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The Rock Of Empathy and Understanding

Have you been misunderstood, wronged, hurt, betrayed or falsely accused?  Everyone has at some point.

You know what is the most difficult thing for me to do, but the right and respectable thing, taking it to prayer rather than people? Bringing my hurt to The Father rather than Facebook, and to the Scriptures rather than my stories.

We all desire to be affirmed and understood, but when that desire becomes more about needing the validation of people than God,  I know I have a problem.

This is a great and convicting quote from Julie Sparkman’s book, Unhitching From The Crazy Train, co-written by Jennifer Phillips.  “When you are wronged, instead of pleading, “God, make this right!” you begin to pray, “Jesus,  You know what it feels like to be mocked, misunderstood, and falsely accused. I do long for You to make this right, but in the meantime, would You show me how to honor You as I bear up under injustice?  These Christlike prayers and attitudes come from the Scripture that is stored in your heart.”

I love this!

We have a Savior who suffered to know and identify with us in our affliction.  I am the first to forget to submit mine to Him, the Rock of empathy and understanding.  He is there for me and for you, friend.  Let’s not forget Him.

You are loved.

Unhitching From The Crazy Train is available at Lifeway and on Amazon 2/5/18. Also, you can order from newhopepublishers.com. 

www.restore-ministries.org

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Jesus Holds Our Little Lambs

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Yesterday was a difficult day for me as a mom. Some days our hardest job is remembering that God does not get it wrong-ever! In no circumstance is this a harder fight than circumstances involving our children. My son suffered a traumatic brain injury last July. His cognitive recovery has been a struggle. School is a struggle. Life is a struggle.

His neuropsychologist and case manager spoke with me about considering placing him on a life skills tract as opposed to a diploma/college track at school. He is in the ninth grade. The doctor said his cognitive scores place him within the category of a life skills track. These were very tough words to digest. I tried to put my best armor on and let the words bounce off of me, but the tears were tougher, and they won out.

The emotions are still raw from that tragic day. I think they always will be. A sight, a sound, a smell, a memory; they can all trigger a rush of emotion that no amount of effort can contain. My son is forever changed. I am forever changed. Our family is forever changed. This is not all ominous news. Change chiseled from crisis forges character, perseverance, deeper faith and so much more. The fruits born out of frustration are often some of the sweetest.

My son is not a victim, and I refuse to be either. Once we take on that role we put limitations on ourselves. We also maximize our sufficiency and minimize the soverignty of our Savior. I am sad that the circumstances are as they are. I hurt, I ache and at times I worry about the future. In all my fleshly responses, a voice keeps echoing in my head, BUT GOD. That is my life preserver friends! Test scores are indicators, but they are not dictators. Doctor’s opinions are assessments, but they are not absolutes. I much prefer the infallible provisions of My Provider to the fallible predictions of man.

I don’t know at this time what our decision about our sons’ school track will be. I am not ready to make that decision, nor am I ready to confine him to the limitations of a label. Labels we put on things are typically stickers. Over time, they are prone to fall off. I choose not to rely on labels, I prefer to rest in the hope of providential plans.

Yesterday I heard this quote from my friend, Julie Sparkman, of Restore Ministries. During the third session of her bible study series, Unhitching From the Crazy Train, she said, “Getting under the yoke with Jesus does not give you a different life; it gives you a different way of doing life.” Those words spoke so poignantly to my heart.

No matter what obstacles you or I are confronting today friends, our hope does not rest in the what of our struggle. It resides in the Who of our surrender. That is great news! This truth is a rest for our weary souls. Will you fight to reside here with me? Jesus holds our little lambs.

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Inadequate and Unashamed

 

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Vulnerability, for me is one of the keys to living free. It is the willingness to say, I am broken and weak that opens a reservoir of strength we can only gain in our inadequacy.If we need not, we seek not. It is only in seeking we find.

I’m muddling through my days right now friends. Intense, sudden trauma can wreck havoc on your body and mind weeks and months after the jolting of its turbulence has passed. It certainly has mine. I’m relieved but restless. I thankful but tired. I mingle with grief and walk with gratitude. If you have never occupied such a space, you may not understand, but it is a cumbersome place to fall. I find myself wondering when I will feel adequate again? When will I not feel like I’m letting everyone and everything in my home, and around me down?

Then I’m reminded, that is an arrogant, self sufficient line of interrogation. There will never be a time I will not be neglecting someone or something. In those moments when I forget, I am consumed by frustration. Rest, peace and growth become good desires I am chasing in vain.

I have been feeling very insufficient since Carter’s accident. I am very forgetful. My memory has abandoned me. I do hope it’s on a beach somewhere planning a return soon. If not, I hope it comes back to get the rest of me-:). I’m going to need to shop soon for new clothes, sheets, towels, etc…if the laundry continues to not do itself. My pantry and refrigerator scare me. Every time I open them, they rebuke me. Really, it goes something like this, “we need eggs, ice cream, milk, bread, and just when exactly do you plan on getting to the store?”

With Carter in school such short days, and so many appointments, I am finding it hard to manage my time and responsibilities. When I get a few moments, the to do list is longer than my ability to perform, and sturdier than my stamina. The last few days I have been feeling particularly inferior to my sub par performance- Until yesterday morning.

During a Bible study, Unhitching from the Crazy Train, Julie Sparkman of @Restore Ministries, said this, “we are inadequate and unashamed- that equals the Gospel. That gem of truth was a life giving reminder on a flesh flourishing day for me. It was like a refreshing drink of water on a scorching August afternoon. I knew, but I had forgotten. I had forgotten, and thus forsaken the Gospel.

Jesus died for my inadequacies, and yours. Being ashamed of them is being dishonorable to Him. He willingly gave his life to give me life. He suffered a cruel, undeserved death to complete me in all the areas I am incomplete. Because He is whole, I am free to be broken. Because he is perfect, I am free to be imperfect. That is good news for a ragamuffin like me.There is no need to twinge in light of my truth. There is no need to cower to condemnation. I am righteous because Jesus is risen.

Life has its way of coaxing us into forgetting, but the Gospel has its way of coaching us into remembering.

C. S. Lewis said, “people need reminding a lot more than they need instructing.” Those words are bearers of solid truth. I know, and I forget. I am reminded, and I am set free.

Our years are a series of stages and phases. I am grateful for the ones in which my insufficiency is illuminated so my mind and spirit can once again yield to the exclusion of the One who secures for me all that I cannot attain on my own. I need the Gospel in my hands everyday, so that my heart may remember everyday. I am continually drawn to an awareness that growth is most fertile when planted in the soil of grief. Staying cognizant of that is a bridge to hope and gratitude.

I hope in all the areas you feel inadequate today, and everyday you can find some freedom from this, as I did.