Saturday, 22 October 2016

Debriefing by Susan L.

  I couldn't bear the TV that normally fills the place with noise. My ticking watch seemed excessively loud. Anxiety pricked at my skin like pins and needles. It had been a couple of demanding days at work. I'd been triggered badly so ghosts of the past were nipping at my heels. A warm bath, a fleece hoodie, flannel jammies, snuggling up with my own teddy bear usually help me deescalate but seasoned with the uncontainable thoughts and emotions shared last night...I needed to hear another person.
  Some days living alone can be lonely.
  I called a friend who listened while I began to pick apart the ghosts. There's something wonderful about speaking the lies that swirl around inside. It diffuses their power. It chases them out of their hidey holes in the darkness and exposes them to the Light. Lies can't handle the Light. They disintegrate like mist.
  Still, it's left me feeling raw and vulnerable. Wounds re-opened take time to close up again even if Jesus has wrapped them in healing balm.
  There's a meeting today at the local Catholic church regarding human trafficking in our area. I won't be going. Knowing this goes on only adds to the sorrow for the little ones shared last night. Knowing that a young girl was nearly kidnapped off the side of the road earlier this week adds more.
  I am feeling less than a miniscule fraction of the pain Jesus must feel for us. To feel more would break my mind. How it must grieve His heart to see the callous disregard we have for each other.  
  Forgive me, Lord, for my own callous indifference. Help me forgive those who have treated me likewise. Help me, Lord, forgive those who have twisted Your Word, Your message of love, into a cruel weapon of abuse and power. Help me, Lord, forgive myself for the mistakes I've made as a parent, as a person. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
  "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Eph 6:4

Friday, 21 October 2016

InkTober challenge: Little

  Warning: The contents of this post may be disturbing to some readers.

  There will be no picture for this prompt. 

  I'd thought to do a lovely drawing of a little child with a teddy bear. In a few moments before work, I searched online for suitable inspiration. "Toddlers with teddy bears". How cute!! There were lots to choose from: delightful poses of children with their beloved, fuzzy companions. As I scrolled down, a pair of pictures of a little, middle-Eastern boy came up.

  A flag of ISIS hung on wall the behind him. He was dressed as a soldier and held a huge knife in the air with a delighted smile on his face.

  This was not a Halloween costume.

  The second image of this little boy was him taking the knife and beheading his big, fluffy, white teddy bear.

  These images showed up multiple times having been shown in British newspapers and various other media platforms. It was the first time I had seen them. I had to ask, "What had this child seen or been taught that he would know to do this?"

  Many years ago, I watched a movie about the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland. In this movie was a clip from a parade. It doesn't matter if the parade was Catholic or Protestant. What matters was the image of a little, cute-as-a-button, black haired girl, standing on the sidelines. I have never forgotten her because her face was a mask of fury as she screamed hate-filled words at those who were walking past.

  What do I do in a world that teaches its children to hate?
  What do I do with the sorrow seeing these images and remembering the movie brings to my heart?

  What do I do with the knowledge that there's a staggering number of grownups who have lived a childhood of sexual, emotional and physical abuse? What do I do with the knowledge that abusers, 99.9% of the time, had been victims themselves? They are rarely strangers. They are people we love, and trust.

  What do I do for these broken, little boys and little girls in an adult's body?

  What can I do to create compassion for the victim-abuser? While I don't condone the choices they've made, I cannot condemn them either. It's fine to say they should know better but did anyone ever think that maybe they don't? Did anyone ever think that maybe, just maybe, there wasn't a grownup in their lives who cherished them, encouraged them, loved them? Chances are, there wasn't someone who taught them what "better" could be.

  Maybe they were hoping to get caught because maybe then someone would save them from the nightmares of childhood. Instead, they are hated even more.

  What do I do for the victims? What do I do for the victimizers? What do I do to help heal terrible wounds? What can I do to give them the gift of hope?
  Oh, Lord, I am so sad.

  We are taught to hate. We are not born with hate in us.

  I once was a mom with little ones. A lifetime ago it seems now. Those little ones now have little ones of their own.

  Thank You, Abba, for telling me what I can do. Help me be the best grandmother I can to all the little ones, big bodied and small, You bring into my life. In Jesus' name I pray, as tears finally spill over my cheek.


Another Perspective by Susan L.

  There's a joke that made the rounds a while ago.
  The police knocked at a man's door, advising him to evacuate because of potential floods. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  Several hours later, the waters had forced him onto the second floor of his home. A rescue worker in a boat offered to take him to safety. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  Eventually, he was stranded on the roof. A helicopter offered to lift him to higher ground. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  He drowned.
  Arriving in heaven, he asked God, "Why didn't You take care of me?"
  God answered, "I sent the police, a boat, and a helicopter. What more would you have me do?"
  I think of my own struggles in finally admitting the inability to work because of damaged mental health and how hard it was to apply for disability assistance. At the time, the paperwork was overwhelming but there was help breaking it down into manageable pieces. It took several months. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done.
  Most of all, I needed help to change my prejudices about "those kinds of people" who lived on social assistance and recognize that, if accepted, this was the Lord taking care of me. This was my lifeboat when I was drowning.
  The Lord wasn't going to toss a lottery win my way since I don't buy tickets. There wasn't some connection to an obscure prince in a tiny European country that would miraculously make me a princess and therefore rich. I wasn't going to rob a bank.
  Thankful for God's provision and knowing there was enough to live on if I was careful, I was able to take steps towards recovering from PTSD and depression. Call it physiotherapy for the mind. I am now able to return to work in a rewarding job albeit with limited hours.
  Saying "can't" goes against the grain. It goes against worldly philosophies, "Never say can't. Only losers use that kind of language."" It's a culturally driven drive for accomplishments regardless of the financial or emotional cost.
  The moment I said, "I can't", God moved into my life and assured me, "But I can."
  "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32