Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Friends

I read this on Facebook.  If you click on the Cowboys-4-Christ link it will take them to your Facebook page if you have one.  The link is for this page but I don't actually have access to your Facebook account.  Computers are getting more 'helpful' but I am not sure I appreciate all the 'help' it gives.  I loved the story.  Just wanted to share something that touched my heart. 
 
 

~ Best Friend

Once in a small farming town in Oklahoma, there lived a poor fourth grade boy named Andy who would follow this route to school everyday: He had to cross the rugged plains and a dangerous highway where vehicles recklessly drove to and fro. Once past this highway, the boy would take a short cut by passing by the Church every morning just to say hi to Jesus, and faithfully say his morning prayers. He was being watched by the pastor who always found the boy's sincerity and innocence so uplifting in the morning.

"Hello Andy, How are you today", he would say greeting the child.
"I'm fine Pastor Thompson, How are you" he would say flashing his innocent grin.

Seeing the way that Andy went to school the pastor was so concerned one day he talked to him. "From school...", he advised "do not cross the highway alone, you can pass through the Church and then I will accompany you to the other side of the road that way I can see that you get home safe...."

"Thank you Pastor..."

"Why don't you go straight home ... why do you stay in this church right after school?" Andy replied, "I just want to say "Hi" to my friend, Jesus,"

So the pastor would leave the boy to spend time praying by himself beside the altar, but one day out of curiosity he hid behind the altar to listen to what this boy had to say.

~ "You know my math exam was pretty bad today, but I did not cheat-although my seat mate was bullying me for notes ... you know, Dad's had a bad farming season so far this year so we don't have much food but I ate some bread and drank my water. Thank you for this! I saw a poor kitten who was hungry and I know how he feels so I gave some of my bread to him... funny but I am not that hungry... Look, this is my last pair of shoes... I may have to walk barefoot next week... you see this is about to be broken... but it is okay... at least I am still able to go to school... some say we will have a hard season this month, and some of my classmates have had to stop going to school to help with the farms ... please help them get to school again, please Jesus?... Oh, you know, Dad hit me again, it is painful, but I know this pain will pass away, at least I still have a Dad ... you want to see my bruises? I know you can heal them ... here... here and....oh ...blood. I guess you knew about this one, huh? Please don't be mad at Dad, he is just tired and worries about putting food on our table and my schooling that is why he hits me... Oh, I think I am in love... there's this pretty girl in my class, her name is Anita... do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least I know you will always like me, I don't have to be anybody just to please you, you are my very best friend! Hey your birthday is just one week from now!!! Aren't you excited? I am! Wait till you see, I have a gift for you....
but it is a surprise! I hope you will like it! Oooops, I have to go..."

Then he stood up and calls out, "Pastor, I am finished talking to my friend... can you accompany me to the other side of the road now"?
This routine happened everyday. Andy never failed to visit the church. Pastor Thompson shared this every Sunday to the people in his church because he had never before seen such pure faith and trust in God, and such a very positive outlook in such negative circumstances.

The day before Christmas, Pastor Thompson became very ill and was sent to the hospital. The Church was left to a substitute Pastor who had little patience for children or for any interruptions in his work. He would not smile and could always find fault in what other people were doing. On Christmas Day he was in the Pastor's Study when Andy,coming from his Christmas party, playfully dashed into the church calling, "Hi Jesus!!!!!"

"Who are you child and what are you doing in here", the pastor yelled out angrily. Poor Andy was so terrified. "Where's Pastor Thompson? He always helps me cross the street.... and not only that, I have to greet Jesus--it's His birthday, I have a gift right here...."

Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, the pastor grabbed Andy by the shoulder and pushed him out the door of the church.
"I cannot be bothered right now I am preparing my sermon for the Christmas service tonight. Also, next time be more reverent when you come into the church", the man yelled as he closed the door behind Andy.

So the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road in front of the church by himself. As he crossed a fast moving bus came in. There was a blind curve. The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt, so he was not looking. There was so little time. Andy died on the spot.

As people crowded around the body of the poor, lifeless, young boy... Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall man appeared in a pure white shirt and pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears... He came and carried the boy in His arms, He was crying. Curious bystanders nudged the man in white, and asked, "Excuse me sir, are you related to the child? Do you know him?" The man in white, His face mourning and in agony, answered, "He was my best friend” was all he said. He took the badly wrapped gift from the shirt of the lifeless boy, and placed it near his heart. He stood up and carried the boy away and they both disappeared from sight. The crowd was curious...

On New Years Eve, when Pastor Thompson returned home from the hospital he learned of the shocking news. He went to visit Andy's parents, and to ask them about the man in white he had been told about. He consulted the parents of Andy. "How did you first learn of your sons death?"
"A man in white brought him here." Sobbed the mother.

"What did he say?"

The father answered, "He did not say anything. He was mourning. We do not know him and yet he was very lonely at our son's death, as if he knew our son very well. But there was something peaceful and unexplainable about him. He gave me my son, and then he smiled peacefully. He rubbed my son's hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead, then he whispered something..."

