored to Him, because my soul is at Peace and Rest.

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Sometimes it is hard for people to believe that if they would ‘simply love’, and ‘love simply’ things would be much different in their relationships.  You have heard it said, “you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself”  I take issue with that statement, because at the root of it is “self”.  I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I learned quickly, when you have a baby, that your time is no longer your own, and you become a servant, a person who’s full attention is on other peoples needs but your own.  Those parents who are our “toxic” variety all have one thing in common: they are selfish! Look closely next time.  What is going on when you see on the news about a parent who is getting children taken away… They are so into their own life, they should not have had kids in the first place.  So, If you ask me, if you want to love with real love, you need to empty yourself of your pride, and selfishness, and be a giver, a servant, hospitable and kind.  Old fashioned concept? Sure, but  we are still people who have the same needs as always, children have the same needs.  Have you ever stopped and thought about what was at the very bottom of your last fight?  Was it selfishness on either part? I can’t imagine it not being. If you do as it says in Philippians, (I’m paraphrasing) esteem each other higher than yourselves, or try to outdo one another in kindnesses. You will be shocked how amazingly happy your relationships will be!  You see, God wants to teach us about His character, we can’t out-give Him He is so generous and kind, but if we are so worried about what we have, keeping what we have, “what am I going to get out of it” we miss the real blessings.

It isn’t a song until it’s sung
It isn’t a bell until it’s rung
It isn’t Love until it is given away!

What is Love? Here is the definition:

1Cr 13:4       Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5       does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6       does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7       bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8       Love never fails

Is it simple to love simply and simply love? If you are not self centered it is, if you are following God’s plan for your life it is easier… God is the embodiment and the essence of Love. It stands to reason that with him at the helm, you can certainly break the cycle of toxic parenting. Until next time… Love simply.

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Many people I know who have autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, as I do, have  a common background.  They have either had a major trauma, or they had child abuse throughout early childhood. Without getting too technical, here, it will be explained later – it is all about the development of the various glands which control hormones,  cortisol, etc. (the HPA axis) When you are traumatized as a child, by abuse, normal development is hindered. Later on in life, you start the cycle of life, and things go down hill pretty gradually for some, and not so gradually for others.

By the time I was married, I was experiencing daily monster headaches, monthly migraines, horrible pain upon menstruation, which was very irregular, irritable bowel syndrome, restless leg syndrome,(from early childhood) joint pain, tmj,  I could go on, but you get he point. I thought I was falling apart, thinking all these were separate things. It took years of being seen by so many different doctors, I was not diagnosed until a friend from church had one of the same reactions I had, which was my skin and muscles were in so much pain, nobody could touch me. I went to hug her, and she said Stop! I hurt all over!  I asked her about it because it was what i had, and she gave me a book, and told me who to see.  Fibromyalgia and syndromes and diseases like it are much more common than ever. One has to wonder what it is, is it that we were brought up by the keep up with the Jones’s generation who couldn’t be bothered with the kids they had, and abused them after the nonstop cocktail parties?  Or is it the wonder bread and banquet dinners and pot pies, twinkies and canned spagetti-o’s that we were fed that broke our little bodies so they completely gave up later in life?  Whatever it is, both are toxic, and both can be remedied.

Choices can be made for yourself, and for your children.  Eat properly, feed your children well, and they will be better off for it.  Be sure they get some treats though, balance is key.

If you have any or all of the symptoms I have mentioned, and you have not seen a doctor for them, check out the following links: http://www.rheumatology.org/

http://www.fmaware.org/site/PageServer

There is no cure for this, I have been living with it for years, but with proper diet, exercise, and a good support system in place, you can get back in full swing for sure!  As I write in my other travel blog about Hawaii,  http://two2travel.blogspot.com/ warm climates are usually easier on fibro patients, I always do so much better when I go to he Islands, I loosen up, get in the water allot, which by the way is very good exercise for those of us with joint and muscle pain. If you have a gym with a pool , you may consider it an option.

This is a wonderfully helpful book for anyone who wants to know more about the disease itself.  Available through Amazon.com

So how do I tie all of this in? what is all of this to say about the broken cycle?  It is fascinating really, I look at how the HPA axis works, and what the broken cycle that happened there to cause the body to go through the struggles it does, is directly related to the cycle we WANT to break from the past that brought it all on in the first place. So here it is explained:


The hypothalamus is the control center for most of body’s hormonal systems.

Follow figure 1 as I explain this. Cells in hypothalamus produce hormone corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) in humans in response to most any type of stress physical or psychological.

The hypothalamus secretes CRF, which in turn binds to specific receptors on pituitary cells, which produce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
ACTH is then transported to its target the adrenal gland stimulates the production of adrenal hormones.

The adrenal glands that are located on top of the kidneys then increase the secretion of cortisol.

The release of cortisol initiates a series of metabolic effects aimed at alleviating the harmful effects of stress through negative feedback to both the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary, which decreases the concentration of ATH and cortisol in the blood once the state of stress subsides.

Follow figure 1 as I explain this. Cells in hypothalamus produce hormone corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) in humans in response to most any type of stress physical or psychological.

www.rheumatoidarthritissupport.blogspot.com

The above link is some extra help from a great friend of mine , who’s blog is indispensible for those who want to get help with diet, and tips for healthy living with autoimmune disease.

I can’t leave off without giving some encouragement from God’s word…Hebrews 4:15 “for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with he feeling of our infirmities, but as with all points tempted like as are we yet without sin.”  Be assured He feels your pain, and knows your sorrows, and is more than able to heal your brokenness.

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