Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Body Image by Susan L.

  "For no one ever hated his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." Ephesians 5:29
 
  Sticks and stones will break my bones,
  But names will never hurt me.

  I have no idea who penned that gem. All this sing-song admonition did was encourage me to feel weak and stupid and inadequate because being called bad names does hurt. Terribly. Most of my flashbacks are rooted in instances of verbal violence, not physical violence.
  Childhood taunts, "Fatty, fatty two-by-four..."
  Teenaged cruelty and being the butt of jokes like having a tack put on my chair in Geography class. Ha, ha, ha. I laughed when I felt like crying. (Lord, I think we need to talk about this because I can still see and hear the kids in the class laughing at me. I can feel the waves of shame flowing through my veins.)
  Rejection.
  Abandonment.
  Betrayal.
  My body, my gender, the first building block of identity, has been used against me. I confess I hated it. I hated that it was inadequate. I hated the vulnerability, the powerlessness. I hated that femininity predestined me to live according to unspoken, gender specific social rules. I hated that I have a solid frame and muscular build and would never have a ballet dancer's physique...
  Most of all I hate when this body of mine kidnaps my mind. A flashback has no warning.

  This is the most revealing blog I've had in a while and even though there's been much healing, it's a long journey. I wonder, am I still angry at those who taught me the "rules"?
 
  God forgive me...yes.

  So, here's the million dollar question, "If I can't love me, how can Jesus?"
  Here's the million dollar answer, "Because His Father loved me first."

  All of me! Lumps, bumps, and sags. Anger, bitterness, rage, un-forgiveness, resentment, the whole ugly package which, praise God, is being healed and refined and forever changed thanks to the indwelling of the Spirit.

  Thank You, Lord, for Your love because only an indwelling Love can lead the way to something far better. Forever. Lead me beyond the anger to a better place. Cleanse me of the self-loathing and shy insecurity that is still part of my life.
  Shape me, mold me to be more like You.
  Open my eyes to the beauty in others and myself. Help me see Your children with Your eyes and Your love for all of us. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!
  "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Eph 2:4-7



 
 
 
 

Monday, 22 May 2017

I am a Child of God John 1:12 by Susan L.

  I have to start off by making a comment about a movie, a Christian movie called "Broken". It's a story about a teenaged boy who lives with depression and asthma. The girl who was on a mission to save him, at one point, ranted to a friend about the fact he was taking medication to help with his depression.
  "He is using pills to numb his feelings!" she says in angry frustration.
  If a doctor has prescribed so much medication that it leaves a person numb, it's waaaaay too much!!! That's not what meds are for! My own psychiatrist gets visibly upset when his peers go that route and don't take the time to work with their patients to find the best solution. Meds are meant to help alleviate symptoms and facilitate a better life.
  Being able to get out of bed or even have a full night's sleep is a better life!
  Anyways, as the plot unravelled, the boy went on a church retreat with this girl. Perversely, his parents were terribly upset because he didn't have his asthma medication with him.
  It's not an old movie. It's fairly recent but clearly reflects the misunderstandings about mental health and medications still rampant today in many movies and TV shows. Sigh.
  "It's okay to take medication for a physical ailment but not for a mental one," was the not so subtle but sadly familiar message being delivered.
  I changed the channel but regretted not finding out who had produced it. It will probably be aired again so I'll take the time to find a contact. I'd like to send a letter to them because it's my mission to share what I've learned about mental health.
  Why?
  Mental ailments are often physiological: chemical imbalances, emotional trauma brain injury, genetics, physical brain injury, chronic pain, chronic illness. Thyroid issues often first manifest as a mental health one. There's also a situational aspect that is often overlooked like being isolated, or aging or having a new baby. There's much more involved than simply being a "mood".
  Maybe I should have watched the whole movie. I have a feeling that when the boy was saved, his depression would have been healed. The same with the asthma.
  I would never deny that God can work healing miracles. Let my life be a testament to that.
  Most of the miracles of healing weren't instantaneous (a few were) but mostly wellness has grown through a relationship with Him and His Son.
  It has took me a long time to accept that I need medications to stay well. When I was first diagnosed, I had attitudes of judgement fully rooted in ignorance just like the people who made this movie and others. I came down awfully hard on myself. "Weak! Incompetent! You have God, what do you need with pills?!" Ouch.
  I have heard my own thoughts echoed by many others who live with a mental health challenge. Sometimes a choice is made to go without meds. It ought to be a personal choice. I tried to go without for a while but am thankful that my decision to work with medications was the right one for me.
  Grace smoothed the way to knowledge, understanding and acceptance.
  Why? Because I am a child of God.
  You are a child of God!
  Broken is okay. Broken is more than okay.
  Lord, let my mission be filled with compassion and grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!
  "He (John) said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Make straight the way of the Lord." Jn 1:23
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I am Changed, 1 Samual 10:6 by Susan L.

  This verse is part of the story when Saul became the first King of Israel. I confess I am mostly familiar with it because of its brief appearance in "The Bible" mini-series. What struck me the most about this verse is the order of events. Saul would be changed after the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. In a few brief moments he was promoted from being a judge to being an honoured prophet. A few short verses later, he is proclaimed King.
  The next verse goes on to assure him that because he has the gift of the Spirit, God is with him.
  I am not Saul or Esther or Mary or any of the great people in the Bible. I am an everyday sort of gal. Flannel and denim are my preferred wardrobe. Mucking in the garden or making something brings me a great deal of joy. Getting dirty and making a mess is a barometer of fun.
  Yet, God has chosen to bless me with a king's gift. His Holy Spirit.
  Because I chose to believe in His Son.
  As a new Christian, I joined a small group. In one of the conversations, the topic of feet washing came up. I remember being rather grossed out by the idea and stating most adamantly I would never wash someone's feet! Bless the ladies, Lord, for not making this an opportunity to correct the understandings of a baby Christian. Bless them for their grace. Bless them for knowing that, when the time was right, the Holy Spirit would open my eyes to the truth of feet washing!
  It wasn't long after the Spirit revealed what this act of humble service represented.
  This happened before things turned really bad... I don't want write about that right now.
  Instead, let me celebrate the good that has enveloped my life. No anxiety for a few months now!!! It's enough to make me weep with gratitude, having this foe on the run. The upset because of the flashback at the movies a couple weeks ago was barely a blip on the wellness radar. Even though the stirred up memories whisper around the edges of my conscience, they have no sting.
  I give thanks for the Holy Spirit who took me by the heart and led me to this wonderful, joyous time in my life.
  I have been forever changed. Praises be to God!
  "And I (Jesus) will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." Jn 14:16-17