"What did he say?"

"He said to my boy..." the father began, "Thank you for the gift... I will see you soon.. you will be with me..." and the father of the boy continued, "and you know for a while, it felt so wonderful... I cried, but I do not know why.... all I know is I cried tears of joy... I could not explain it, but when that man left, something peaceful came over me, I felt a deep sense of love inside... I could not explain the joy in my heart, I know my boy is in heaven now.. but... tell me, who was this man that my son talked to everyday in your church, you should know because you are always there... except at the time of his death..."

Pastor Thompson suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes,
with trembling knees, he murmured,
"He was talking to Jesus...."

*God bless and keep sharing the Good News !!! ~ C4C

https://www.facebook.com/138210329577734/photos/a.138213312910769.26995.138210329577734/830423377023089/?type=1&fref=nf

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steps to happiness

http://www.purposefairy.com/7669/12-scientifically-proven-steps-to-happiness/

I like Purposefairy.  Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by her optimism but I am like her.

Here are her headings....my comments are in Gray and Green

1. EXPRESS GRATITUDE

This is a favorite of mine too.  Feeling gratitude is an awesome, sharing what you are feeling shares it.  Fun to spread good feelings around. 

2. CULTIVATE OPTIMISM


“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.” – Kahlil Gibran
I left the original quote that goes with the one I hung on my wall in high school from Abraham Lincoln, "You can mourn because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."  Optimism is nurtured and I can add to it at any time.  

3. AVOID OVER-THINKING AND SOCIAL COMPARISON

  A big 10-4 on this one. Comparisons is one of the tools used to destroy relationships and self-esteem.  Over-thinking is a difficult to control some days.  I do remind myself to KISS it.  Keep it simple sweety. 

4. PRACTICE ACTS OF KINDNESS

  Fun to practice random acts of kindness.  Give a Just-because-it-is-Tuesday gift on any day accept Tuesday.  Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty are good for the heart. 

5. NURTURE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

  Relationships take time. In this day and age of higher and higher productivity, people tend to get lost in the hurry scurry thinking.  Refer to #4 for nurturing relationships. 

6. DEVELOP STRATEGIES FOR COPING

  This is what I learned in counseling, coping skills.  There are many ways to cope with any problem and someone is blogging about the solutions or wrote a book on it.  Practice new ways to face life challenges. 

7. LEARN TO FORGIVE

  Tough one for me because I was taught an unhealthy definition.  I am unlearning and relearning about forgiveness, yes there are books on this too, including the Bible.  

8. INCREASE FLOW EXPERIENCES

  I didn't even know what this was until I was in Photography.  Hyper-vigilance wrecks havoc on getting into the pleasure zone of creativity when space, time and hunger are temporarily suspended.  Creative outlets vary but I highly recommend exploring possibilities.  Never too old to try some new art.  My friend Netty bought and learned to play the organ in her 70's because the doctor said it would help her arthritis.  

9. SAVOR LIFE’S JOY

  Savor.....I started working at savoring food by taking a single bite and letting it wander around in my mouth for a bit before swallowing.  Stretch a delightful 5 minutes to a radiant 10 minutes.  Recognize pay attention to those joyful moments.  Expressing gratitude, #1, focuses our attention on what we are savoring. 

10. COMMIT TO YOUR GOALS

  First make sure they are your own goals.  I am a people pleaser, many times when I didn't commit to a goal it wasn't my goal in the first place.  My counselor asked me, "What do you want?"  I do believe answering that question opens me up to what my goals actually are.    

11. PRACTICE SPIRITUALITY

  There is more and more research showing that spirituality is essential to a happy soul.  Please note, spirituality is not just sitting in church.  I believe I became a Christian when I allowed Christ's teachings to alter my life.    

12. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

  You only get one.  Spare parts are difficult to get.  I am learning that the older I get the more important this is.   


With all my love,

  G  I hope you enjoyed my perspective on Purpose Fairies post.  I do recommend reading her thoughts and come up with your own lists.    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trust the Lord

DEALING WITH ABUSE: Shortly after a person has been wounded by religious abuse, friends of the victim invariably say, “It will be okay. You just have to trust the Lord; that’s all.” With this, they are finished with the issue. No further practical help is offered. After a while, the victim doesn’t even receive a word of comfort from their fellow congregants because people tend to withdraw from someone who has been pushed aside. They simply don’t want to deal with all of the negativity. Who can blame them?
To the victim, however, such advice is meaningless. Instead of helping, platitudes like the one above tend to make a difficult situation even worse. As people withdraw, the abused person is left to deal with the problem by himself or herself. This is when many turn to self-defeating behavior. It provides relief from the pain—a one-day reprieve from reality. It’s also how people become “hooked” on alcohol, prescriptions, or inappropriate relationships—none of which work long-term.
When a person reaches his or her bottom, and there are no other options, that’s when they are finally willing to take the advise of their friends and “trust the Lord.” By this point, their emotional isolation has taken a substantial toll, and the person doubts that their life will ever be worthwhile again. When a person reaches this point, that’s when God’s presence and help become more real than ever. It’s when He touches the places that hurt, providing illumination, insight, understanding, and healing.
All that’s necessary for this to happen is one thing: the person must realize that the responsibility for getting back on tract is theirs and no one else’s. When they reach this point, when they become willing to admit this, their lives can begin to change for the better.
"Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:25-26)
www.mcgeeandme.net/books/




