Truths and Healing

roseThis past year? Well, it was pretty awful. Lots of revelations and revealings and truths that I really didn’t want to know.

They needed to come into the light, though. Sometimes knowing and understanding can bring change, even if it is unwanted at the time.

I cried and cried as I discovered one awful truth after another.

But I also prayed. I leaned into God when there was nowhere else to go. And I managed to make it through each day, until finally a new year was upon us.

When I received the chance to be on the launch team for Surprised by the Healer: Embracing Hope for Your Broken Story by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery, I knew this would be a meaningful book, one that actually left me thinking and wondering and praying even more. I wasn’t disappointed. Through the stories of these brave women’s lives, the truth that we all need to know is revealed, that of the Healer, Jehovah Rapha.

In the book, Dillow and Slattery write, “The greatest evidence that a person has experienced the love of God is that she will be changed–not perfect but changed.”

Yes. In the past I would have retreated, given up in the face of pain. But leaning into God helped me move through the worst of it.

Are things better now? Have my circumstances improved? Honestly? No, they haven’t. But I’m changing, and that’s only through God’s grace, not my own will.

Ultimately, even if the pain and the circumstances stay the same, God is still here. And through His power we can have healing and hope.

Dillow and Slattery state, “Dear friend, your healing journey is about more than managing your anguish and fear. The Healer has bigger plans for you than a pain-free life. He intends to transform your story into one of victory.”

Healing is possible through an encounter with the Healer.

I pray that I would be changed through Him because the love of God can give us healing and victory even when life is still a mess.

 

 

A Recovering Pessimist

Recovering PessimistI’m a recovering pessimist.

Honestly, I’ve never been an optimist. I learned worry at an early age, and I grabbed on to the idea that if I expected nothing, then I would never be disappointed. It seemed to me that this was the only practical way to view life, and my experience confirmed this.

Along with this, I found negative thoughts often swirling through my mind.

You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re a failure….

These thoughts turned round and round in my head, creating well-worn grooves in my brain that were often revisited.

Can you relate?

I pray you’ve never experienced this mindset and have always had a joyful, grateful heart. For those of us who tend toward a Daria rather than a Pollyanna perspective, though, this darker view of life has been the norm.

I’ve been told, “Just think positive!” Or, “Think good thoughts!” As a Gen-X’er, this only brought to mind Stuart Smalley‘s slogan, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

In a quiet, desperate moment, I searched Amazon and found Lynn R. Davis’ books and eventually got the chance to read and review an advanced copy of Deliver Me from Negative Self-Talk Expanded Edition: A Guide to Speaking Faith-Filled Words. In the book, she says “give faith-filled words a chance.”

So I did.

Let me say I’ve read the book twice now. What I love about it is that she provides a “how to” for us Daria types. When I’m tired and stressed, I grab that book and look at one of the many Bible verses noted in the book. And you know what? It helps. As Davis says, “It’s about having a mind that is stayed on Jesus.”

In addition to reading Davis’ book, I’ve been doing a lot of Bible reading every day. Meditating on God’s word every day helps remind me of God’s faithfulness and His promises.

Boy, we all need those daily reminders, right?

I’m still a work in progress, of course. I still have my dark, dark days, but it’s getting better. And for that, I’m grateful.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” —Matthew 11:28-29

 

The World, Worries, and God

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Photo by sebastiansantanam8qnfs on Morguefile.com

I’ve always been one to read the news.

My parents regularly read the newspaper and discussed local and national events. They encouraged us to follow suit (although I admit that when I was a youngster you would be more likely to find me pressing my silly putty into the comic strips and admiring my work). I learned quickly that the well-read person must be up on the latest happenings.

Up until fairly recently, on any given day I could describe the amount of drop in the stock markets worldwide, political and military moves between nations, and notable changes within society.

Now? I just can’t continue with such an in-depth reading of the news.

When I was much younger, television was the main source of our world news. It provided a small but limited window on these events, such as the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. With the rise of the internet, we have instant access to unlimited reports, tweets, videos, and articles. It becomes somewhat overwhelming and a job of its own to keep up with everything.

Too, as the world seems to become more chaotic and dark, I feel the need to lean more into God’s word. Although I still keep apprised of worldwide trends, my main focus now is reading the Bible and developing my relationship with Him.

The result is that by focusing on God’s word and His promises, I worry less than when I regularly looked around me at the growing chaos described in the daily news. As the world grows scarier, I know that God is still here. He is in control, and with Him, there is nothing to fear.

And that’s encouragement during uncertain times.

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

                     –Isaiah 26:3-4

 

I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it!

Hey, y’all! I’m so excited! I found out recently that I was accepted as part of the launch team for Nicki Koziarz‘ upcoming book, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.

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I don’t know about you, but I can always use the encouragement to persevere and keep on going. In the past, I’ve allowed discouragement to get the best of me. I admit that I’ve often quit when I should have kept going.

But I’m hopeful and determined! And I am so happy to not only be a part of this launch team but also learn from Nicki’s book.

I hope you are ready for some encouragement in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Cats and KittyCatS

Carmina and Jovon Playing_001 PictureApparently I can’t get enough of cats. Not in real life, nor in my virtual life.

I recently returned to Second Life and was encouraged to become a KittyCatS enthusiast by my husband. Well, he only gave me a cat. Somehow it blossomed into much more.

If you aren’t familiar with KittyCatS, they are breedable cats in Second Life, a virtual world. KittyCatS are not free, but for a modest sum, you can purchase kitties (along with kibble) to your heart’s content. If it were possible, I would most certainly fill up our house with the cute cats.

They’re that wonderful. Seriously.

These cats definitely do more than eat. They interact with you, chatting with you in-world and generally making themselves adorable. They play and snuggle with toys, paw at butterflies, and ask for love from their people.

Yes, I’m smitten. Carmina and Jovon_002 Picture

The in-world group is full of helpful and supportive enthusiasts like myself who encourage each other and share pics of their kitties. And my one experience with KittyCatS support so far has been positive.

So if you’re a cat person and would like to explore your love of cats virtually, then definitely join us in Second Life. Because there can never be too many virtual cats!