Loneliness

Christmas is a time of good cheer, excitement,  expectancy, warmth, busyness and feelings of joy surrounded by family and friends. But for some, it can be a time of extreme loneliness.  Loneliness can be described as a feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach when someone you love has left you either through death or broken relationships. You may feel abandoned, unwanted, or unneeded as if you’re all by yourself when you are actually surrounded by all kinds of people. You may feel like no one really cares.

These feeling can intensify if you begin to believe that your loneliness is a result of something being wrong at a core level with you – that you are somehow unacceptable, unworthy, don’t measure up, or unlovable.  When this happens, you may feel hopeless and have nothing to live for. Your pain can erode your self-worth, and drain you of strength.  Loneliness puts a huge wall around your heart and prevents you from allowing others in including God.

When you feel as if the entire world has abandoned you, and that no one understands your pain and sorrow God’s Word promises that the Lord is with you and He will never leave you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

In your loneliness and despair, have you distanced yourself from the Lord?

It is never too late to draw near to Him again. You are His precious child. And when you return to Him, you will be welcomed with open arms. You will have heartfelt joy when returning home to the shelter of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. You are never alone!

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The Grace Sifter In Relationship Conflict

Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict.  Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether.  None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.

What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized.  If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance were the names of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this.  It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.

God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter.  Nothing gets through unless it contains grace.  Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships. There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.

The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Colossians 3:14

 

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Truth Heals

truthNothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better.

The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us.However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth.

The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child. This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us.

After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.

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Healing the Wounds of The Past

knees4We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret.

The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that bring the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.”

The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair, and He can help us.

Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.”

Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

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Emotional Healing

hearts3Emotional pain is the scourge of the heart and soul. Emotional pain eats away at our humanity. Emotional pain is a burden taking away the quality of our life and most assuredly our emotional pain weighs us down. When we are burdened by our emotional pain we need to lighten the burden. When we hurt, we need a way to take some of the weight off our heart and soul. There is a way to lighten our burden of emotional pain. The way to lighten our load is to tune into the upward pulling force of Jesus.

If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your heart. If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your burden. Jesus, in His love, is always pulling your burden upward toward Heaven. Jesus is now with you and He is now supporting you, guiding you, and giving you hope as He pulls you upward.

In our emotional pain, we need hope things will change. If there is one supernatural ingredient Christ brings to all of us in our pain, it is hope. Jesus did not come to our world to push you down but to pull you up. Now, take your emotional burden and hold your burden out to Him. Hold your burden out so His light and love can shine into your heart. As you hold your burden out in front of you, watch as Jesus comes and places His healing hands of power upon your hurt…and see His light and love pulling your emotional hurt over to Him…lightening your load, lightening your burden, and lightening your pain.

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Children Need Healthy Love

psalm-27Children need a healthy sense of love. When a child’s need for healthy love and affection aren’t met, they grow up to be needy adults in search for the love they never knew as children. This is tragic, as it seems to be passed down from generation to generation. While both mother and father roles are important the role of the Father is of extreme significance to a child because He shapes a child’s view of love, self, relationships, protection, and it’s supposed to model the love of our Heavenly Father – the One relationship that is pivotal to core identity as a precious beloved child of God.  When Fathers fail at their roles, the consequences will follow a child into adulthood, resulting in unhealthy relationships and all kinds of relationship conflict. Most tragic is that a child learns a distorted view of God.

These lyrics seem so appropriate to those who were denied a healthy love:

Daddy, you’re the man in your little girl’s dreams, you are the one she longs to please.

And there’s a place in her heart that can be filled with her Daddy’s love.

But if you don’t give her the love she desires,  she’ll try someone else, but they won’t satisfy her.

And if your little girl grows up without Daddy’s love, she may feel empty, and it’s only because it’s her Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t’ send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

And someday if you hear her purity’s gone, she may have lost it trying to find what was missing at home.

Just let The Heavenly Father heal where you fail,

He can forgive you and help you to give her the Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love. You know it’s true, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

If only dads everywhere would realize the need in their little girl’s heart for that healthy love.

God gave us parents to model His love, but all of us fail to magnify His heart of love. While every human relationship will fail us, our deepest yearning for love and acceptance can only be filled as we surrender, forgive, and rest in the sufficiency of our heavenly Father’s unchanging love.

Jan Frank

Door of Hope

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Decisions…Decisions…

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Decisions, Decisions, we all have to make them. Hopefully as believers we want to seek the will of God in matters of the heart. But how do we do that?

Decisions are choices we make based on our thoughts. If the thought process is wrong the decisions we make will be off. Faulty thinking results in negative choices. We will always live in the consequences of our choices.

Decisions are also based on what we value. If we don’t place worth on ourselves chances are the relationships we engage in will almost always cause us emotional pain and turmoil.

To discern God’s will in any given situation it’s crucial to remember that the will of God never goes against His word. Should I marry this person even if he’s not a believer? Well what does God’s word say about being unequally yoked?

Put on the mind of Christ. Change your thought process. Align your thoughts with His thoughts through His word, in prayer and by the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation for God’s will in your life. It will guard against making painful destructive choices that hurt yourself and others.

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

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Own Your Part

As Much as dependsWe can’t change people’s hearts. But God can! Where there is relationship conflict, we must remember that people react by the way they have learned to deal with matters of the heart, and it might not even be rooted in truth.

There are three sides to the story, but only one is accurate – God’s perspective. We are only responsible for our junk. We must ask God to show us our part – confess, repent and ask for forgiveness where applicable and give the rest to Him.

Don’t hold on to things and demand that people see things your way because it may be skewed by your own unhealthy life experiences. Keep your own side of the street clean. If you can change it, change it. If you can’t release it!

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Stuffing Feelings

coffee beans“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

Sometimes we hold on to hurt without communicating the nature of hurts to others.

They often aren’t even aware they have offended us. When we stuff our feelings eventually, the stuffing is going to come out.

That’s because when you fill anything with pressure, it will explode. In the same way, the outburst in our hearts can result in broken marriages and relationships, especially our relationship with God.

Some are shocked to find out that we have been keeping score of their wrongdoings against us.

Give people a chance to state their case and learn to forgive. Don’t stuff your feelings. Express them, forgive and release others to Jesus – the One, who displayed to us with His precious blood how mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

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Christ Centered Counseling

Counseling That HealsThere are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors. Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick. The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution. However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, manmade, there is no true long term healing that can occur. At best it can help change behavior, and give you tools for self-discipline, or positive thinking. That is not freedom.

There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues – but often the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.” Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

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