If you had enough faith.....all would be well.  Does the reciprocal mean since all is not well I don't have enough faith? One wonders at time.  I had a clearer understanding as I studied the New Testament when Christ reminded his apostles that the people killed the prophets.  The apostles came to a similar end.  If the all is well thing applies, did that mean the apostles and prophets did not have enough faith?  I believe the error comes in what "all would be well" means.  I remember vividly the moment in time I hit rock bottom and I had nothing left except my faith in Christ.  I believe in Christ.  I also believe that I am expected to strive, look for, and seek for answers.  I am expected to study things out in my mind and when I get stuck ask humbly in faith.  He will send his angels to rescue me, those angels sometimes have PhDs.  Religious abuse is particularly vicious in that not only does the abuser try to make their victim believe God does not loves them, they attack the person themselves until the victim loses trust in their own faith.  In that moment that I hit rock bottom, some particle of faith assured me that Christ would not abandon me in my darkest hour.  I took that particle faith and fanned the flames until I understood several things.  My belief of what is safe and Heavenly Father's meaning is not the same.  Heavenly Father allowed His Son to be crucified.  My discomfort is acceptable to God.  I accepted that Heavenly Father sent His Son to bring me peace by God's definition not mine.  I also learned that the church goers that shunned me were not my problem.  My own understanding of Heavenly Father and my relationship to Christ became my focus. 



John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Psalms 23
 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (My spiritual hunger is always fed.)
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (He leads me but doesn't force me to recognize His blessings.  Gratitude opens my eyes to the green pastures and still waters.)
 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (He leads another reminder that He will lead, I choose to follow or not.  He will patiently wait for me as I stumble.  His patience is Eternal, however He leads me down the path of righteousness, not always where I want to go.)
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (He knows all there is to know about death and evil because He over came both.  When I am with Christ, I know evil must flee.  His correction and guidance bring me comfort knowing He is watching over me. Loving me.)
 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  (He prepares nourishment for me where I am at, not just in the after life, but right in front of my enemies. He anointed me and I have an abundance of His love.)
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (As I follow His lead down the path of righteousness, others will be blessed by my service for I will leave goodness and mercy where ever I go.  He prepares a place for me to live with him forever in the life to come.)

The green words are my attempt to understand this passage.  Personalizing the scriptures binds them to my heart.


 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pity Party or Not?

I am following several PTSD web pages on Facebook.  I appreciate the information they share and I wish to do my part to encourage others.  One comment told all other readers and commenters to stop the Pity Party and get on with living.  I've held my own pity party on more than one occasion.  My counselor offered to bring a little whine to the party.  The one thing KavinCoach did for me was to clarify a significant difference between acknowledging challenges and wallowing in a pity party.  Urban dictionary has a fascinating description of a pity party
http://fr.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pity%20party

Difference is what you do with the information.  Both acknowledging my challenges and a pity party require that I survey the damage in my life.  However, a pity party is lay around in my pj's with zero intention of doing one single thing differently.  If I had chosen this route, my counselor would have dumped me off at the next therapist.  What astounded him was my unwavering determination to change my life against all odds.  Yes, I needed to survey the damage.  I did it for the purpose of seeing what needed to be torn out, what needed to be modified, and what by sheer dumb luck I did fairly well.  Pity party involves no goals, no future plans, and certainly no inclination to change.  I think I was anty-pity parties when I saw one person that appeared to be a goal setter in public, actually wallowed in self pity in private.  The 'poor-me' syndrome tends to grate on my nerves like fingernails scratching down a chalkboard.  I did recognize the value and need for surveying damage to find out what could use the work.

There is another time when pity parties seem imminent, when supporting others.  Encouraging others often involves acknowledging similarities in problems.  Again the significant difference is intent.  Joining in a pity party has the intent of wailing 'my problem is worse than yours and I can prove it.'  Where as supporting another person is 'this is my experience, I understand your challenges, we can work together to get out of this pit.'  Although the two may look similar, I ask myself what is the main purpose in sharing experiences.  I also learned that I can get mixed up with someone determined to have a full blown pity party when I intend to support.  I learned the fastest way to get booted from the pity party is to suggest the possibility they can change their life.  Pity Party hosts do not want anyone to bring silver linings, hope, and encouragement.  They are in the toilet and are quite comfortable thank you very much.  I don't mind being asked to leave a pity party....in fact, once I realize they have no intention of improving, I'm usually looking for the door anyway.  I do recognize that some progress makes a snail look speedy.  I get that.  The differences are attitude and direction.